|This page is about the gift Soviet fighter P-63A-10 (USSR). For other versions, see P-63 (Family).
The ▂P-63A-10 Kingcobra is a premium gift rank IV Soviet fighter with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/RB) and 4.7 (SB). It was introduced during Update 1.41 as a reward for the 2014 Summertime Madness event.
This later mark of the A-model Kingcobra is quite similar to the more common Soviet P-63A-5. The airframe only has minor detail differences but it can be most easily distinguished its different coloration. The propeller spinner is red, there are red accents on the vertical stabilizer, and the side roundels have green backgrounds instead of white. Internally, it has modified armament and extra engine power. The best performing Kingcobra at low altitudes, the P-63A-10 is a versatile fighter with good speed, climb, armament, and agility. Intercepting bombers up high, zooming around at sea level with a hefty bombload, and diving on unfortunate victims with talons drawn are all within a day's work for this lethal aircraft. It requires some finesse to fly but can give feared opponents like the Bf 109 F-4 a serious run for their money and partners well with contemporary Soviet aircraft like the Yak-3.
The P-63A-10 has fairly good all-round characteristics. As with most US aircraft, it handles well at high speeds. The elevator and roll do not compress much even past 600 km/h IAS, though the rudder does lose effectiveness past that point. Low speed manoeuvrability is poor and the turning performance becomes sluggish under around 300 km/h IAS. Unique for a US fighter is the good climb rate, comparable to the German Bf 109 series. It matches the Bf 109 F-4 in climb up to 2,000 m and starts to fall behind slightly at 3,000 m. Past that, the P-63's performance decreases and the difference in climb rate becomes more pronounced, though it is still quite decent at 4,000-5,000 m and can outclimb Fw 190s and most Soviet fighters at these altitudes. Try not to go much higher than that.
Kingcobras are known for their excellent roll rates, good vertical/horizontal energy retention, and poor manoeuvring energy retention. The P-63A-10's low-altitude speed and climb are excellent. Its top speed at sea level is about 595 km/h, matching the P-51D-5 Mustang. It takes some time to reach this speed in level flight. Having some altitude and entering a shallow dive speeds up the process.
The P-63A-10 shares the same Allison V-1710-93 engine with the P-63A-5 but has a higher boost pressure. It has about 150 less horsepower on normal settings and about 300 more when using WEP. The engine tends to run hot when using WEP as a result and it's important to manage the temperature. Aggressive throttle control can over-rev the engine, so avoid gunning straight to WEP during takeoff. The fuel consumption on WEP is somewhat high.
The overall handling is very familiar for anyone used to flying the P-63A-5, but it may feel slightly heavier at times due to the weight introduced by the new features on this variant. The increased engine power is more than enough to compensate for the most part.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,650 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
Survivability and armour
- 15.87 mm Steel - Plates x 2, lower fore cockpit
- 19.05 mm Steel - Plate, upper fore cockpit
- 12.7 mm Steel - Plate behind pilot's seat
- 12.7 mm Steel - Plate protecting oil cooling system
- 38 mm Bulletproof glass - Windscreen
The Kingcobra provides quite a lot of protection for its pilot in both the front and back. Pilot snipes are a relatively rare occurrence as a result. However the rear placement of the engine poses some issues; it can block some fire from the rear, but this means that pursuing fighters can potentially damage or even knock out the engine. Another issue with the design is that the fuselage has essentially no room for fuel tanks, and they are placed in the outboard section of the wings as a result. The fuel tanks, though self-sealing, can be ignited by stray fire and will often spell doom for the Kingcobra. The durability is otherwise quite decent. Given some distance and mild evasive manoeuvres, incoming fire will often bounce off with little damage.
This Soviet P-63A-10 avoids the garish yellow target camouflage of the original US version, making it harder to spot at low altitudes. This may be slightly helpful in game modes without markers.
Modifications and economy
The P-63A-10 (USSR) is armed with:
- 1 x 37 mm M10 cannon, nose-mounted (58 rpg)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (250 rpg = 500 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
The P-63A-10 replaces the P-63A-5's M4 cannon, originally inherited from the P-39 Airacobra, with a new M10 cannon. The M10 uses a disintegrating link feed system and has better performance: faster rate of fire, lower chance of jamming, and almost twice the ammunition. Unfortunately it still has atrocious accuracy when stock, so don't use it outside of point-blank range until the New 37 mm Cannon upgrade is researched. It takes practice to aim and is best used within 500 m since it has a tendency to spark upon glancing hits. The good news is that a successful hit will usually obliterate any single-engined aircraft. For larger aircraft, hits to the tail or wings can be instantly fatal. Note that the Soviet Kingcobras are limited to HE rounds only for the 37 mm cannon as AP rounds were never delivered to the USSR historically. This is not a significant downside since the anti-tank capabilities of the M10 cannon were disappointing to begin with, lacking a full AP belt and suffering from substandard muzzle velocity and penetration. Pilots who wish to punch holes in tanks should consider the contemporary Yak-9T instead.
