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P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
Information
Title P-51 Mustang
Name P-51 Mustang
Role Fighter
National Origin United States
First Flight 26 October 1940
Introduction 1942
Status Retired from military service 1984, still in civil use
Primary Users -
Number Built 16,766+
Program Cost
Unit Cost US$50,985 in 1945 ($616,360 in current value)

The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was a long-range single-seat World War II fighter aircraft. Designed and built in just 117 days, the Mustang first flew in Royal Air Force (RAF) service as a fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft before conversion to a bomber escort, employed in raids over Germany, helping ensure Allied air superiority from early 1944.[2] The P-51 was in service with Allied air forces in Europe and also saw limited service against the Japanese in the Pacific War. The Mustang began the Korean War as the United Nations' main fighter, but was relegated to a ground attack role when superseded by jet fighters early in the conflict. Nevertheless, it remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. As well as being economical to produce, the Mustang was a fast, well-made, and highly durable aircraft. The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650, a two-stage two-speed supercharged version of the legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, and was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns. After World War II and the Korean War, many Mustangs were converted for civilian use, especially air racing. The Mustang's reputation was such that, in the mid-1960s, Ford Motor Company's Designer John Najjar proposed a new youth-oriented coupe automobile be named after the fighter.

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