Lockheed P-38

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

RoleHeavy fighter
First fly27 January 1939
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a World War II-era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Allied propaganda claimed it had been nicknamed the fork-tailed devil (German: der Gabelschwanz-Teufel) by the Luftwaffe and “two planes, one pilot” (2飛行機、1パイロット Ni hikōki, ippairotto) by the Japanese. The P-38 was used for interception, dive bombing, level bombing, ground attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance, radar and visual pathfinding for bombers and evacuation missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.
Source: Lockheed P-38 Lightning on Wikipedia
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The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a versatile and innovative fighter aircraft that served in various roles during World War II. It was designed by Lockheed Corporation in response to a US Army Air Corps specification for a high-performance interceptor with twin engines, a single seat, and a heavy armament. The P-38 had a unique twin-boom configuration with a central nacelle that housed the cockpit and weapons. The P-38 was one of the first fighters to feature a tricycle landing gear, a pressurized cockpit, and a turbo-supercharged engine that enabled it to operate at high altitudes. The P-38 was also equipped with drop tanks that extended its range for long-distance escort missions.
The P-38 saw action in all theaters of the war, but it was especially effective in the Pacific, where it was used by some of the top American aces, such as Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire, and Charles MacDonald. The P-38 was also used for fighter-bomber, night fighter, reconnaissance, and pathfinder roles. The P-38 was capable of delivering a devastating punch with its four 12.7 mm machine guns and one 20 mm cannon mounted in the nose. The P-38 was also able to carry bombs, rockets, or torpedoes under its wings. The P-38 was nicknamed “Lightning” by the British, who also used it under lend-lease agreements. The Germans called it “der Gabelschwanz Teufel” (the fork-tailed devil), while the Japanese feared it as “two planes, one pilot”.
The P-38 was produced from 1941 to 1945, with a total of 10,037 units built. It was the only American fighter aircraft in large-scale production throughout the war. The P-38 was retired from service in 1949 by the US Air Force, but some were used by other countries until 1965. The P-38 was a remarkable aircraft that combined speed, power, maneuverability, and versatility. It was a true force of nature that struck like lightning.

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