Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

A picture of the Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

The P-47 Thunderbolt was one of the most successful American fighters of World War II.  The initial concept for the Thunderbolt was as a light weight interceptor, but the aircraft that eventually came out of the Republic factories was the largest and heaviest single-seat fighter ever accepted by the Army Air Forces.

The Thunderbolt made its debut as a long-range escort fighter, but the plane really made its name as a fighter-bomber.  The P-47's heavy armor and 8 machine gun armament made it perfect for strafing and rocket attacks near the front lines. 

The P-47D is the most built version of the Thunderbolt with over 12,000 constructed.  Unusually, the P-47D underwent a major design change mid-way through the production run without a corresponding change in the letter designation.  The early D models had a high rear deck that came up behind the pilot’s head.  This caused a significant blind spot to the rear.  In late 1943, the design was modified to lower the rear deck and incorporate a bubble canopy that effectively eliminated the blind spot.

Wingspan

40 ft 9 in.

Length

36 ft 1 in.

Height

14 ft 2 in.

Weight

14,925 lbs (loaded)

Maximum Speed

433 MPH

Service Ceiling

42,000 ft

Range

550 miles

Engine

One Wright R-2800-21 radial with 2,000 horsepower

Crew

1

Manufacturer
Republic

Markings
384th Fighter Group, 342nd Fighter Squadron, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 1943

Designation
P-47D "Frankie"

Serial Number
42-8130

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