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United States' Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, Nicknames: Razorback, T-Bolt, Jug

Photos

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter:
United States' Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter:
United States' Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter:
United States' Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter:
United States' Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter

Design

The Republic P-47 was designed by Alexander Kartveli.1,3,5 He drew the basic design on the back of an envelope at a meeting in 1940.1 Republic designated it the AP-10.4,5 The design was supposed to meet a requirement for a light weight fighter.4 It was rejected by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) as not being powerful enough.5 The two designs that were built as a result (XP-47 and XP-47A) were both underpowered.5 Kartveli decided on using the most powerful engine then available, the 2,000 HP Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp.5 This design was shown to the USAAC in June 1940 and became the XP-47B.5

The P-47 was three times the weight of early Spitfires.1 The P-47 was also nearly twice the weight of a Mustang.4 A fully loaded P-47N was heavier than a Dornier Do 17 bomber.1

Engine

The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine was the most powerful engine in a single engine fighter in World War II.1 With turbo charger it could deliver 2,535 HP.1 The P-47s turbo charger was located in the rear fuselage.2 On August 5, 1944 a specially prepared P-47 Thunderbolt achieved a World War II speed record of 504 mph / 811 kph.1

Propeller

The propeller was a massive 12' / 3.71 m across.1

Cockpit

Eventually the P-47 had a bubble canopy which greatly enhanced visibility for the pilot.1

Speed and Range Comparison

Speed and Range Comparison

Prototype

An order for two prototypes (XP-47 and XP-47A) was placed in November 1939.5

The XP-47B first flew on May 6, 1941.1,2,3,4,5

The XP-47J first flew in November 1943.4

The XP-47N first flew in September 1944.4

Production

By May 1941 orders for 773 P-47s had been placed worth $56.5 million.4,5

Production was cancelled at the end of the war with 5,934 orders still on the books.4

  • Republic XP-47B: 14
  • Republic XP-47E: 15
  • Republic XP-47J: 14
  • Republic P-47B: 1705, 1712,3,4
  • Republic P-47C: 6024,5
  • Republic P-47D: 12,6022,3,4
  • Republic P-47G: 3544,7
    • Manufacturer: Curtiss-Wright Corporation7
  • Republic P-47M: 1304
  • Republic P-47N: 1,8005, 1,8162,3,4,7
  • Total: 15,6752,3, 15,6834,5,7
    • Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation5,7 , Curtiss-Wright Corporation7
    • Manufacturing locations:
      • Republic Aviation: Farmingdale, New York7; Evansville, Indiana7;
      • Curtiss-Wright Corporation: Buffalo, New York7
    • Production: ? - December 19455

Production Comparison

Production Comparison

Variants

  • Republic XP-47: Prototype.4,5 Had Allison V-1710 V 12 engine (liquid cooled5).4
  • Republic XP-47A: Prototype.5 Weight of 6,400 lb / 2,903 kg.4 Had Allison liquid cooled engine.5
  • Republic XP-47B: Prototype.1,5 Used a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp turbo charged engine (2,000 HP).2,3,4,5
  • Republic XP-47E: Prototype.4,5,7 Converted from P-47B.4,7 Had pressurized cockpit.4,5,7
  • Republic XP-47F: Prototype.4,7 Converted from P-47B.4,7 Had laminar flow wings.4,7
  • Republic XP-47G: Prototype.4 Two seat trainer.4
  • Republic XP-47H: Prototype.4,7 Had Chrysler XIV-2220 V 16 engine (2,300 HP).4,7 Two P-47D-15 airframes were connected together.7 Could go 490 mph.7
  • Republic XP-47J: Prototype.1,7 Had fan cooled, water injected, Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57C engine (war emergency 2,800 HP).4,7 Was able to do 505 mph / 813 kph in level flight.4,7
  • Republic XP-47L: Prototype.4 Internal fuel increased.4
  • Republic XP-47N: Prototype of the P-47N.4
  • Republic YP-47M: Prototype.4 Three converted P-47Ds.4 Had Pratt & Whitney R-2800-57C engine installed.4 Was supposed to combat German V-1 rockets.4
  • Republic P-47B / Thunderbolt Mk I: Speed of 429 mph / 691 kph.2,3
  • Republic P-47C: Longer fuselage.2,3 Had under fuselage drop tank.2,3
  • Republic P-47D / Thunderbolt Mk II: Water injection booster.2,3 Rear fuselage was cut down and the canopy was bubble shapped.2,3,5
  • Republic P-47G: Identical to P-47D, but produced by Curtiss-Wright.4
  • Republic P-47M: Was designed to take down the V-1 rockets.1 Had better turbo charger.2,3 Could fly 473 mph / 762 kph.2,3 Entered service in late 1944.2
  • Republic P-47N: Long range version.1,3,5 Wings were increased in size and blunt tipped.2,3 It was to escort B-29s.2

Usage

Between March 1943 and August 1945 the P-47s flew over 500,000 / 546,0004 combat sorties.1 The loss per sortie was under 0.7%.4

The P-47 was used by the Americans, Brazilians, British, French, Mexicans, and Russians.1

Many pilots thought the P-47Bs were not maneuverable and didn't climb well.3,4 They did however, like that it could survive heavy damage.3,4

First Units in England

The 56th and 78th Fighter Groups took their P-47s to England in January 1943.2,3,4 They first escorted B-17s on April 8, 1943.2

Burma

There were 16 Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons in Burma equipped with the P-47.3

After World War II

The Army changed them to be called the F-47.6

Many Central and South American countries used the P-47s after World War II.4

Bolivia6, Brazil6, Chile6, Columbia6, Dominican Republic6, Ecuador6, Hondoras6, Iran6, Italy6, Nicaragua6, Peru6, Portugal6, Turkey6, Venezuela6

 

Specifications

  Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
Type Fighter6
Crew  
Engine (Type) 1: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp6
Cylinders Radial6
Cooling Air6
HP 2,0006
Propeller blades 46
Dimensions  
Span 41'6
Length 32' 8"6
Height 13'6
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 13,000 lb6
Performance  
Speed 400 mph6
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, General Editor Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  5. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  7. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site