|This page is about the American fighter P-63C-5. For other versions, see P-63 (Family).
After the Merlin-powered P-63B failed to come to fruition, production moved to the P-63C. It was powered by an improved Allison engine that came equipped with water injection which could boost power up to an impressive 1,800 hp. The wingspan was also shortened but was otherwise largely the same as the P-63A. The C-5 in particular had a ventral fin to help with stability and had more armour. Over 1,000 P-63Cs were produced and delivered well into the war. Many were sent to the Soviets under the lend-lease program but around 100 were also sent to France.
The P-63C-5 Kingcobra has been present since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27. It features a far better engine than the previous P-63A but also retains the four 12.7 mm machine guns and 37 mm cannon mounted through the propeller hub. The Allison V-1710-117 helps the P-63 perform much better at low altitude but high-altitude performance still leaves much to be desired. Players should stick to low-altitude fighting where the Kingcobra shines. For ground attack, the Kingcobra also has three 500 lb bombs, two mounted on either wing and one mounted in the centre. The 37 mm cannon also has access to AP rounds however it's ill-advised to use them against armoured targets due to their low velocity.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,572 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
Initially, the aircraft's flat speed is not fast enough to outrun Fw 190 A and F-8s that it may face, so it's recommended to upgrade engine performance first. Armament, although it won't improve greatly, is the next recommendation considering how underwhelming it may be on some occasions- do this by researching ammo belts, then improvements to the cannon.
The P-63C-5 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-63C-5 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 3 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (1,500 lb total)
Usage in battles
This aircraft is an improved version of the previous Kingcobra carrying the same armament and main gun. The aircraft is still a high-altitude interceptor/ energy fighter, with its turn radius slightly better than before. The quick dive speed and high energy retention allow the player, with the correct altitude, to engage opponents below numerous times using the high yo-yo method. This aircraft should not be used for ground attack due to its average ammo count.
The 37 mm M10 cannon is powerful. Aim carefully when firing, and do not fire too quickly, lest your gun jam and you lose your main weapon. A single shot to a wing or fuselage of an enemy plane will be all that it takes to bring it down.
The M2 Brownings can be used to inflict damage or to judge the range for your cannon shot.
The C-5 has a slightly lower climb rate than the A-10. However, this is relatively trivial as both planes are generally evenly matched. Keep this in mind, though, when selecting your load out.
It is recommended to use the P-63 against large fighters and bombers. It is far easier to hit a bomber with the cannon than a small fighter with it.
Head-on attacks are not advisable: the large cannon combined with the relatively weak M2s make for poor head-on accuracy. Only engage in head-ons if you are absolutely confident in your aim.
Boom & Zoom is also an effective tactic with this plane. Its large cannon makes getting shots while diving relatively easy, and its high climb rate and energy retention can get it to safety.
Bomber hunting is also extremely effective with the P-63, a large bomber is far easier to hit with a massive cannon. A single shot can take off a bomber's wing. However, don't spam the cannon. Keep the delay between shots at a 1-1.5 second. Firing too quickly will result in a jam, which makes your plane almost useless offensively.
Manual Engine Control
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Excellent dive speed
- Excellent energy retention
- Good flat out speed
- Good cannon damage
- Good climb rate
- Average turn time
- Cannon is situational due to low velocity and rate of fire
- Prone to engine damage when being chased
- Default paint scheme makes the aircraft visible at a longer distance
- Rudder locks at high speed making it hard to get guns on target in Boom & Zoom
The P-63C-5 was the second production series of the P-63 Kingcobra. The main improvement was the more powerful Allison V-1710-117 engine, capable of producing 1,500 hp on war emergency power and 1,800 hp with water injection. Additionally, the wingspan was reduced by 10 inches. 1,227 P-63C Kingcobras were produced.
Although being produced in the United States, the P-63 Kingcobra wasn't heavily used by American forces for combat operations. 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 they were 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 in that time. In the Pacific theatre, P-63s were used during the Soviet invasion of Manchuko and northern 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 North 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 1950's.
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-63C-1/C-5 Kingcobra Army Fighter
The most advanced production model of the P-63. The P-63C had a more powerful engine, the Allison V-1710-117 (1500 hp), as well as a short-term water injection afterburner capable of boosting the engine to 1800 hp. The airplane's aerodynamics were changed: an additional fin was added under the fuselage. Other external differences included a carburetor intake and new truncated wings. The area of the stabilizers, however, was increased. Measures taken to eliminate the danger of the plane falling into a flat spin were not entirely effective; however, the plane did spin less dangerously than the P-39 Airacobra, without jerking and twisting the controls around. The plane's armament remained the same as on the A-9 and the A-10.
The P-63C fighter was produced in two major series. The C-1 series featured a multipurpose ventral pylon under the plane, similar to that of the A-1 and A-5 series, which could carry an extra fuel tank or a bomb. 215 of these airplanes were built.
The C-5 featured two additional pylons under the wings, similar to those of the A-6. So, the P-63C-5 could carry three 500-lb (227-kg) bombs or three extra 75-gallon (284-liter) fuel tanks, or a combination of the two.
The number of pylons was the only difference between the two series. The P-63C-5 became the largest series in the Kingcobra's production. By May of 1945, 1,012 planes had been constructed.
The Red Army Air Force's opinion of the P-63 was positive. Pilots noted the plane's high speed, good manoeuvrability, and powerful armament. The convenient three-wheeled chassis, coupled with efficient brakes, provided good conditions for taxiing, takeoff, and landing, and the plane's handling on the ground was excellent.
In World War II, the P-63 would only see combat in the USSR. In the short military campaign in the Far East in August 1945, the Japanese air force provided no serious resistance, so evaluating the Kingcobra's combat performance in air-to-air combat was not possible.
In all, 3,303 P-63 aircraft were produced, including all modifications. After the war, they remained in service with the Soviet Air Force until 1952-1953. In the U.S., all of the planes were officially retired in 1946.
- Other P-63C-5
- Official data sheet - more details about the performance
- [Aviation-history] Bell P-63 Kingcobra (Web Archive)
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