P-61A-1 Black Widow

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Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

General info

The P-61A-1 Black Widow in the Garage.

The P-61A-1 Black Widow is a premium Rank III American heavy fighter with a battle rating of 3.7. It was introduced in Update 1.57 "Battle March". Unlike the more advanced P-61C-1 variant, this initial production aircraft does not feature any external suspended payloads.

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

The P-61A-1 is a twin-engine fighter, also known as a strike fighter in-game. It has four cannons placed under the belly of the aircraft with an additional four Browning machine guns in a remotely controlled dorsal turret. The cannons combined with the turret are able to make quick work of any plane which stands in your way. The machine gun turret was controlled by a gyroscopic fire control computer which was operated by either the gunner or radar operator for both offensive and defensive situations. It is excellent in bomber hunting and excels when used with boom and zoom tactics. However, it does not have defensive armament that provides essential protection from low rear or belly attacks. While being a large aircraft, it is unable to effectively turn fight and when doing so, rapidly bleeds any energy and advantages it may have..

Turret defensive angles are limited to the upper plane of the aircraft as it can not aim any lower than the elevators. If an enemy plane is in the machine gun dead zone, you will need to change the position of the plane so the guns can acquire a firing solution, this can be accomplished by transitioning into a steep climb or dive. It also offers very weak crew protection from head-on attacks. The two engines are Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10's. It will only be able to take off with a speed of around 169 mph (271 km\h) and requires a very long airstrip, since it is a very heavy plane.

Vehicle characteristics

Tactics

The below tactics can be used in all games modes:

How to offensively Engage an enemy aircraft:
Climb to high altitude and keep on a straight heading once you have seen the enemy. Overshoot the enemy plane, then perform a 180 degree turn. Make sure you stay on his tail and gradually descend. It is recommended to do something similar to a shallow descent, where you can keep speed and height to your advantage in case the enemy aircraft changes course and altitude. Do not perform a dive which requires you dive straight down, since you will rip the wings off and crash. Once you are within firing range, fire a short salvo from your cannons. A couple bursts from the Black Widow are sufficient to easily rip an enemy plane to shreds.

How to perform defensive fighting:
When you are being engaged by an enemy fighter, make sure you keep descending. Very Important: Do not allow enemy aircraft to get lower than your elevator on the tail boom. You have no defensive armament to cover the belly or full-rear of the plane; these are your weakest defended parts.

  • Tactic one: Descend slowly. Put the plane in a steep dive that does not exceed your structural limit of 399mph (642km/h). However it must be steep enough to provide the turret gunner full visibility of the enemy plane. The four Browning machine guns will take care of the enemy plane.
  • Tactic Two: Put the plane in a steep climb and make sure you set the throttle to at least 70%. Jump into the gunner turret and operate it. This will be the most accurate and fastest way of shooting down the hostile plane. When you operate the turret, make sure you try and perform defensive manoeuvres when operating it i.e. sharp turns, rapidly decreasing in height as well as gaining height and changing the speed of the plane in an irrational way. This will give you higher chance of survival against the enemy.

Specific enemies worth noting

  • Japanese Aircraft

The most dangerous opponents for the P-61A are going to be the Japanese aircraft, due to their incredible maneuverability, and their fast climb-rate, which will leave you at a disadvantage in altitude. However, the most notable threat from the Japanese arsenal is probably going to be the J2M Raiden, due to its fast speed and fairly durable armor for a Japanese plane. In addition, any of the later model A6M3 Reisen (Zero) models will give you problems, as they will out-turn you in seconds.

  • German Aircraft

The Germans have the most planes with more dangerous cannons, thanks to their "Minengeschoß" rounds, which punch through and explode inside an air frame, thus causing maximum damage to control surfaces. As you are at a battle rating of 3.7, you have the possibility of facing the Bf-109 G-6, which has a fast speed and nose-mounted weaponry that are large enough in caliber to shred your air frame. Perhaps the biggest threat to your plane is the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 A-4, which boasts four 20 mm cannons, which will reduce your plane to a burning wreck. While it is unlikely to see many at high altitude, the Messerschmitt Me-410 A-1 is also a viable threat.