The four M2 Browning machine guns are still equipped with mid-war belts. For anti-aircraft purposes the Universal belt is the best due to the high content of M8 AP-I rounds. They are good at starting fires and will dispatch fragile opponents like Yaks and Bf 109s with ease. Unfortunately they don't have much burst mass and are less effective against sturdy targets than the typical US 6-gun complement; this is noticeable when fighting Fw 190s, for example. Another downside specific to the P-63A-10 and P-63C-5 Kingcobras is that their machine guns have less ammunition than the P-63A-5. The wing guns lost 50 rounds per gun to make room for the new wing hardpoints and the nose guns lost 20 rounds because of the new cannon installation. Mind your aim and fire in long bursts only if you're sure that they will hit. The cannon can finish off twin-engined fighters and bombers.
The nose guns are tightly clustered and the two wing-mounted M2 Brownings are mounted midway on the wings. This makes convergence an issue. A common recommendation is to use 400-500 m convergence to concentrate the machine gun fire. Consider turning on vertical targeting if using a lower convergence setting, this makes leading the cannon easier by compensating for its poor muzzle velocity. Vertical targeting will make attacking ground vehicles more awkward so it has more drawbacks in Ground RB.
The P-63A-10 (USSR) can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 3 x 250 kg FAB-250sv bombs (750 kg total)
The P-63A-5 only had a single hardpoint under the fuselage for a bomb. The P-63A-10 has new wing hardpoints and can carry triple the bomb load, a welcome improvement. The wing bombs will drop as a pair first and the second drop will release the fuselage bomb. The 250 kg bomb is not particularly powerful but can still do good work if delivered with reasonable accuracy. The first drop is more forgiving since the two bombs have a decent combined blast radius. The second drop is more demanding but the centreline position allows you to deliver it precisely; it is very satisfying to land it next to or on top of an enemy tank.
Usage in battles
The P-63A-10 has good all-round characteristics and lends itself to several possible strategies. Examine what nations are present on the enemy team. Axis teams usually have Bf 109s, C.205s, J2Ms, and similar fighters that climb well and typically attack from above. US teams tend to have aircraft with good high altitude performance but similar or inferior climb and British teams almost invariably have Spitfires that climb very well. If you want to work with an altitude advantage against Axis teams, try sideclimbing once you reach 3,000-4,000 m. If using Manual Engine Controls, open up the radiators to high percentages while climbing. They effectively keep the engine cool on WEP and can be closed more at high altitude or during combat. Consider taking more than the minimum fuel load of 16 minutes since WEP consumes fuel quickly.
Going after bombers is a valid option provided that they are not at extreme altitudes; attack from underneath, directly above, or the side and try not to sit on their tails. Open up with the machine guns early on, and once the distance is short enough for consistent hits to be scored, start using the cannon in short bursts. Ideally the machine guns can knock out defensive gunners and start fires while the cannon can rip off tails or wings. It is very satisfying to dismember a bomber with a well-placed cannon shot. Remember that though the P-63's engine is not located in the front, the unarmoured propeller hub is part of the same damage model. And even small calibre machine guns can ignite the wing fuel tanks with fatal results.
The P-63 excels at diving attacks on attackers and fighters due to its mild control compression, durable wings, and good energy retention. If the target evades, simply zoom climb back up or extend away, then look for an opening to engage again. Wear down their energy, get some hits in, and use the Kingcobra's potent bite to finish them off once they are low and slow. This tactic works well against climbing targets since they will be continuously forced down, making them easy targets for friendly Soviet fighters that perform well at low altitude.
When committing to a dogfight, keep hard turns at high speed to a minimum. Although the P-63 is surprisingly nimble in these conditions, such manoeuvres tend to bleed its energy and put a lot of stress on the pilot. It is safer to keep some distance from your opponent and turn more gently instead of aggressively following; only do the latter if you are certain that you can secure the kill. This does not mean that turning engagements are forbidden since that would be a waste of the P-63's good manoeuvrability (for a US fighter). Just avoid dumping speed all at once and getting sucked into a difficult low-speed engagement. If the P-63's speed drops below 300 km/h during turnfights or loops, use combat flaps to improve the turn rate in the meantime and try to regain speed as quickly as possible.
