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  • North American F-82 / P-82 Twin Mustang Long-Range Escort / Ground Attack / Nightfighter Aircraft

    The North American F-82 Twin Mustang mated two P-51H Mustang fighter airframes into one potent night fighter and close-support platform used in the Korean War.

     Updated: 5/17/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    While several aviation concerns of World War 2 (1939-1945) entertained the idea of mating two fuselages of existing successful aircraft lines, only a few projects actually bore fruit - the Heinkel "Zwilling" (twin He 111) and the North American P/F-82 "Twin Mustang" come to mind. The Twin Mustang was originally brought about to fulfill the required role of long-range fighter escort for the four-engined, long-range, high-altitude Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" heavy bomber. In the end, the Twin Mustang missed out on combat actions in World War 2 altogether, was turned into a night fighter and served with distinction during the Korean War (1950-1953), netting the first air kills of the conflict.

    While World War 2 had officially begun in September of 1939, the United States did not formally enter the war until late-1941 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The nation mobilized the following year and its large war industry ramped up to meet demand. The initial primary focus was on the European Theater leaving forces in the Pacific to made due for the interim - the survival of Britain and the Soviet Union were key factors in the demise of the Axis powers in Europe. Once the situation across the Atlantic had stabilized, American attention then turned to the West and the Empire of Japan where territory now spanned across the Pacific Ocean. Each holding was essentially helped by long distances of open water which would force invaders to commit considerable naval assets and manpower in forcing Japanese defenders from their entrenched positions. Such offensives - through "Island Hopping" - would eventually claim the lives of millions of participants.

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    North American F-82G Twin Mustang Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1946
    Type: Long-Range Escort / Ground Attack / Nightfighter Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): North American Aviation - USA
    Production Total: 273

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 42.42 feet (12.93 meters)
    Width: 51.25 feet (15.62 meters)
    Height: 13.85 feet (4.22 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 15,997 lb (7,256 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 25,951 lb (11,771 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Allison V-1710-143/145 V-12 liquid-cooled inline piston engines developing 1,600 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 461 mph (742 kph; 401 knots)
    Maximum Range: 2,239 miles (3,604 km)
    Service Ceiling: 38,898 feet (11,856 meters; 7.37 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 3,770 feet-per-minute (1,149 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    6 x 0.50 cal Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) in center wing chord.

    Up to 4,000 lb of conventional drop bombs
    25 x 5" rockets

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    NA-123 - North American Aviation Design Proposal.

    XP-82 - Prototype Designation; two examples produced; fitted with Packard Merlin V-1650-23 and V-1650-25 series engines.

    XP-82A - Third Experimental Prototype Designation; fitted with 2 x Allison V-1710-119 series engines; fourth prototype cancelled.

    P-82B - Base Production Fighter Version; based on XP-82 prototypes; underwing bomb racks; fitted with 2 x Packard V-1650 engines of 1,380 horsepower each; 20 examples produced of the 500 originally ordered.

    P-82Z - 20 P-82B models set aside for testing.

    P-82C - Nightfighter; center nacelle housing SCR-720 radar system; production version designated as P-82F; P-82C designation never used in production models.

    P-82D - Night fighter ; based on a modified P-82B model; APS-4 series radar system; production models became the P-82G; P-82D designation never used in production models.

    P-82E - Escort All-Weather Day Fighter; fitted with counter-rotating Allison V-1710-143 and V-1710-145 liquid-cooled engines; first four reserved for testing as F-82A's; 100 examples produced.

    P-82F - Production Night fighter Version of the P-82C model with SCR-720 series radar system in a central located nacelle; 100 examples produced.

    P-82G - Production Nightfighter Version of the P-82D modelwith APS-4 series radar system; 50 examples produced.

    F-82H - Cold Weather Model; 15 conversion models.