  • Russian Aircraft

Repeat after the following bold statement:Do not head-on an IL-2 of any variant. As sluggish as they seem, the IL-2 will rip your aircraft to shreds due to the fast firing combination of machine gun and auto-cannon fire. The most common adversary that will be faced is any aircraft bearing the prefix "Yak"- most dangerous among them is the Yak-9K, which has a 45 mm cannon that can utterly obliterate your plane, and the Yak-9T, which has a 37 mm cannon that will do the same damage to your aircraft. The La-5FN is probably the biggest threat you will face due to its fast speed, ridiculously strong cockpit armor, climb rate, maneuverability and firepower. This is mainly given if an La-5FN pilot is using "Ground Target" ammunition, every third round fired is an Armor-Piercing Fragmentation Incendiary round, and every other round is either a Fragmentation-Incendiary Tracer or an Armor-Piercing Incendiary round. In short, the La-5FN has the biggest threat due to all the API rounds in the ammunition.

  • British Aircraft

The British are among the most maneuverable adversary you will face, so with that in mind, do not try and turn-fight any British plane. Also, most British planes have an astonishing climb-rate, which will leave you at an altitude disadvantage. The most common adversary you will face is the Spitfire Mk. IIb, which can turn circles around you and it has two wing-mounted Hispano cannons, which can tear into the P-61's air frame. They may not be too common, but a Boomerang Mk. I or a Boomerang Mk. II will also give you a hard time, given their tighter grouping of shells, and the fact they have the Hispano Mk. II cannons, whose "Air Target" ammunition is practically "Stealth" ammunition. The Beaufighter Mk. VIc, will be the most dangerous threat, given the four Hispano cannons in the belly, which will tear apart the P-61. A Spitfire Mk. V will also give you a run for your money, due to the Hispano Mk. II cannons it wields.

  • Italian Aircraft

The most plausible threat from the Italians will be the C.202EC(Experimental Cannon), which has the maneuverability, speed and firepower, thanks to the plane boasting German 20 mm cannons that have the "Minengeschoß" shells.

  • American Aircraft

In addition, another major threat is the American P-47D Thunderbolt, which has the speed and firepower to out-class the P-61A in any fashion.

Counter-Tactics

Pros and cons

Pros

  • The offensive armament is mounted under the belly of the plane, this provides excellent accuracy.
  • Powerful offensive armament of 4 x AN/M2 cannons with a total amount of 800 rounds.
  • Powerful defensive armament of 4 x Browning MGs in a turret with 2120 rounds that can be used offensively.
  • Very stable climb rate.
  • Engines are able to cool down very fast.
  • Okay turn time.
  • Able to perform sharp movements at low and high speed.
  • Excellent bomber hunter.
  • Excellent Reward and Research bonus.
  • Very strong and rugged airframe; is able to fly with wing tips missing.
  • Can keep alot of momentum from a gradual dive.
  • Can do very sharp manoeuvers at high and low speeds due to the flaps.
  • Engine can stay very cool at high throttle settings (65-75%).

Cons

  • No WEP.
  • Slow acceleration when un-upgraded and requires a long airstrip to take off due to weight.
  • Slow roll rates.
  • No airbrakes installed; easy to get structural damage and rip apart at 399 mph (642km/h).
  • Unable to put fires out in a dive, due to speed will reach in excess of structural limitations which will rip the wings off.
  • Not recommended to dive sharply on your enemies, as the structural damage speed of 399 mph will be exceeded in a steep dive.
  • Unable to sustain a direct head on attack against a well-armed, small-profile enemy plane.
  • Only one defensive turret installed, which is located on top of the fuselage and cannot cover the rear of the plane effectively.
  • No defense against low-rear and belly attacks.
  • Large body airframe, makes dogfighting almost impossible.
  • Can not carry additional armament i.e. Bombs or Rockets.
  • Flaps snap off easily.

Specifications

Armaments

Offensive armaments

  • 4 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannons, chin-mounted (200 rpg = 800 total)

Defensive armaments

  • 4 x 12.7 mm Browning machine guns machine guns, dorsal turret (500 rpg inside + 560 rpg outside = 2,120 total)

Engine & mobility

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator


Engine

Name: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 18-cylinder radial x2
  • Cooling type: Air
  • Takeoff power: 1904 hp (Stock), 2099 hp (Upgraded)
  • Mass: 1030 kg
Name: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 18-cylinder radial x2
  • Cooling type: Air
  • Takeoff power: 1886 hp (Stock), 1998 hp (Upgraded)
  • Mass: 1030 kg
Name: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 18-cylinder radial x2
  • Cooling type: Air
  • Takeoff power: 1886 hp (Stock), 1998 hp (Upgraded)
  • Mass: 1030 kg

Stats

Stock
  • Max speed: 561 km/h
    • at height: 7,315 m
  • Max altitude: 11,000 m
  • Turn Time: 31.0 s
  • Rate of Climb: 9.3 m/s
  • Takeoff run: 457 m

