|This page is about the American fighter P-63A-10. For other uses, see P-63 (Family).|
The P-63A-10 Kingcobra is a rank III American fighter with a battle rating of 4.0 (AB/RB) and 4.7 (SB). This fighter has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27.
This aircraft is a good all altitude fighter. The P-63A-10 can out-climb most of its opponents, un-upgraded, although "side-climbing" is recommended when the higher altitudes are reached. 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 (except perhaps the I-185), making it a good Boom & Zoom aircraft. 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.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,650 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,650 m)
|Max altitude (meters)||Turn time (seconds)|| Rate of climb
|Take-off run (meters)|
|Combat flap||Take-off flap||Landing flap||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
| Wing-break speed
| Gear limit
| Combat flap
|Max Static G|
|< 430||< 430||< 419||> 250|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|7,000 m||1,100 hp||1,705 hp|
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
The P-63A-10 is armed with:
- 1 x 37 mm M10 cannon, nose-mounted (58 rpg)
- 2 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, nose-mounted (250 rpg = 500 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, wing-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
The improved 37 mm gun improves damage to aircraft since the 4 x 12.7 mm Brownings are not greatly powerful at the higher ranks- the 37 mm gun compliments the 12.7 mm machine guns as a good bomber hunter, combined with the sleek profile of the aircraft.
The P-63A-10 can be configured with the following ordinance:
- Without load
- 3 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (1,500 lb total)
Usage in battles
An interceptor in any respect. Unlike most American designs the Kingcobra lacks heavy payload for ground attack duties. While the 37 mm can load anti-tank rounds, the plane will lose its excellent anti-air HE shells. Of course, the 12.7 heavy machine guns can be used against planes, in a ground attack role they are rather used on soft targets, as the AP shell lacks high-explosive damage radius to deal with AAA & SPAA quickly. The AP shells also require more accuracy while shooting and thus are inferior to the .50 cal Brownings on range e.g. with the HMG effective fire against light targets is possible from 600 m, but with the 37 mm AP shells, this needs to be reduced to 400 m.
The aircraft is not intended, nor should be used, as a ground attack vehicle, since it can only carry three, 500 lb bombs, which is a respectable amount, but the ammunition count for the 12.7 mm guns is not great, 250 rpg. The 37 mm gun can be used as ground attack, although this tactic isn't preferred by some as it reduces the ammo count as a whole for the aircraft, which is one of its limiting factors in combat.
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Separate||Not controllable||Not controllable|
|I||Fuselage Repair||Radiator||Offensive 12 mm|
|II||Compressor||Airframe||New 12 mm MGs||FMBC mk.1|
|III||Wings Repair||Engine||Offensive 37 mm|
|IV||Engine Injection||Cover||New 37 mm Cannons|
Pros and cons
- Good horizontal speed and acceleration
- Excellent dive speed
- Excellent performance under high speed
- Good rate of climb
- Good turn radius
- Decent energy retention
- 37 mm cannon can chew bombers easily
- 37 mm default belt is made up of all HE shells, suited for air targets
- 37 mm shells are deadly against anything flying and open-topped vehicles and SPAAs
- No fuel tank in the fuselage
- Good armament at closer ranges
- Can carry an impressive 1500 lbs worth of bombs if the need arises
- Has an unlockable camouflage that doesn't attack too much attention unlike its default camouflage
- Works incredibly well with individual weapon controls; first spray your target with the .50 cal, then finish it off with the 37 mm when close enough
- Almost double the amount of 37 mm shells compared to previous iterations of Bell aircraft
- Poor turn time at lower speeds
- Control surfaces lock up at higher speeds, often resulting in crashing since the dive angle is too steep
- Large difference in trajectory between 37 mm and 12.7 mm, limiting the opportunities at which the firepower of both can be utilized
- 37 mm cannot penetrate tank armour even at optimal angles with APT shells
- 37 mm projectiles have extremely low muzzle velocity and accuracy
- 37 mm ammo belts selection doesn't really offer anything in particular, especially lacking in a pure AP composition
- .50 cal ammo count somehow feels inadequate
- Attacking bombers yields a high risk exposing yourself into gunner fire because you have to get close to be effective with the 37 mm
- Wings are littered with fuel tanks and easily set ablaze
- When being chased, the engine is susceptible to damage which can be fatal
- Energy retention is less than average, so a higher combat-entry speed required to escape safely
- Low altitude performance is less than average, although the flat out speed makes up for this a little
- Default paint scheme makes the aircraft visible at a longer distance
On September 29, 1942, the US Army ordered full-scale production of the Kingcobra. The first production version of the Kingcobra was the P-63A (Bell Model 33).
