From War Thunder Wiki
Revision as of 18:46, 31 March 2019 by Flame2512 (talk | contribs) (Added radar section)

Jump to: navigation, search
General characteristics
3 peopleCrew
15.4 tTake-off weight
5.68 kg/sBurst mass
Flight characteristics
9 143 mCeiling
2 х Pratt & Whitney R-2800-73Engine
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
726 km/hStructural
350 km/hGear
Offensive armament
4 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannonWeapon 1
800 roundsAmmunition
600 shots/minFire rate
Defensive armament
4 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gunTurret
2 120 roundsAmmunition
750 shots/minFire rate
Suspended armament
4 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombSetup 1
4 x 1000 lb AN-M65A1 bombSetup 2
36 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
140 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png4 600 / 5 851/5 030 / 6 398/1 660 / 2 111Repair
39 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
140 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
590 Ge icon.pngAces
148 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
250 % Sl icon.png300 % Sl icon.png80 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the American twin-engine fighter P-61C-1. For the premium version, see P-61A-1.


GarageImage P-61C-1.jpg

The P-61C-1 is a Rank III American twin-engine fighter with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/RB) and 4.3 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.57 "Battle March".

The P-61C-1 is a heavy twin engine strike fighter. It is designed to deliver as much damage as possible, and therefore makes a great ground attack aircraft and bomber-hunter.

It has four cannons placed are under the belly of the aircraft with an additional four Browning machine guns in the upper turret. The cannons combined with the gunner and turret these are able to make quick work of any plane which stands in your way. The machine gun turret can be used, defensively and offensively by the gunner. It is excellent in bomber hunting and it excels when used with boom and zoom tactics. However, it does not have a decisive defensive armament which can provide essential protection from low rear or belly attacks. It also is unable to turn fight, it is extremely large, slow and loses any advantages it has easily.

Turret defensive angles are limited, it can not aim any lower than the elevator. If an enemy plane is lower than the elevator, you will need to put the plane into a steep climb or dive. It also offers very weak crew protection from head-on attacks.

The P-61C-1 has Four AN/M2 with 800 rounds in total this is 200 rounds per gun. It also has a turret with four Browning machine guns it has 2120 rounds in total. This is 530 rounds per gun.

Its armament is exceptionally powerful for it's battle rating, being essentially slightly faster firing Hispano Mk. 2s. Additionally, its firepower is exclusively mounted on the fuselage, making it very accurate for long range shooting. However, note that unless the new 20 mm cannons upgrade are researched, they are somewhat inaccurate (especially in a head on pass). However this is nowhere near as visible as on planes where the cannons are wing mounted, like the F4U-1C. Like with all other AN/M2 cannons, it is recommended to use either the default or stealth belts due to their higher composition of HEFI shells.

The most notable aspect of the P-61C-1's armament is that the 4 x 12.7 mm machine gun turret is mounted on the roof of the aircraft and is capable rotating a full 360 degrees on the horizontal axis and almost 90 degrees upwards. Not only does this give the plane an effective defensive armament if an enemy plane is above the P-61, it also makes the gunner able to actively fire at the same target as the pilot, or fire at planes that the pilot cannot get an immediate gun solution on. Keep in mind however, that the turret cannot aim downwards at all, leaving the belly of the aircraft all the way up to wing level unprotected.

General info

Flight Performance

Max Speed
(km/h at 7,100 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
655 642 9,143 26.7 27.5 10.0 12.0 457
Max Speed
(km/h at 7,100 m)
Max altitude (meters) Turn time (seconds) Rate of climb
Take-off run (meters)
736 692 9,143 23.5 25.0 25.0 16.0 457


Combat flap Take-off flap Landing flap Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flap
Max Static G
+ -
726 350 340 ~3 ~1
Optimal velocities
< 520 < 420 < 450 > 240
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
8,000 m 4,200 hp 5,544 hp

Survivability and armour

  • 12.7 mm Steel - Nose armor plating (behind radar unit)
  • 60 mm Bulletproof glass - Pilot and gunner armored wind screens
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Gunner front armor (folds out of the way when not in use)
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Lower gun plate
  • 9.5 mm Steel - Gun turret ammo protection plates
  • 12.7 mm Steel - Turret protection plate


Offensive armament

Main article: AN/M2 (20 mm)

The P-61C-1 is armed with:

  • 4 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannons, chin-mounted (200 rpg = 800 total)

The four cannons are arranged in bundles of two mounted on the sides of the fuselage. Each are armed with the same amount of ammunition, which means that all guns will fire with each other until empty.

Suspended armament

The P-61C-1 can be outfitted with the following ordinance:

  • 4 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (2,000 lb total)
  • 4 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs (4,000 lb total)

Defensive armament

Main article: Browning M2 (12.7 mm)

The P-61C-1 is defended by:

  • 4 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, dorsal turret (500 rpg inside + 560 rpg outside = 2,120 total)

Usage in battles

The below tactics are recommended for all game modes:

How to offensively engage an enemy aircraft: Climb to high altitude and keep on a straight heading once you have seen the enemy. Overshoot the enemy plane, then perform a 180 degree turn. Make sure you stay on his tail and gradually descend. It is recommended to do something similar to a shallow descent, where you can keep speed and height to your advantage in case the enemy aircraft changes course and altitude. Do not perform a dive which requires you dive straight down, since you will rip the wings off and crash. Once you are within firing range, fire a short salvo from your cannons. A couple bursts from the Black Widow are sufficient to easily rip an enemy plane to shreds.