Upgraded

  • Max speed: 602 km/h
    • at height: 7,315 m
  • Max altitude: 11,000 m
  • Turn Time: 29.1 s
  • Rate of Climb: 13.3 m/s
  • Takeoff run: 457 m}}
Stock
  • Max speed: 549 km/h
    • at height: 7,315 m
  • Max altitude: 11,000 m
  • Turn Time: 32.0 s
  • Rate of Climb: 9.1 m/s
  • Takeoff run: 457 m

Upgraded

  • Max speed: 582 km/h
    • at height: 7,315 m
  • Max altitude: 11,000 m
  • Turn Time: 30.0 s
  • Rate of Climb: 11.2 m/s
  • Takeoff run: 457 m}}
Stock
  • Max speed: 549 km/h
    • at height: 7,315 m
  • Max altitude: 11,000 m
  • Turn Time: 32.0 s
  • Rate of Climb: 9.1 m/s
  • Takeoff run: 457 m

Upgraded

  • Max speed: 582 km/h
    • at height: 7,315 m
  • Max altitude: 11,000 m
  • Turn Time: 30.0 s
  • Rate of Climb: 11.2 m/s
  • Takeoff run: 457 m}}

Performance

Warning this is still in the test phase and is probably incorrect. Take information with a grain of salt (data taken from 1.55)





0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
0
0.82
1.64
2.46
3.28
4.1
Horsepower in 1000hp
Altitude in 1000m

Supercharger Stage #1: 100%

Supercharger Stage #1: WEP

Supercharger Stage #2: 100%

Supercharger Stage #2: WEP

Supercharger Stage #3: 100%

Supercharger Stage #3: WEP



Modules and Improvements

All modifications are, unlocked and installed from purchase.

History of creation and combat usage

Screenshots and fan art

Help build skins and download from or just check out images of the plane from live.warthunder.com

Additional information (links)

[Devblog] P-61: The American "Flying Tank"

References


Horsepower graphSidebar

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p-61a_1.png

Nation USA
Type Heavy fighter
Strike fighter
Air defense fighter
Fighting style Boom & Zoom

   Metric✓       Imperial   

   Metric       Imperial✓   

Characteristics
Empty Weight ~10850 kg
Empty Weight + fuel ~12564 kg
Takeoff Weight ~15422 kg
Wing Area ~62 m²
# Flap Positions 3
Number of Engines 2
Air Breaks no
Arrestor Gear no
Statistics
Power per Engine 1998 hp
WEP Duration infinite
top speed ~582.48 kph at 7315 m
Climb Rate ~11.20 m/s
Turn Time ~26.00 s
Wing loading (Empty) ~176.00 kg/m²
Characteristics
Empty Weight ~23920 lb
Empty Weight + fuel ~27699 lb
Takeoff Weight ~34000 lb
Wing Area ~662 ft²
# Flap Positions 3
Number of Engines 2
Air Breaks no
Arrestor Gear no
Statistics
Power per Engine 1998 hp
WEP Duration infinite
Top speed ~361.94 mph at 23999 m
Climb Rate 36.75 ft/s
Turn Time 26.00 s
Wing loading (Empty) ~36.05 lb/ft²
Main Weapons
4 x 20 mm AN/M2 200 RPG
2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning 500 RPG
2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning 560 RPG
Limits
Max Speed limit 642 kph
Gear limit 350 kph
Combat Flaps 340 kph
Max static +G's ~4
Max static -G's ~2
Optimal Velocities
Ailerons <530 kph
Rudder <420 kph
Elevators <450 kph
Radiator >240 kph
Limits
Max Speed limit 399 mph
Gear limit 217 mph
Combat Flaps 211 mph
Max static +G's ~4
Max static -G's ~2
Optimal Velocities
Ailerons <329 mph
Rudder <261 mph
Elevators <280 mph
Radiator >149 mph
Manual Control
Mixer is controllable
Pitch is controllable
no automatic pitch
Radiator (water) is controllable
Radiator (oil) is controllable
Oil and water uses different radiator control
Supercharger is controllable
Turbocharger is not controllable
Compressor settings 1
Optimal Altitude
460 m
1509 ft
100% Engine power 4000 hp
Compressor settings 2
Optimal Altitude
4420 m
14501 ft
100% Engine power 3480 hp
Compressor settings 3
Optimal Altitude
6090 m
19980 ft
100% Engine power 3320 hp
* Warning this is still in the test phase and can be incorrect. Take information with a grain of salt (data from 1.57 initial release)