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This page is about the American twin-engine fighter P-38J-15. For the premium version, see Bong's P-38J-15. For other versions, see P-38 (Family).


GarageImage P-38J-15.jpg

The P-38J-15 Lightning is a rank IV American twin-engine fighter with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/SB) and 4.3 (RB). It was introduced in Update 1.53 "Firestorm"

The P-38J is a sleekly designed, two-engine monoplane made by Lockheed. This plane has a top speed of 431 mph (694 km/h) and a VNE of 460 mph (740 km/h). Its main armament consists of 1 x AN/M2 20 mm cannon and 4 x 12.7 mm Browning machine guns. With upgrades, the Lightning can function as a multi-role fighter with bazooka rockets or bombs to help lead your team to victory, both in the air and on the ground.

General info

Flight performance

Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.

Max Speed
(km/h at 7,921 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
669 651 12192 22.6 23.4 15.9 15.9 332
Max Speed
(km/h at 7,921 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
721 693 12192 20.4 21.5 24.3 19.6 332


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flaps
Max Static G
+ -
620 ~9 ~4
Optimal velocities
< 380 < 460 < 500 > 420
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
7,500 m 1,290 hp 1,416 hp

Survivability and armour

  • 6.5 mm Steel - Fore cockpit plating
  • 6.5 mm Steel - Pilot's seat
  • 9.8 mm Steel - Pilot's headrest
  • 38 mm Bulletproof glass - Windscreen


Offensive armament

The P-38J-15 is armed with:

  • 1 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannon, nose-mounted (150 rpg)
  • 4 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, nose-mounted (500 rpg = 2,000 total)

Suspended armament

Main articles: AN-M64A1 (500 lb), M8

The P-38J-15 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 2 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (1,000 lb total)
  • 6 x M8 rockets

Usage in battles

When playing the P-38J, climb to a high altitude, search for the enemy, and then pick an enemy you feel confident in engaging.

Once these steps have been ticked-off, assuming you are above the enemy target, put the Lightning into a gradual descent. This allows you to maintain a speed advantage. As you are descending, make small course corrections, so you don't give the element of surprise away by shooting too soon, overshooting or being within view. When you are about 1-2 seconds away from your target, line your sights up and fire a short burst with your cannon and machine guns. Your target should now be heavily damaged or shot down. If you fail to damage your target, climb back up above using your energy advantage and repeat or move on.

Ground Battles
Using the Lightning in ground forces (RB) is very effective once you have unlocked the appropriate modules. FMBC Mk.1 allows you to equip 2 x 500 lb bombs, which are mounted under your wings. To help get the bombs on target, put the plane into a steep dive. As you near the ground, drop the bombs then pull up. Make sure you either pull up with altitude to spare or have a timed fuse to avoid crashing or blowing yourself up. The M10 Bazooka module allows you to equip your P-38J with 2 triple Bazooka launchers. These are attached to the lower nose panel and are very accurate. These are ideal for destroying tanks and bunkers.

Once the enemy ground units have been destroyed or you run out of external ordnance, you can use the Lightning to help maintain air superiority. This will help you secure that much-wanted victory.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Auto control available
Auto control available
Auto control available
Separate Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Offensive 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe New 12 mm MGs FMBC mk.1
III Wings repair Engine Offensive 20 mm
IV G-suit Engine injection Cover New 20 mm cannons Rocket Launcher M10

Pros and cons


  • Excellent speed
  • Excellent acceleration
  • Excellent climb rate
  • Very powerful armament, great for bomber hunting
  • Nose mounted armament allows it to have the great and fearsome head-on capability
  • Multiple armament presets; allows it to function as a ground attack and/or air superiority fighter
  • Good roll and turn time
  • Good overall visibility in simulator matches
  • Great air superiority aircraft


  • Fuel tanks catch on fire easily
  • Low initial roll rate
  • Unable to dive to put fires out without breaking wings
  • Easy to rip wings in dives; no airbrakes installed unlike the P-38L
  • Easy to black-out if your crew's G-Tolerance and Stamina are low
  • Low cannon ammunition amount compared to other planes at the rank



The concept of the plane was made in February 1937 when the US Army Air Corps made a requirement for a plane that had twin-engine and can act as a high-altitude interceptor that can hold a large amount of armament and ammunition. The term "interceptor" was used for the aircraft by the requirement authors, 1st Lt Benjamin S. Kelsey and Gordon P. Saville, to bypass the Air Corps' strict requirements on aircraft designs at the time. The specifications laid by this new requirements also called for a maximum speed of 360 mph (580 km/h) and able to climb to 20,000 ft altitude in six minutes, making it the toughest specifications at the time. Design proposals were made for the specifications, one of which would become the Bell P-39 Airacobra, but it was the Lockheed design team headed by Hall Hibbard and Clarence "Kelly" Johnson that made the final product. They made many designs with a twin-engine configuration. The prototypes made for the design used a twin-boom design to hold all the components of the aircraft. Various armaments were tested on the aircraft, from different machine gun combinations and autocannons. It was finally settled to four x M2 .50 cal machine guns and one Hispano 20 mm autocannon. The aircraft armament configurations, all at the nose of the aircraft, was very unusual for American aircraft design, as most of their designs and those of their foreign contemporaries had the armament mounted on the wings angled forward. Because of this mounting, the aircraft is able to fire at a longer distance accurately than wing-mounts.


The P-38J model of the series was introduced into service in August 1943. Its distinctive form is the movement of the turbo-supercharger intercooler system from the leading edges of the wings to in between the oil coolers of the engine to protect them from combat damages. Thus, the J models of P-38s have a distinctive "chin" in the engine design. The empty spaces on the wing now made room for fuel tanks for an additional 55 gallons of fuel when installed. Other improvements in the P-38J's was a hydraulically boosted ailerons and flat bullet-proof windscreens. 2970 P-38J's were built during its production period.

Combat usage

The P-38 performed very well in the Pacific and European theatres during World War II. They were used in roles such as bomber and transport escorts, performing reconnaissance, Combat Air Patrols, ground attack, Search and Rescue and other important and critical roles.


Unfortunately, it is estimated that only five P-38J's survive to this day. Only two of them are still airworthy.

Notable pilots

  • United States ace pilot Robin Olds, the only pilot to become an ace in a P-38 and P-51 during World War II.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.

Lockheed Corporation
Fighters  XP-38G · P-38E · P-38G-1 · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · P-38L-5-LO · YP-38
Bombers  B-34 · PV-2D
Jet Fighters  F-80A-5 · F-80C-10
  F-104A · F-104C
Export / License  A-29 · ▄Hudson Mk V
  ␗F-104A · ▀F-104G · ␗F-104G · ▅F-104J · ▄F-104S
See Also  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries · Fiat Aviation

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