|This page is about the American fighter P-51A. For other versions, see P-51 (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The P-51A was one of the first variants of the P-51. It is quite similar to the A-36, which is essentially a ground-attack-focused P-51. One of the main improvements of the P-51A over previous Mustangs is the uprated engine. The Allison V-1710-81 inline 12-cylinder engine could produce up to 1,200 hp and could sustain much of that at higher altitudes thanks to its supercharger. It was also fitted with a bigger propeller, which further increased performance. The P-51A would be one of the fastest fighters at the time, thanks to its unique design and powerful engine. In addition to its excellent performance, the P-51A was armed with four 12.7 mm machine guns in the wings. However, due to the thin wings and cramped nature, the machine guns had frequent jams. A significant number of P-51As were sent to the Royal Air Force and served for much of the war. Over 1,500 P-51As were produced until the superior Merlin engine became available for the Mustang.
Introduced during Update 1.55 "Royal Armour" as a reward vehicle for the 2015 Thunder League event, the P-51A Mustang is an extremely rare aircraft. Since it is an early Mustang, it still features the Allison V-1710 engine. However, it had one of the best Allison engines before the switch to the Merlin engine, thanks to the addition of a supercharger. Combined with its relatively low battle rating, the P-51A is an excellent fighter. It excels with boom and zoom tactics thanks to its impressive dive performance, but players must note its compressibility. At lower altitudes, players need to be careful when performing aggressive dives. In addition, it's important to not engage in dogfights unless the enemy aircraft is at a major disadvantage or it is absolutely necessary.
"The Need for Speed" is a worthy credo for all Mustangs. This initial iteration boasts a significant speed advantage over all Rank II aircraft, but sacrifices are obvious. On the upside, the good maximum velocity greatly benefits the energy retention coming out of dives and for staying out of trouble.
This version features the Allison V-1710-81 Engine with improved performance at altitude at a small cost to horsepower output on the ground. However it is also, by a small margin, the lightest variant and more aerodynamic, off-setting this loss.
Manoeuvrability is nothing to write home about (except roll-rate), especially without speed to burn. The control surfaces lock up at high speeds which makes the Mustang a comparatively agile fighter when initiating combat, but this is quickly lost. Fortunately the combat flaps have a very high speed tolerance and greatly benefit it in dogfights. Overall the P-51 likes to bleed speed in manoeuvres and the lost energy cannot be easily regained. For another downside is the sluggish acceleration which further causes a low rate of climb. Managing both disadvantage is the Ace's true skill for this elite Boom and Run fighter. However this is for an altitude range up to 4,000 m (13,000 ft). High altitude performance suffers which in combat, due the slow climb rate, is rarely reached anyway.
Thus all engagements, may they be Boom & Zoom or Boom & Run style, should be performed below said altitudes.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 3,170 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 550||< 230||< 550||> 360|
Survivability and armour
While the Mustang looks quite defensive on first glance, it is a deceptive one. The fuel tanks are wing-mounted and prone to fires (the D-series has got an inline one). The very small engine cowl plate could just as well be absent. Both issues combined leave many pilots a gliding and/or burning example of why to avoid bomber's defensive fire. The P-51's prime form of defence is speed. As a Boom & Run fighter, avoiding air-drag inducing bullet holes by not getting hit is a far preferable option anyway. Whilst setting up another attack (a.k.a. retreating from combat) the very generous backseat armour will absorb any stray shots. In general the pilot's survivability is great.
Modifications and economy
The P-51A is armed with:
- 4 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (350 rpg inner + 280 outer = 1,260 total)
In terms of weapons, there aren't many to speak of. Nearly all US fighters from this point on feature at least six M2 Brownings. Thus the burst mass is quite light. A detriment for quick attack passes. Use the tracer belt or the omnipurpose belts, as they contain the most incendiary bullets. For Realistic and Simulator battles the ammo count is quite miniscule, controlled bursts are in order.
The P-51A can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 2 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs (200 lb total)
- 2 x 250 lb AN-M57 bombs (500 lb total)
- 2 x 300 lb H.E. M31 bombs (600 lb total)
- 2 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (1,000 lb total)
Usage in battles
The start of each battle can be quite similar, thus in general proceed as follows: WEP and climb until you are higher than most enemy aircraft. Then proceed to destroy fighters. Do NOT turn fight with any aircraft except for bombers, though the latter is an ill-advised target with the lack of heavy firepower. If someone is on your tail, proceed in a shallow dive. The plane's exceptional top speed should allow it to outrun almost everything. Note that while this Mustang variant features improved high altitude ability, it is still not comparable to true altitude fighters like the MiG-3.
In Arcade Battles the option for in-air reloads may tempt the pilot to spray & pray and dump all the ammunition. However, a more deliberate and aimed approach is often more succesful. Waiting outside a furball or dogfight for the right moment to intercept is key. Due to the lack of climb rate and firepower bombers should not be sought out. In general the P-51 plays akin to the He-100.
