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P-61B Black Widow Specs

First operational in July 1944, the P-61 Black Widow is the first purposely designed nightfighter in the world. Its design was such a success that in its first mission as a nightfighter it destroyed 4 German bombers. This heavy duty fighter packed a powerful punch with a wide variety of weapons. It had 4 ,50 caliber machine guns, 4, 20 mm cannons, and upto 6,400 lbs of bombs. This massive fighter, 49 feet long and a max take off weight of 36,200 lbs, also had the ability to destroy night raiding V1 bombs over London.

The P-61 reached its pinnacle with the C model. It had an increased horsepower withe the R-2800-73 with upto 2800 hp. However this aircraft required a 3 mile long runway and a max take off weight of 40,000 lbs. This mighty line of nighfighters lead the military to more modern armaments and technology that would make its way to the 1st generation of jet fighters.

Specs for the P-61B

Function:     Nightfighter
Contractor:     Northrop
Power Plant:     2 P & W R-2800-65 Double Wasp of 2,000 hp each
Length:     49 ft 7 in
Height:     14 ft. 8 in.
Max Weight:     36,200 lbs loaded
Max Speed:     339 mph
Range:     1,350 miles
Armament:     4 50 cal machine guns, 4 20 mm cannons, and up to 6,400 lbs of bombs
Deployment Date:     1943