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STRANGE F-82 TWIN MUSTANG - TWO BODIES ATTACHED! LAST PISTON-ENGINE FIGHTER

The North American F-82 Twin Mustang was the last American piston-engine fighter ordered into production by the United States Air Force. Based on the P-51 Mustang, the F-82 was originally designed as a long-range escort fighter in World War II; however, the war ended well before the first production units were operational, so its postwar role changed to that of night-fighting. Radar-equipped F-82s were used extensively by the Air Defense Command as replacements for the Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter. During the Korean War, Japan-based F-82s were among the first USAF aircraft to operate over Korea. The first three North Korean aircraft destroyed by U.S. forces were shot down by F-82s, the first being a North-Korean Yak-11 downed over Gimpo by the USAF 68th Fighter Squadron.

Initially intended as a very long-range (VLR) escort fighter, the F-82 was designed to escort Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers on missions exceeding 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from the Solomons or Philippines to Tokyo, missions beyond the range of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and conventional P-51 Mustangs.

Operational history

The Twin Mustang was developed at the end of the prop-driven fighter era and at the dawn of the jet age. Its designed role as a long-range fighter escort was eliminated by the atomic bombing of Japan and the sudden end of World War II. With the rapid draw-down of the armed forces after the war, the newly established United States Air Force had little money for new prop-driven aircraft, especially since jets, such as the Messerschmitt Me 262 and other Luftwaffe fighters, had been faster than P-51 Mustangs in the skies of Germany in late 1944. The completed airframes (less engines) of the P-82 pre-production aircraft already manufactured by North American went into storage, with an uncertain future.
However, during the 1947 Soviet Aviation Day display at Tushino Airport, a surprise appearance was put in by three four-engined long-range strategic bombers. They were early examples of the Tupolev Tu-4, which was a bolt-for-bolt copy of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, three examples of which had been interned in the Soviet Union after having been forced to land there during bombing raids against Japan. Since the USSR was expected soon to have nuclear weapons, the appearance of the Soviet Tu-4 was a shock to U.S. military planners, since it meant that the U.S. mainland might soon be vulnerable to nuclear attack from the air.
Until jet interceptors could be developed and put into service, the Twin Mustangs already built were seen as an interim solution to SAC's fighter escort mission for its strategic bomber force and also as an all-weather air defense interceptor.
Early attempts to develop jet-powered all-weather fighters ran into a series of snags and delays. The Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk had been ordered in December 1945, but it ran into developmental difficulties and the project was eventually totally abandoned in October 1948. The Northrop P-89 Scorpion was deemed to have greater promise, but it too ran into teething troubles and did not show promise of entering service until 1952 at the earliest. Due to the lack of any suitable jet-powered replacement, the wartime Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter was forced into this role, and in order to help fill in the gap until the Scorpion could be available, night fighter adaptations of the piston-engined North American P-82 Twin Mustang were developed and deployed.
On 11 June 1948, the newly formed United States Air Force eliminated the P-for-pursuit category and replaced it with F-for-fighter. Subsequently, all P-82s were re-designated F-82.
 

STRANGE F-82 TWIN MUSTANG - TWO BODIES ATTACHED! LAST PISTON-ENGINE FIGHTER






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