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North American P-51D Mustang

Serial No: 44-73415
Period: WWII
Reference: 1990/0692/A
Museum: Cosford
Location: War in the Air
On Display: No

The Mustang more than any other fighter wrested control of the skies over Germany from the Luftwaffe; combining a British designed engine and American airframe it was quite simply one of the best fighter aircraft built during the Second World War.

Following a visit by the British Purchasing Mission, North American started design of the Mustang fighter in April 1940. The prototype was completed in just a hundred days and made its first flight in September 1940. The aircraft was far superior in performance to any contemporary American fighter.

North American received a large contract from the British Government and the first Mustangs reached the United Kingdom in October 1941. The early aircraft were fitted with an American Allison engine and had an impressive low-altitude performance, but later Mustangs were fitted with American-built Rolls Royce Merlin engines and these provided an all-round improvement making the aircraft one of the outstanding fighters of the Second World War.

Over 2600 Mustangs were supplied to the Royal Air Force during the war and thirty one squadrons in Great Britain and the Mediterranean were equipped with the type. Most Mustangs disappeared very quickly from British service after the war’s end but a few remained until November 1946.

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