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  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft

    The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, nicknamed the Jug, proved itself an unsung hero of World War 2 where it fought across all major theaters of the conflict.

     Updated: 6/12/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    While much of the romance of World War 2 dogfighting often heads in the direction of the United States Army Air Forces' (USAAF) North American P-51 "Mustang" or the Vought F4U "Corsair", the Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt" (affectionately nicknamed "the Jug") stands second to none when considering her global reach, her contributions to the air and ground war (in all theaters), and the fact that she was produced more than any other American fighter of the war.

    Though not too pretty to look at, the Thunderbolt had "it" where it counted - through her stressed metal skin, robust airframe and powerful engine. Her weight never made her a prominent close-up dogfighting champion but this drawback allowed her to excel in "dive and zoom" attacks against enemy fighters while proving her equally adept at ground strikes accomplished through the battery of eight heavy machine guns, 5-inch rockets and conventional bombs. In the end, this unsung hero of World War 2 proved that she played second fiddle to no one - regardless how sexy a design she was up against. The P-47 proved such a fearsome foe that Axis infantrymen on the ground dreaded the day they would have to encounter the "Fatty from Farmingdale" coming out of the skies with her eight machine guns ablaze. The Thunderbolt served in every major combat theater of World War 2.

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    Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Republic Aviation Corporation - USA
    Production Total: 15,660

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 36.15 feet (11.02 meters)
    Width: 40.68 feet (12.40 meters)
    Height: 14.67 feet (4.47 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 9,949 lb (4,513 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 17,500 lb (7,938 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59 "Double-Wasp" 18-cylinder radial piston engine developing 2,535 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 433 mph (697 kph; 376 knots)
    Maximum Range: 449 miles (722 km)
    Service Ceiling: 40,994 feet (12,495 meters; 7.76 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 3,200 feet-per-minute (975 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    8 x .50 caliber (12.7mm) Browning M2 air-cooled heavy machine guns (four to a wing); ammunition counts vary depending on combat load and model focus.

    10 x 5-inch (127mm) Air-to-Surface HVARRockets
    2 x 1,000lb bombs underwing
    3 x drop tanks underwing (x2) and fuselage centerline.

    Provision for bomb load or drop tanks to a maximum of 2,500lbs (1,134kg).

    Global Operators / Customers

    Bolivia; Brazil; Chile; Columbia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; France; Nazi Germany (captured); Honduras; Iran; Kingdom of Italy; Mexico; Nicaragua; Peru; Philippines; Portugal; Soviet Union; Taiwan; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Venezuela; Yugoslavia

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XP-47 - Fully Combat Furnished Prototype Interceptor with little in common with the final Thunderbolt prototype.

    XP-47A - Experimental Prototype sans armament and radio; based on the XP-47; little in common with final Thunderbolt prototype.

    XP-47B - Official Thunderbolt Prototype featuring XR-2800 radial generating 1,850hp.

    P-47B - Initial Limited Production Model based on XP-47B prototype; R-2800-21 radial engine of 2,000 horsepower; 171 examples produced.

    RP-47B - Single "One-Off" Dedicated Reconnaissance Development based on the P-47B.

    P-47C - Improved B-model with lengthened fuselage; provision for droppable belly fuel tank or bomb; 30-gallon tank fitted for water injection boost (R-2800-59-engined models); first 112 fitted with R-2800-21 engines of 2,000 horsepower, later with R-2800-59 of 2,300 horsepower with WEP; 602 examples produced in all.

    P-47D - R-2800-21W (2,300hp) or R-2800-59W (2,535hp) water-injected radial powerplants; multi-ply tires; provision for 1,000lbs underwings OR 10 x 5-inch HVAR rockets (5 to a wing); increased MTOW capacity; later production models fitted with "bubble" canopy on a lowered fuselage spine to improve rearward vision; 12,602 examples produced.

    P-47D-RE - Razorback P-47D; produced in Blocks 1-22; 3,963 examples produced.

    P-47D-RE - Bubby Canopy P-47D; produced in Blocks 25-30; 2,546 examples produced.

    P-47D-RA - P-47D models produced at Evansville, Indiana plant; Blocks 2-23; 2,350 examples produced.

    P-47D-RA - P-47D with bubble canopy produced at Evansville, Indiana plant; Blocks 26-40; 3,743 examples produced.

    XP-47E - A single P-47B (171st product) fitted with a hinged canopy, Hamilton Standard propeller and pressurized cockpit; used in trialing the R-2800-59 radial engine.

    XP-47F - One-Off P-47B model used in laminar air flow tests; fitted with new wings for process; lost to accident on October 14th, 1943.

    P-47G-CU - Curtiss Wright-produced P-47D models at Buffalo, New York; 354 examples.

    XP-47H - Fitting the Allison XI-2220-1 16-cylinder, inverted-vee, liquid-cooled engine of 2,300/2,500 horsepower; 2 examples converted from P-47D-15s sans armament.

    XP-47J - Initially devised for fitting an R-2800-61 engine with contra-rotating propeller; eventually fitting R-2800-57 of 2,800 horsepower; 6 x .50 caliber machine guns in wings.

    XP-47K - P-47D fitted with Hawker Typhoon bubble canopy and cut-down rear fuselage; increase fuel capacity and range; wing testbed for systems eventually fitted to the P-47N.

    P-47L - A one-off conversion of a P-47D-20.

    YP-47M - Modified P-47D model with dive brakes.

    P-47M - Speedster Variant; based on the P-47D-30 model; fitting the R-2800-57(C) engine of 2,800 horsepower; used in V-1 interception missions; 130 examples produced; implementation of dive brakes.

    XP-47N - Improved D-model with new wings; single example.

    P-47N-RE - Definitive Thunderbolt; long-range capability; fitting R-2800-57(C) of 2,800 horsepower as well as -73 and -77 engine model series; underwing hardpoints for 10 x 5-inch HVAR rockets; wings lengthened out by 18 more inches; clipped wing tips to improve roll; increased MTOW (20,700lbs loaded); limited to Pacific Theater; 1,816 examples produced.

    P-47N-RA - 149 examples produced; a further 5,934 orders cancelled after VJ-Day.

    F-47 - USAF Redesignation of P-47 systems beginning in 1948.

    Thunderbolt Mk I - British designation for P-47B model.

    Thunderbolt Mk II - British designation for P-47D model.