With WEP, the P-63A-10 has a significantly better power-to-weight ratio than the somewhat underpowered P-63A-5. This means that you can engage in turnfights, spiral climbs, and stall climbs more comfortably. The low speed handling isn't any better so these tactics should not be a first choice.
Evasive manoeuvres and defensive flying are important skills to master in the P-63. If the pursuer has a lower top speed than the P-63 and does not have ludicrously powerful cannons, extend away in a shallow dive and make slight dodges upwards and downwards to easily dodge incoming fire. With the P-63A-10 you can escape by diving to sea level, almost no contemporary fighters barring the P-51C-10 can keep up if you hold onto your speed. Rolling scissors are effective to force overshoots against opponents with poor roll rates. As a last resort, combining roll, elevator, and rudder results in an unpredictable and rapid spiral while bleeding speed quickly.
Soviet teams tend to climb or otherwise charge directly into battle, and engagements tend to start under 3-4 km. The P-63A-10 can focus on climbing and search for enemies around 4-5 km. It is unlikely that sufficient backup will be available at those altitudes unless your team happens to have other lend-lease Kingcobras or Thunderbolts, so if things get out of hand, again, pull enemies down towards your teammates.
Overall, the Soviet P-63A-10 is a solid aircraft for rounding out Soviet teams. It has enough high altitude and high speed performance to engage enemies in situations where indigenous Soviet fighters struggle while also having similar enough climb and manoeuvrability to pitch in once targets have been dragged down into optimal Soviet territory, making it very flexible. This model's powerful cannon with a generous ammo load will also be appreciated by Soviet pilots, whose typical ShVAKs and Berezin UBs struggle against durable targets.
The P-63A-10 is a good choice for Ground RB. It is like indigenous Soviet fighters in the sense that it performs well at low altitude but it boasts much better bomb load. Three 500 lb bombs in two bomb drops can score at least 2 kills, while the I-185 can only carry a pair of 250 kg bombs in one drop. Only the TIS MA and lend-lease Soviet Thunderbolt are better in terms of bomb load and drops, and these are much heavier fighters that suffer more from enemy aircraft and SPAA.
If there are no enemy fighters around, take the bomb payload. After spawning in, gain some altitude or speed and look for targets to bomb, preferably static or clustered tanks that are not likely to move. When the bombs have been expended, extend away and gain some altitude while getting your bearings. If enemy aircraft are present, climb some more and engage once you have an energy advantage. If the skies are clear you can fly around the map and strafe targets. Returning to base to reload the bombs is an option if the battle is not moving very quickly. If you think enemy aircraft will be inbound soon, climb to get the drop on them when they spawn in.
The P-63A-10 cannot cope with enemy fighters when burdened with its full bombload. There is unfortunately no option to take only the centerline bomb, so think carefully before spawning in. If it turns out that your team does not have control of the air, you can ditch the ordnance and go after fighters, then return to the airfield once it's safe to reload the bombs. A more risky option is deliver the bombs and make a beeline towards your airfield using your sea level speed. Once covered by friendly airfield AA, you can climb and reset the engagement on your terms.
A well-flown P-63A-10 can destroy and harass both ground and air targets. As long as you stay aware of your surroundings, few opponents will give you trouble and your team will appreciate the close air support and clear skies.
Manual Engine Control
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Good horizontal speed and acceleration
- Excellent dive speed
- Excellent performance at high speed, relatively minor compression
- Good rate of climb
- Good turn radius
- Good energy retention if manoeuvring is kept to a minimum
- 37 mm cannon can chew bombers easily
- No fuel tank in the fuselage
- Can carry an impressive 1,500 lbs worth of bombs if the need arises
- Almost double the amount of 37 mm shells compared to previous Bell aircraft
- Poor turn time at lower speeds
- Poor manoeuvring energy retention, bleeds speed in hard turns
- Large difference in trajectory between 37 mm and 12.7 mm, limiting the opportunities at which the firepower of both can be utilized
- 37 mm cannon lacks AP shells, not useful against tanks
- Limited ammunition for the machine guns
- Wings are littered with fuel tanks and easily set ablaze
The Bell P-39 Airacobra was an unusual fighter, having an engine mounted behind the cockpit with a driveshaft connecting it to the propeller at the front. This was intended to create a more favourable centre of gravity for manoeuvring and free up room for heavy nose-mounted armament. After initial testing of the XP-39 prototype, the turbocharger was removed from the design, leaving only a single-stage supercharger. Some sources claim that this decision was made since the US military did not need high altitude performance, while others claim that wind tunnel testing revealed that the turbocharger's benefits were not worth the penalties to aerodynamics. Regardless, this robbed the Airacobra of its high-altitude capabilities. For the British, who were interested in the P-39 for use as an interceptor, this was unacceptable. The US military was not impressed by the P-39 either, finding it difficult to handle, and only used the type until around 1942. However, the Soviet Union used the majority of its fighters for low-altitude engagements anyway and became an enthusiastic foreign user of the aircraft. Soviet pilots were more used to dealing with unusual handling characteristics, had clear guidelines about the P-39's operation found from exhaustive testing, and admired its heavy firepower, good protection, and comfortable ergonomics. It was the aircraft of choice for several aces like Alexander Pokryshkin and proved to be effective against the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front.
