In 1940 a British Purchasing Commission team visited America to discuss a new fighter to replace the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. Within 117 days, in October1940, North Amenican had designed, built and flown a prototype aircraft with remarkably clean lines. Powered by a 1,150 hp Allison engine, the first Mustang's went to the RAF in 1942 and were only used in the lower altitude support role as the engine lacked power for higher altitude operations. Meanwhile, the Americans reconsidered and ordened the P-51 and P-51A, along with the A-36A Invader. The British Rolls Royce Merlin engine was licence built by Packard for the P51B/C models and this immediately made the Mustang into a superb all-round fighter. Large numbers were ordered for the USAF and RAF, where it's performance and long range capabilities, further enhanced with the fitment of underwing fuel tanks, made it an invaluable daylight bomber escort. The most successful Mustang was the P-51D, which introduced the all-round vision ‘bubble’ canopy and an uprated Merlin engine. Again, large numbers were ordered.
The P51D's began reaching squadrons early in 1944 and by the end of that year in the European theatre some 45 squadrons of the U.S. 8th. Air Force were so equipped. This airplane had even replaced most of the 8th. A.F. P-47 Thunderbolts. Many famous American aces gained their victories while flying Mustangs and by the end of the war in Europe, more Luftwaffe aircraft had fallen to the guns of Mustangs than to any other type. A total of 9603 P-5lD's and the almost identical P-5lK's had been built by 1945. In the post war period Mustangs payed an important part in the Korean War. Many other air forces around the world also used them.
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Content - Scale models: P51D Mustang Warbird - Stego