In Realistic Battles the combat role is a tricky game. Lacking climb rate and good high altitude performance the Mustang pilot needs to wait for the combat to come down to about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). Climbing should be done away from the expected combat zone (a.k.a. side-climbing) . At this point initial combat should be Boom & Run, utilizing the superior top speed to avoid combat while the enemy is focused on other team mates. Once the hostiles have dropped to a lower altitude Boom & Zooming can be engaged in. With only four HMGs and 1260 rounds, ammo can run sparse after three kills. Keep to 30 min of fuel minimum and returning to base will be a rare occurrence. Overall this is a support fighter, as in the current climbing meta engagements against higher flying interceptor-fighters are often deadly, as the Mustang then lacks the critical ability to choose the time of engagement.
Simulator Battles is where the P-51A truly shines. Flying at top speed with military rated power (100%) keeps the engine cool and enemies usually far away at one's tail. Most of all combat happens slightly below the Mustang's preferred altitude and the cockpit view is great, albeit with limited rearward view. Only the lack of acceleration in prolonged dogfights is a trap that even experienced pilots still fall into. An emergency dive to top speed will however fix this, if the pilot remembered to keep some altitude. And one should, for the greatest advantage is the ability to disengage any unfavourable battle and like with many things, the early Mustangs do not disappoint.
Manual Engine Control
|Not controllable|| Controllable
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
|Combined|| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Extremely fast in level flight or in a dive
- Gets access to the late-war .50 cal belts
- Little lock-up at high speeds
- Hard to rip wings
- Not very manoeuvrable
- Only four Browning HMGs
- Fast engine overheating
The US Army placed an order for 1,200 P-51A Mustangs (designated as NA-99 by North American) in August 1942. The P-51A was the highest performing fighter aircraft of the US Army Air Force (USAAF) at the time, when below 22,000 feet. The P-51A Mustang was an improved version of the P-51 Mustang.
The P-51A was powered by the Allison V-1710-81 engine, rated at 1,200 hp. The V-1710-81 had increased power when compared to the V-1710-39 which was used by the earlier P-51. A 3-bladed Curtiss 10 feet 6 inch propeller. This gave the P-51A a top speed of 390 mph at 22,000 feet and a service ceiling of 31,500 feet.
Unlike the A-36 Apache variant of the Mustang, the P-51A was designed purely as a fighter rather than as a ground attack aircraft. As such, no dive brakes were fitted. Two under-wing pylons were mounted with the capability of carrying bombs or drop tanks. The maximum weight of the P-51A was an increased 10,600 lbs, while the average load was 8,600 lbs.
On internal fuel only, the P-51A had a range of 750 miles at 300 mph. With two 125 gallon drop tanks mounted the range was increased to 2,000 miles (while at reduced power).
Testing and Production
The P-51A first flew in February 1943, with deliveries beginning in March of the same year. They were delivered with olive drab paint on the upper portions and grey paint on the underside.
Because of the introduction of Merlin-powered Mustangs, the order of 1,200 P-51A was cancelled after only 310 were completed. Of the 310 P-51As, 50 were given to the RAF as the Mustang Mk II and 35 were converted to the F-6B unarmed reconnaissance variant. The combat variants spanned from the P-51A-1-NA to the P-51A-10-NA. The serials were 43-6003 through 43-6312.
The P-51A was used heavily in the China/Burma/India theater (CBI), seeing service until 1945 - long after improved variants had entered service.
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.
|P-26 Peashooter||P-26A-33 · P-26A-34 · P-26A-34 M2 · P-26B-35|
|P-36 Hawk||P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · ○P-36C · P-36G|
|P-39 Airacobra||P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5|
|P-40||P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40E-1 TD · P-40F-10|
|P-47 Thunderbolt||P-47D-22-RE · P-47D-25 · P-47D-28 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15|
|P-51 Mustang||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-63 Kingcobra||P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra|
|F2A Buffalo||F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3|
|F3F||F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2|
|F4F Wildcat||F4F-3 · F4F-4|
|F4U Corsair||F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1D · F4U-1C · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214 · F2G-1|
|F6F Hellcat||F6F-5 · F6F-5N|
|F8F Bearcat||F8F-1 · F8F-1B|
|Other countries||▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃A6M2 · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc|
|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-11 · XF5F · XP-50 · F7F-3|
|Jet fighters||P-59A · F-86F-35 · F-89B · F-89D · F-4S Phantom II · F-5C|
|Strike aircraft||A-1H · A2D-1 · AU-1 · XA-38 · AV-8A · A-6E TRAM · A-10A|
|Bombers||A-26C-45DT · B-10B · BTD-1 · PBM-3 "Mariner" · PV-2D|