How to perform defensive fighting: When you are being engaged by an enemy fighter, make sure you keep descending. Very Important: Do not allow enemy aircraft to get lower than your elevator on the tail boom. You have no defensive armament to cover the belly or full-rear of the plane; these are your weakest defended parts.

  • Tactic one: Descend slowly. Put the plane in a steep dive that does not exceed your structural limit. However it must be steep enough to provide the turret gunner full visibility of the enemy plane. The four Browning machine guns will take care of the enemy plane.
  • Tactic Two: Put the plane in a steep climb and make sure you set the throttle to at least 70%. Jump into the gunner turret and operate it. This will be the most accurate and fastest way of shooting down the hostile plane. When you operate the turret, make sure you try and perform defensive manoeuvres when operating it i.e. sharp turns, rapidly decreasing in height as well as gaining height and changing the speed of the plane in an irrational way. This will give you higher chance of survival against the enemy.


Main article: AI Mk. X

The P-61C-1 is equipped with an AI Mk. X search radar, located in the nose of the aircraft.

AI Mk. X
Target Detection Radar
Max Azimuth
Scan Angle
Max Elevation
Scan Angle
14,000 m 8,500 m ±75° -20°/+40°

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Not controllable Not controllable Not controllable Separate Not controllable Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage Repair Radiator Turret 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe New 12 mm MGs (turret) FMBC mk.1
III Wings Repair Engine Offensive 20 mm
IV Engine Injection Cover New 20 mm Cannons FLBC mk.1

The P-61C-1 is a thoroughbred Boom & Zoom aircraft. However when the plane is first unlocked the flight performance will be very lackluster to support this tactic. As such, the initial priority should be to improve the aircraft, by researching the upgrades that improve flight performance the most, namely compressor, engine and engine injection. When the flight performance has reached a satisfactory level to allow for effective Boom & Zoom tactics, the priority should be switched towards researching the New 20 mm cannons upgrade in order to improve the accuracy of the cannons. After this is done, either finish upgrading the flight performance or focus on the turret upgrade. The bomb racks should be left to research last, as they are not critical to the P-61's main role as a fighter.

Pros and cons


  • The offensive armament is mounted under the belly of the plane, this provides excellent accuracy
  • Powerful offensive armament with 4 x AN/M2 cannons with a total amount of 800 rounds
  • Powerful defensive armament with 4 x Browning machine guns in a rotating turret, total of 2120 rounds
  • Defensive armament is able to be used offensively by the gunner
  • Very stable climb rate
  • Engines are able to cool down very fast
  • Able to perform sharp movements at low and high speed
  • Excellent bomber hunter
  • Very strong and rugged airframe; is able to fly with wing tips missing
  • Can keep a lot of momentum from a gradual dive
  • Can carry 4 x 1,000 lb Bombs: enough to fully destroy one base or four light pillboxes
  • Air brakes installed, allows you to slow down faster for a bomb run or landing
  • Powerful engines when upgraded giving great acceleration
  • Can fly on one engine
  • Fairly good roll rate at high speeds thanks to spoilers
  • Very little adverse yaw effect thanks to spoilers (SB)
  • Has access to a target detection radar, with much better range than German radars found around this battle rating


  • Slow acceleration when not upgraded and requires a long airstrip to take off due to weight
  • Uncompetitive roll rate at dogfighting speeds
  • Bad turn rate
  • Not recommended to dive upon your enemies due to structural damage speed which will be exceeded in a steep dive
  • Only has one turret that cannot cover the bottom
  • Large body airframe, makes dogfighting almost impossible
  • Dorsal turret might hit friendlies when active under AI control during furballs or when you're behind friendlies chasing an enemy


In 1940, the British Purchasing Commission wanted a high-altitude, high-speed interceptor to shoot down Luftwaffe bombers when they raided British cities. This called for a high-endurance heavy fighter with Aerial Interception(AI) radars and specified gun armament mounted in a 360 degrees gun turret. The requirements have been sent to many aircraft manufacturers, one of them is Jack Northrop. The USAAC accepted his proposal, resulting gin one of the most deadly and large fighters in world war two. The prototype YP-61, had a long fuselage gondola in between two engine nacelle. The tail was the new radical twin-boom design. Full span flaps were fitted on the wings and had two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 Double Wasp 18-cylinder radials, producing 2,000 horsepower each. The plane is mounted on a tricycle landing gear and has a three-man crew. A radar operator, gunner, and pilot. Armament includes four Browning 12.7 mm heavy machine guns mounted in a four-gun powered turret. The original design had a ventral turret, but that was replaced by Hispano M2 cannons. Some versions also had air brakes so the pilot will not overshoot its target.


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

See also

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

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

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
P-61  P-61A-1 · P-61C-1
F7F  F7F-1 · F7F-3
Other  XF5F · XP-50 · F-82E