|This page is about the American fighter P-63A-5. For the Soviet version, see P-63A-5 (USSR). For other versions, see P-63 (Family).
The P-63 Kingcobra was designed to improve on the shortcomings seen in the earlier P-39 Airacobra. Although the two planes seem similar, no parts on either aircraft are interchangeable, the P-63 was a new design. The first variant was the P-63A which started production in late 1942. The first deliveries began a year later, but the USAAF (US Army Air Force) rejected the Kingcobra. The Kingcobra would then find a home with the Soviet Union, which needed a competent fighter against the capable German fighters and pilots. The P-63A was virtually the same as the XP-63A but had more armour and fuel. The specific A-5 production block has a radio mast mounted on top of the fuselage and was later carried over to all variants. Not a single P-63 would ever serve in combat with the US; rather, almost every Kingcobra was sent to the Soviet Union and the few Kingcobras that did stay in the US were relegated to training use or target drones.
The P-63A-5 Kingcobra has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27. Being an early variant of the Kingcobra family, the P-63A-5 misses out on various improvements like better engines and more ground ordnance. The P-63A-5 can only carry a single underslung 500 lb bomb, so ground attack is quite limited. The Kingcobra shines in air combat, particularly at low altitudes. Thanks to its Allison V-1710-93 engine, the A-5 can reach an impressive speed of 640 km/h (400 mph) and has an equally impressive structural limit of almost 900 km/h (562 mph). As for armament, the Kingcobra comes with four wing-mounted 12.7 mm machine guns and a single 37 mm cannon mounted through the propeller. With a full HE belt, the 37 mm cannon can easily take down an enemy fighter. However, continuous firing will quickly jam the gun and/or decrease accuracy. Also, the Kingcobra has five 10+ mm steel plates, many protecting the pilot and engine. Players should find the P-63A-5 Kingcobra to be a very capable fighter.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 6,850 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
Modifications and economy
The P-63A-5 is armed with:
- 1 x 37 mm M4 cannon, nose-mounted (30 rpg)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (250 rpg = 500 total)
The P-63A-5 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 1 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bomb (500 lb total)
Usage in battles
This aircraft is a good all-altitude fighter and can be used as an interceptor. The A-5 can out-climb most of its opponents un-upgraded, although "side climbing" is recommended. Its straight-line speed, especially at higher altitudes, is respectable, competing with Bf 109s of the rank. This aircraft has a poor turn-time at slower speeds, but as with most US aircraft, its high-speed performance is significantly better than the aircraft it faces, making it a good Boom & Zoom aircraft. The 37 mm gun improves damage to aircraft since the 4 x 12.7 mm Brownings are not greatly powerful at the higher tiers- the 37 mm gun compliments the 12.7 mm as a good bomber hunter, combined with the sleek profile of the aircraft. The aircraft should not be used, as a ground attack vehicle, since it can only carry one 500 lb bomb and the amount of ammunition for the 12.7 mm guns is not great. The 37 mm gun can be used in a ground attack, although some don't prefer this tactic as it reduces the ammo count as a whole for the aircraft, which is one of its limiting factors in combat. Tactically, the aircraft is good for small dives against turn-fighting opponents on the tail of your allies, from around 1,000 m or less above the target. Keeping any "side-climbers" down is normally good since the speed and rate of climb allow the P-63 to catch these planes and send them back down.
Manual Engine Control
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Powerful 37 mm cannon with 4 x 12.7 mm machine guns as a backup
- Default round for 37 mm cannon is devastating against enemy planes
- The P-63A-5 has an Air Targets belt for the 37 mm cannon consisting purely of HEFI-T shells
- Slightly more powerful engine and better manoeuvrability than the already well-performing P-39 Airacobra
- Can WEP for a long time without overheating
- Jack of all trades
- Bigger target than the P-39
- Still stuck with the same 37 mm M4 cannon as the P-39s
- Slow rate of fire for the 37 mm cannon
- Limited 37 mm ammo
- 37 mm projectiles are too slow and inaccurate to be reliably effective in a dogfight
- 37 mm projectiles can not penetrate tank armour even at optimal angles
- Centre mounted engine has a higher tendency to take damage in pursuits and from diving planes.
The P-63 Kingcobra was an improved version of the P-39 Airacobra. The P-63A was the first production variant, and production began in October 1943. The USAAF found the P-63 inferior to other designs, such as the P-51 Mustang, so it was not ordered in quantity. But, production began to facilitate export to the Soviet Union through the Lend-Lease Act.
The Soviet Union played a major role in developing the P-63, and it was tested heavily in Russia. The P-63A sub-variants were mostly developed due to Soviet feedback since the Soviet Union was the largest buyer of the Kingcobra. The P-63A-5 sub-variant incorporated more pilot armour and a fuselage hardpoint. The A-6 added two wing hardpoints and extra fuel tanks, and the 37 mm gun was moved forward on the A-9 due to Soviet feedback - increasing the ammunition load from 30 to 58 rounds.
