Lockheed P-38 Lightning

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P-38H of the AAF Tactical Center, Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, carrying two 1,000 lb bombs during capability tests in March 1944[1]
Role Heavy fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation
Designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson
First flight 27 January 1939
Introduction July 1941[2]
Retired 1949 (United States Air Force)
1965 (Honduran Air Force)[3]
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
Free French Air Force
Produced 1941–45
Number built 10,037
Unit cost
US$97,147 in 1944[4]
Developed into Lockheed XP-49
Lockheed XP-58

The P-38 Lightning is a World War II fighter aircraft made by Lockheed. It was mainly used by the United States Air Force. It first flew in 1939. It was different from other fighters because it had two engines instead of one, and was twice the size of other fighters. The plane fought in the Pacific and in Europe. It could carry 4 50-caliber machine guns and a 20mm cannon. With a top speed of over 400 miles per hour the P-38 was one of the fastest fighters of its time. The P-38 is also accounted for capturing 90% of all aerial footage over Europe. By 1944, it was replaced by the faster P-51 Mustang in Europe. The P-38 was the only American fighter being built at the beginning and the end of the war. The Germans called it the "fork tailed devil."

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a well equipped single-seat WWII fighter. It had 2 powerful engines allowing it to reach high altitudes and speeds. The tail design was unique compared to other aircraft of the time. The Americans used this aircraft in many of its dogfights and long-range enemy engagements. The P-38 created many aces, making it favourable over other aircraft.

References[change | change source]

  1. Bodie 1991, pp. 200–201.
  2. Master Sgt. John DeShetler (20 November 2006), 'Lightning' strikes 1st Pursuit Group, United States Air Force
  3. "Honduran Air Force." aeroflight.co.uk. Retrieved: 10 October 2010.
  4. "Army Air Forces Statistical Digest – World War II. Table 82—Average Cost of Airplanes Authorized, by principal model: Fiscal Years 1939–1945". Archived 2 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine maxwell.af.mil. Retrieved: 7 February 2009.