Bell was well aware of the P-39's issues. From 1941 onwards, the company explored several potential derivatives even as it produced improved versions of the P-39. The XP-39E was intended to improve the high altitude performance and used new airfoils plus a more powerful engine. While it was faster than the basic Airacobra, the other performance characteristics suffered and it was shelved. The XP-63 was an enlarged design with laminar airfoil, four-bladed propeller, and a second stage for the supercharger. The resulting aircraft was much improved from the P-39, but the US military declined to order it in large numbers since the P-51 Mustang was deemed superior. The Soviet Union was interested, however, and some 2400 P-63 Kingcobras were delivered. Exhaustive testing was performed, with feedback being given to Bell. Officially, the P-63 saw little combat in Soviet service. They were supposed to be stationed in the Far East for combat with Japan. However, several unconfirmed reports from the Germans and Soviets claim that P-63 saw combat on the eastern front, and a memoir from a Soviet pilot claimed that a regiment was secretly converted from P-39s to P-63s.
The Kingcobra remained in Soviet service for several years after WWII. Besides being a solid aircraft, the tricycle undercarriage was considered good practice for jet fighters. At least two Soviet P-63s are known to exist today and are on display at two museums in Moscow, Russia.
Bell P-63A-6/A-7/A-8/A-9/A-10 Kingcobra Army Fighter
The A-6 series introduced two additional multipurpose pylons under the wings, which could hold two 500 lb (227 kg) bombs or two additional fuel tanks with a capacity of 75 gallons (284 liters). To provide the extra space needed, the Colt-Browning M2 .50 cal 12.7 mm machine guns in the wings had their ammunition reduced from 250 to 200 rounds per gun. To reduce the risk of the plane going into a flat spin, the shape of the elevator fin was changed, and its area was reduced. A total of 130 A-6 aircraft were built.
During operation, the A-1, A-5, and A-6 aircraft exhibited a strain in the skin of their wings, so the A-7 series (150 planes) featured a thicker lining and reinforced structure. The fighter also had difficulty when exiting a dive or performing vertical manoeuvres. This was partially countered by installing a counterbalance in the elevator control system and by increasing the area of the elevator fin. The problem was completely eliminated only by the time modification C was released.
The A-8 series (200 aircraft) had the Allison V-1710 engine, equipped with a water-methanol mixture direct-injection afterburner which could be used to briefly increase engine power to 1,800 hp. Also, the airplane was fitted with an improved propeller (the Aeroproducts A6425-D3), an N-6 camera was installed, and the aircraft's armour was upgraded to 85.5 kg.
The A-9 series (445 aircraft) had its armament strengthened at the request of the Red Army Air Force. A Colt-Browning M10 37 mm cannon was installed. The new gun featured improved ballistics and 58 more rounds of ammunition per gun. To make space for this change, the ammunition for the fuselage guns was reduced to 250 rounds each. In addition, 5 kg of armour were added when the pilot's seat was upgraded.
The A-10 series (730 aircraft) received new N-9 sights. The mass of the aircraft's armour had reached 121 kg, and the aircraft could carry 6 unguided rockets.
As the improved P-63A was being delivered to the Soviet Union, priority shifted to supplying the eastern armies preparing for military action against Japan. During the campaign of August 1945 in the Far East, the P-63 was used to escort bombers and reconnaissance aircraft as well as to cover troops from the air and attack Japanese encampments.
From October 1943 to December 1944, Bell Aircraft produced a total of 1,725 P-63A fighter aircraft, after which the design was replaced by the C modification.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Bell Aircraft Corporation
|P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5
|P-63A-10 · P-63A-5 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra
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