Deliveries of production P-63As began in October of 1943. However, the US Army examined the P-63A at Eglin Field, Florida and concluded that it was unsuitable for service with the USAAF as a combat aircraft, even though test pilots spoke favorably of its characteristics, and its performance was comparable with that of other fighters of the time. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union had a need for a high-altitude fighter (where the P-39 was deficient), and it was thought that the P-63 might be a natural choice for them, combining good high-altitude performance with excellent ground attack capabilities using the 37-mm cannon.
The initial production block was P-63A-1. It was virtually identical to the XP-63A production prototype. It was fitted with 87.7 pounds of pilot armor and had an internal fuel capacity of 100 gallons. It was armed with a type M-4 37-mm cannon fed by a 30-round magazine. There were two synchronized 0.50-inch machine guns in the nose with 270 rpg, and two underwing 0.50-inch guns with 250 rpg. A centerline underfuselage rack could carry a 75-US gallon auxiliary fuel tank or a 500-lb bomb.
The P-63A-5 introduced a dorsal radio mast, which became standard on all later models.
The A-1 and A-5 could carry a 75- or 175-gallon drop tank or a 522-pound bomb under the center section. The P-63A-6 was fitted with underwing racks so that either a 75-gallon tank or a 500-pound bomb could be carried under each wing.
The P-63A-7 was fitted with an Aeroproducts propeller of slightly reduced diameter. An increase in wing loading limited this variant to a 64-gallon tank under each wing. The nose gun mounts were modified, elevator chord was increased by two inches, and the span of the horizontal stabilizer was increased by 16 inches to 14 feet 7 inches.
The P-63A-8 featured 188.8 pounds of armor. An improved version of the Aeroproducts propeller increased maximum speed to 417 mph. Water injection was added to the engine, which was incorporated in all subsequent Kingcobra versions. A Type N-6 gun camera was added. Ammunition for the two wing guns was decreased from 250 to 200 rpg.
The P-63A-9 had 198.9 pounds of armor. It introduced the 37-mm M10 cannon in place of the earlier M4, and an increase in ammunition capacity from 30 to 58 37-mm rounds.
The P-63A-10 had rocket rails fitted underneath the wings. The weight of the armor increased to 236.3 pounds.
Production deliveries of the P-63A began in October of 1943, and by December of 1944 1725 P-63As had been produced. The USAAF never saw fit to use the Kingcobra for operational combat missions, since by that time in the war the need for low-altitude close-support fighter aircraft was more than adequately filled by such aircraft as the P-47 Thunderbolt. Nevertheless, P-63As did serve for a few months with the 31st, 444th, and 445th Squadrons while they were based Stateside.
Most of the P-63As that were manufactured at the Buffalo plant were immediately ferried to the Soviet Union. Upon completion, the P-63s would be rolled out of the factory and ferried from Niagra Falls to Selfride Field, Michigan. After refueling, the would be flown to Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin where Soviet ferry pilots (usually women) would pick them up and fly them to Edmonton, Anchorage and then across the Bering Straits to the Soviet Union. The Russians used the Kingcobra primarily for close-support and ground strafing. The Kingcobra had a relatively good low-altitude performance and had the ability to absorb a lot of battle damage and still remain flying. It proved to be a potent ground attack aircraft and tank-buster, but it never received the amount of attention in the Soviet Union as did the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik.
The P-63A never served in combat with US forces. US Kingcobras remained stateside for use by the Army in training. Many of these P-63As were converted into RP-63A target aircraft.
The Paul Garber restoration facility of the Smithsonian Institution in Suitland, Maryland has a P-63A on display. However, I was not able to get close enough to this plane to record its serial number.