The P-63A was not used for combat operations by the USAAF. Instead, they were often converted to target aircraft for aerial gunnery training. Most P-63s, though, were exported to the Soviet Union during the war through the Lend-Lease Act.
The P-63 was removed from the Soviet western front in 1943 to focus the units on the east for an eventual invasion of Japan. However, both Soviet units and German units reported the presence of P-63 fighters on that front. One Soviet account goes as far as to say that the entire 4th Guards Aviation Regiment (4 GvlAP) was converted to the P-63 in 1944 while officially flying the P-39. German accounts also detail the downing of P-63 aircraft by flak guns and fighter aircraft. The official Soviet records still claim that only P-39s were used against Germany.
In the time before the P-63s were transferred to the east, it had been proven as a capable fighter, although there is a widely believed myth that P-63s were used only in the ground attack role. The Kingcobra was able to achieve several victories over German aircraft at that time. In the Pacific theatre, P-63s were used during the Soviet invasion of Manchukuo and northern Japanese Korea. They flew ground attack, close air support, and escort missions in that theatre. The first Soviet air victory with the type in the Pacific was on 15 August 1945, when Lejtenant I. F. Miroshnichenko from 17th IAP/190 IAD, shot down a Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa IJAAS fighter off the coast of northern Korea.
The Soviet Air Force maintained large quantities of P-63 Kingcobras after the war, with P-63s remaining in service throughout the Korean War in the 1950s.
The French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) received 114 P-63 Kingcobras in 1945. These units were received too late to participate in World War 2, and they were first deployed to Algeria. When the French-Indochina War broke out, the P-63s were sent to Indochina immediately. By January 1950, only 60 P-63s remained operational due to a lack of spare parts since the United States refused to provide them. The squadrons equipped with the Kingcobra began to receive the F8F Bearcat in February 1951, and the P-63 was taken out of service soon after. The last flight of a P-63 in Indochina occurred in September 1951.
Bell P-63A-1/A-5 (Model 33) Kingcobra Army Fighter
A single-seat, closed-canopy, all-metal monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear and a nose strut. The P-63 Kingcobra was developed as an improved version of the P-39 Airacobra and had a similar layout, with the engine located just behind the cockpit.
Work on the plane, originally designated the XP-39E, began in February 1941. The first prototype designated XP-63, flew on December 7, 1942, and production of the P-63A-1 (Model 33) began in October 1943, along with the P-39.
The general layout of the P-39 Kingcobra was preserved, but the P-63 featured new, streamlined wings. To remedy the P-39's main weakness, a propensity to fall into a flat spin, the area of the vertical tail fin was increased, and the aft section of the fuselage was lengthened.
The first production models were equipped with a V-12 liquid-cooled Allison V-1710-93 engine (1,325 hp). The aircraft was armed with a Colt-Browning M4 37 mm cannon with 30 rounds and 2 synchronous Colt-Browning M2 .50 cal 12.7 mm machine guns with 270 rounds per gun. An additional two M2 .50 cals with 250 rounds each were placed in the wing compartments.
Aircraft of both series (except some A-1 planes) were fitted with a ventral pylon which could hold a fuel tank of 75 gallons (284 litres) or one 500 lb (227 kg) bomb.
The aircraft was continually tweaked from one production run to the next, improving its ability to support troops on the field. However, the differences between the A-1 and the A-5 were only slight. Though not a visible one, the most significant difference was the increase in armour from 40 kg to 81. 50 P-63A-1 and 20 P-63A-5 planes were produced.
The Red Army became the main consumers of the P-63A. Deliveries to the Soviet Union began in the summer of 1944 via Alaska and the Northwest Staging Route. The P-63A began to support Soviet anti-aircraft operations in the spring of 1945.
The Soviet version of the P-63A differed from the American in one important feature: the presence of a crank to start the engine. In addition, the Soviets equipped the plane with FAB-100 and FAB-250 bombs under the fuselage.
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
|▂P-39K-1 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · ▂P-39Q-15 · ▄P-39Q-25
|▂P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-10 · ▂P-63C-5 · ▄P-63C-5
|AH-1F · AH-1G · AH-1Z
|UH-1B · UH-1C · UH-1C XM-30
|▅UH-1B · ◄UH-1D
|Tzefa A · Tzefa B · Tzefa D/E · ▅AH-1S early · ▅AH-1S · ▅AH-1S Kisarazu
|Fuji Heavy Industries · Agusta
|P-26A-33 · P-26A-34 · P-26A-34 M2 · P-26B-35
|P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · ○P-36C · P-36G
|P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5
|P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40E-1 TD · P-40F-10
|P-47D-22-RE · P-47D-25 · P-47D-28 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15
|P-51 · P-51A (Thunder League) · P-51C-10 · P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · P-51D-30 · P-51H-5-NA
|P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra
|F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3
|F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2
|F4F-3 · F4F-4
|F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1D · F4U-1C · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214 · F2G-1
|F6F-5 · F6F-5N
|F8F-1 · F8F-1B
|▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃A6M2 · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc