Warbird Tech 02 - Lockheed P-38 Lightning
English | 102 pages | 145MB | PDF
Few warplanes of the Second World War had such a distinctive planform as the P-38 Lightning, and few fighters caught public fancy the way the Lightning did. As the Army Air Forces' only twin-engine day fighter, the sleek Lockheed Lightning largely lived up to the promises its aesthetic shape and evocative name implied. When the Air Corps established the need for an interceptor in 1937, prevailing thinking said contemporary bombers would defend themselves in formations; escort duty was not a primary reason for the Lightning's inception. Ultimately, the need for American interceptors was overshadowed by the need for escort fighters, air-superiority fighters, and ground-attack aircraft, and the P-38 was evolved to meet the need. Contemporary with Bell's diminutive XP-39 Airacobra single-engine pursuit, the XP-38 used two Allison V-1710 engines in narrow booms to address an Air Corps-specified speed of 360 miles an hour at 20,000 feet. Both the P-38 and P-39 were designed as pursuits to meet Air Corps specifications. The Lockheed design addressed Air Corps Type Specification X-608, dated February 19, 1937; the P-39 responded to Air Corps Type Specification X-609, dated March 19 of that year.1 As first shown to the Air Corps in 1939, both the XP-38 and the XP-39 used turbo-supercharging to boost engine per-formance at altitude.