I also seem to remember a P-63A being on display at the Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, Arizona. I remember it as being painted in Russian insignia. However, I have no information about its serial number.
Serials of the P-63A were as follows:
42-68861/68910 Bell P-63A-1 Kingcobra 42-68911/68930 Bell P-63A-5 Kingcobra 42-68931/69060 Bell P-63A-6 Kingcobra 42-69061/69210 Bell P-63A-7 Kingcobra 42-69211/69410 Bell P-63A-8 Kingcobra 42-69411/69860 Bell P-63A-9 Kingcobra 42-69861/70685 Bell P-63A-10 Kingcobra
Specification of P-63A-10:
Engine: One Allison V-1710-93 twelve-cylinder Vee liquid cooled engine with a single-stage supercharger and auxiliary hydraulic turbosupercharger, rated at 1325 hp at sea level and 1150 hp at 22,400 feet. Performance: Maximum speed was 361 mph at 5000 feet, 392 mph at 15,000 feet, and 410 mph at 25,000 feet. An altitude of 25,000 feet could be reached in 7.3 minutes. Service ceiling was 43,000 feet. Ferry range was 2575 miles. Weights were 6375 pounds empty, 8800 pounds loaded, and 10,500 pounds maximum takeoff. Dimensions: Wingspan 38 feet 4 inches, length 32 feet 8 inches, height 12 feet 7 inches, and wing area 248 square feet. Armament One 37-mm M10 cannon with 58 rounds firing through the propeller hub, two 0.50-inch machine guns in the nose with 200 rpg, and one 0.50-inch machine gun in each of two underwing gondolas with 900 rpg. A centerline underfuselage rack could carry a 75-US gallon auxiliary fuel tank or a 500-lb bomb.
Bell P-63A-6/A-7/A-8/A-9/A-10 Kingcobra Army Fighter
The A-6 series introduced two additional multipurpose pylons under the wings, which could hold two 500-lb (227-kg) bombs or two additional fuel tanks with a capacity of 75 gallons (284 liters). To provide the extra space needed, the Colt-Browning M2.5 12.7mm machine guns in the wings had their ammunition reduced from 250 to 200 rounds per gun. To reduce the risk of the plane going into a flat spin, the shape of the elevator fin was changed, and its area was reduced. A total of 130 A-6 aircraft were built.
During operation, the A-1, A-5, and A-6 aircraft exhibited a strain in the skin of their wings, so the A-7 series (150 planes) featured a thicker lining and reinforced structure. The fighter also had difficulty when exiting a dive or performing vertical maneuvers. This was partially countered by installing a counterbalance in the elevator control system and by increasing the area of the elevator fin. The problem was completely eliminated only by the time modification C was released.
The A-8 series (200 aircraft) had the Allison V-1710 engine, equipped with a water-methanol mixture direct-injection afterburner which could be used to briefly increase engine power to 1800 hp. Also, the airplane was fitted with an improved propeller (the Aeroproducts A6425-D3), an N-6 camera was installed, and the aircraft's armor was upgraded to 85.5 kilograms.
The A-9 series (445 aircraft) had its armament strengthened at the request of the Red Army Air Force. A Colt-Browning M10 37mm cannon was installed. The new gun featured improved ballistics and 58 more rounds of ammunition per gun. To make space for this change, the ammunition for the fuselage guns was reduced to 250 rounds each. In addition, 5 kg of armor were added when the pilot's seat was upgraded.
The A-10 series (730 aircraft) received new N-9 sights. The mass of the aircraft's armor had reached 121 kg, and the aircraft could carry 6 unguided rockets.
As the improved P-63A was being delivered to the Soviet Union, priority shifted to supplying the eastern armies preparing for military action against Japan. During the campaign of August 1945 in the Far East, the P-63 was used to escort bombers and reconnaissance aircraft as well as to cover troops from the air and attack Japanese encampments.
From October 1943 to December 1944, Bell Aircraft produced a total of 1,725 P-63A fighter aircraft, after which the design was replaced by the C modification.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
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.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
- other literature.
|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-36G|
|P-39 Airacobra||P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5|
|P-40||P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40F-10|
|P-47 Thunderbolt||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-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|
|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|