|STANDARD DATA: Seats 1. Gross wt. 12,500. Empty wt. 9,900. Fuel capacity 270-370. Engine 2,300-hp Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 440. Cruise mph 350. Landing mph 100. Initial climb rate 2,500. Range 650. Ceiling 40,000.
The Thunderbolt had a reputation as the toughest, heaviest single-engine fighter used in World War II. It could take punishment like no other and packed a battery of eight .50-caliber machine guns along with a greater load of armament than any other fighter in its day. In the air, the P-47 had an outstanding record. For every one shot down, it destroyed five enemy aircraft. Because its size and rugged construction allowed it to survive heavy battle damage, all leading Thunderbolt aces survived the war. The product of several years of development, the P-47 first flew in May 1941 and entered production the following year. It was initially employed chiefly for long-range fighter sweeps and escort duty, but later models also saw action as fighterbombers. More P-47s were produced than any other Army Air Force fighter, with the final total numbering 15,600.