P-61A-1

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VTOL | Rank 5 USSR
Yak-38 Pack
This page is about the premium twin-engine fighter P-61A-1. For the regular version, see P-61C-1.
P-61A-1
p-61a_1.png
GarageImage P-61A-1.jpg
360://https://wiki.warthunder.com/images/0/0c/Cockpit_p-61a_1.jpg
P-61A-1
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Description

The P-61A-1 is a premium rank III American twin-engine fighter with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB/SB). 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 P-61A-1 is a twin-engine fighter, also known as a strike fighter in-game. It has four AN/M2 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 & Zoom tactics. However, it does not have defensive armament that provides essential protection from the low rear or belly attacks. While being a large aircraft, it is unable to effectively turn to 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-2800-10s. 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.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 7 315 m582 km/h
Turn time30 s
Max altitude11 000 m
Engine2 х Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10
TypeRadial
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight15 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 7,315 m)
Max altitude
(metres)
Turn time
(seconds)
Rate of climb
(metres/second)
Take-off run
(metres)
AB RB AB RB AB RB
Stock 561 549 11000 31.0 32.0 9.3 9.1 457
Upgraded 602 582 29.1 30.0 13.3 11.2

Details

Features
Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
X X
Limits
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
642 350 340 340 280 ~7 ~3
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 530 < 420 < 450 > 340
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
460 m 4000 hp N/A
Setting 2
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
4,420 m 3,480 hp N/A
Setting 3
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
6,090 m 3,320 hp N/A

Survivability and armour

Crew3 people
Speed of destruction
Structural642 km/h
Gear350 km/h
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Nose armour plating (behind radar unit)
  • 60 mm Bulletproof glass - Pilot and gunner armoured windscreens
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Gunner front armour (folds out of the way when not in use)
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Lower gun plate
  • 9.5 mm Steel - Gun turret ammo protection plates
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Turret protection plate

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
AB2 400 Sl icon.png
RB6 100 Sl icon.png
SB4 400 Sl icon.png
Crew training10 000 Sl icon.png
Experts120 000 Sl icon.png
Aces400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces570 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
Talisman.png 2 × 70 / 250 / 210 % Sl icon.png
Talisman.png 2 × 136 / 136 / 136 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
Mods radiator.png
Radiator
Mods compressor.png
Compressor
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
Mods new engine.png
Engine
Mods armor frame.png
Airframe
Mods armor cover.png
Cover
Mods ammo.png
bmg50_turret_belt_pack
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods turret gun.png
bmg50_turret_new_gun
Mods ammo.png
anm2_belt_pack
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
anm2_new_gun

Armaments

Offensive armament

Weapon 14 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannon
Ammunition800 rounds
Fire rate600 shots/min
The cones of fire for the upper machine gun turret on the P-61A-1.
Main article: AN/M2 (20 mm)

The P-61A-1 is armed with:

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

Defensive armament

Ammunition2120 rounds
Fire rate750 shots/min
Main article: M2 Browning (12.7 mm)

The P-61A-1 is defended by:

  • 4 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, dorsal turret (500 rpg inner + 560 rpg outer = 2,120 total)

Usage in battles

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 to 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 of 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 399 mph (642 km/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 a 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 manoeuvrability, 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 armour 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 airframe, 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 calibre to shred your airframe. 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 armour, climb rate, manoeuvrability and firepower. This is mainly given if a 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 manoeuvrable 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 airframe. 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 manoeuvrability, speed and especially firepower due to the plane boasting German 20 mm cannons which utilise 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.

Radars

Main article: AI Mk. X
A front view of an P-61A-1 AI Mk. X radar.

The P-61A-1 is equipped with an AI Mk. X search radar, located in the nose of the aircraft. The radar utilised a 29 in (74 cm) parabolic dish which it rotated at 360 rpm when set to ranges below 100 miles, however, it is slowed down to 100 rpm when set to the 100 miles setting. The scopes could be set to one of four ranges, 1, 10, 20 or 100 miles (1.6, 16, 32 or 160 km). The parabolic dish could be adjusted to different altitude settings which included 0° to 0°, -5° to +5°, +5° to +20°, and +20° to +50°. One of the benefits to the multiple choices in range and altitude settings of the radar was that it provided partial immunity to chaff and other radar interference or countermeasures conducted by the enemy.

AI Mk. X - Target Detection Radar
Maximum
Detection
Range
Guaranteed
Detection
Range
Max Azimuth
Scan Angle
Max Elevation
Scan Angle
14,000 m 8,500 m ±75° -20°/+40°
A view of a P-61A-1 pilot's instrument panel with a BC-1152-A pilots indicator portion of the AI Mk. X radar. (The BC-1152-A is the square box with the rectangular window just above the control yoke)

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Not auto controlled
Controllable
Auto control available
Controllable
Auto control available
Separate Controllable
3 gears
Not controllable

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 a lot of momentum from a gradual dive
  • Can do very sharp manoeuvres at high and low speeds due to the flaps
  • Engine can stay very cool at high throttle settings (65-75%)
  • Has access to a target detection radar, with much better range than German radars found around this battle rating

Cons:

  • Slow acceleration 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 (642 km/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, structural damage will occur in speeds in excess of 399 mph
  • Unable to sustain a direct head-on attack against a well-armed, small-profile enemy plane
  • Only one defensive dorsal turret installed, cannot cover the rear of the plane effectively
  • No defence against low-rear and belly attacks
  • Large body airframe, makes dogfighting almost impossible
  • Can not carry additional armament
  • Flaps snap off easily

History

In 1940, the British Purchasing Commission wanted a high-altitude, high-speed interceptor to shoot down Luftwaffe bombers when they raided British cities. This called for a high-endurance heavy fighter with Aerial Interception (AI) radars and specified gun armament mounted in a 360 degrees gun turret. The requirements were sent to many aircraft manufacturers, one of them being Jack Northrop. The USAAC accepted his proposal, resulting in one of the most deadly and large fighters in World War Two. The prototype YP-61, had a long fuselage gondola in between two engine nacelles. The tail was a new radical twin-boom design. Full span flaps were fitted on the wings and it had two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 Double Wasp 18-cylinder radials, producing 2,000 horsepower each. The plane was mounted on a tricycle landing gear and had a three-man crew: a radar operator, gunner, and pilot. Armament includes four Browning 12.7 mm heavy machine guns mounted in a four-gun powered turret. The original design also had a ventral turret, but that was replaced by Hispano Mk.II cannons. Some versions also had air brakes so the pilot would not overshoot the target.

Media

Skins
Images
Videos

See also

External links


Northrop Corporation
Fighters  P-61A-1 · P-61C-1
Jet Fighters  F-89B · F-89D

USA twin-engine fighters
P-38  XP-38G · P-38E · P-38G-1 · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38L-5-LO · P-38K · YP-38
P-61  P-61A-1 · P-61C-1
F7F  F7F-1 · F7F-3
Other  XF5F · XP-50 · F-82E

USA premium aircraft
Fighters  Thach's F2A-1 · Galer's F3F-2 · F2G-1 · F4U-4B VMF-214 · P-26A-34 · P-40C · P-43A-1
  P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-51A · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · ␠Kingcobra · XP-55
  ▃A6M2 · ▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc
Twin-engine fighters  XP-38G · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · YP-38 · P-61A-1 · XF5F · XP-50 · F7F-3
Jet fighters  P-59A · AV-8A · F-86F-35 · F-89B · F-89D
Attackers  A2D-1 · AU-1 · XA-38
Bombers  A-26C-45DT · B-10B · BTD-1 · PBM-3 "Mariner" · PV-2D