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    Northrop XP-61E (Black Widow) Long-Range Bomber Escort / Heavy Day Fighter Aircraft (1945)

    Northrop XP-61E (Black Widow) Long-Range Bomber Escort / Heavy Day Fighter Aircraft (1945)

    Continuation of the Northrop XP-61E (Black Widow) Long-Range Bomber Escort / Heavy Day Fighter Aircraft development period and operational history.






    A first-flight was had on January 3rd, 1945. However, in April of that year, the program suffered a considerable setback when the second prototype was lost after an attempted full-power take-off test which resulted in too much damage to save the airframe (the test crew survived after a belly landing).

    The changing face of war also meant that the XP-61E was never furthered beyond the pair of flyable prototypes: the B-29 found few challengers in the Pacific and was never fielded over Europe against Germany. Also the age of the jet fighter had arrived which limited the long-term commitment on the part of the Army to prop-driven types like the XP-61E. The long-range escort role was fulfilled, at least for the interim, by the stellar, prop-driven North American F-82 "Twin Mustang".

    The design became the last fighter-minded offshoot of the Black Widow series and never saw the light of day as an operational-level product. One of the XP-61E aircraft was reworked by Northrop to become the XF-15 prototype which, in turn, became the F-15 "Reporter" in USAF service - though only thirty-six of the type were acquired. The P-61 itself was retired as quickly as 1954 though not after some 700 were produced. ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com




      Global Operators  


    United States (cancelled)

      Model Variants  


    XP-61E - Base Project Designation; two examples configured from existing P-61B airframes.

      Images Gallery  


    Picture of Northrop XP-61E (Black Widow)