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North American F-82 Twin Mustang

US Army Air Force/US Air Force

 

 

Overview

    Although overshadowed by the more distinguished P-51 Mustang and by the newer jet fighters, the Twin Mustang was nevertheless an outstanding aircraft, especially in continuing the legacy of the P-51 Mustang. While the Mustang proved to be an effective fighter escort in the European theater, the USAAF needed an even longer-ranged fighter to escort B-29s into Japan. What they got was a radical design: two P-51 fuselages molded into one aircraft, similar in design to the P-38 Lightning. Two pilots were required to help lessen the amount of fatigue during the long missions. 500 were ordered, but the end of World War II brought a cancellation with only 20 built. The life expectancy of the Twin Mustang service was short; it was deployed as a stop-gap measure until the newer jet fighters were more readily available. However, when the Korean War broke out, the Twin Mustang was immediately placed into action. F and G model Twin Mustangs were outfitted with radars to operate as night fighters, replacing the P-61 Black Widow. In the Korean War, the F-82 had the pleasure of scoring the first air-to-air victory against a North Korean Yak-7. Interestingly, Twin Mustangs only served until late 1951- the F-51Mustangs served much longer until the end of the war. The E model and all versions thereafter, because of financial difficulties plaguing Rolls-Royce, reverted its engine back to the Allison instead of the Merlin. The H model were F and G model winter conversions for Alaska. This article would not have been possible without Joe Baughter's website on the F-82 Twin Mustang. USAF Museum photo.

 

F-82B Twin Mustang Specifications

Primary function: long-range escort fighter
Manufacturer:
North American Aircraft Co.
Power plant:
two Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1560-19/21piston engines
Horsepower:
1,860 horsepower each engine
Length: 
38.1 feet (11.4 meters)
Height: 
13.8 feet (4.1 meters)
Wingspan: 
51.25 feet (15.4 meters)
Speed: 
482 miles per hour (at 25,100 feet)
Range: 
1,390 miles (with no external drop tanks or ordnance)
Ceiling: 
41,600 feet (12,480 meters)
Maximum takeoff weight: 
22,000 pounds (991.4 kilograms)
Armament: 
six .50 caliber machine guns and 25 5 inch rockets, 4,000 pounds of bombs, or additional central gun pod (eight .50 calibers)
Crew:
two (pilot and co-pilot)
Deployment date:
1945
Retirement date: 
1953 (all models)
Unit cost: 
$228,000

 

F-82E Twin Mustang Specifications

Primary function: long-range escort fighter
Manufacturer:
North American Aircraft Co.
Power plant:
two Allison V-1710-143/145 piston engines 
Horsepower:
1,800 horsepower each
Length: 
38.1 feet (11.4 meters)
Height: 
13.8 feet (4.1 meters)
Wingspan: 
51.25 feet (15.4 meters)
Speed: 
390 miles per hour (at 20,000 feet)
Range: 
2,504 miles (with no external drop tanks or ordnance)
Ceiling: 
40,000 feet (12,000 meters)
Maximum takeoff weight: 
24,864 pounds (11,188.8 kilograms)
Armament: 
N/A (similar to F-82B)
Crew:
two (pilot and co-pilot)
Deployment date:
1947
Retirement date: 
1953 (all models)
Unit cost: 
N/A