|Manufacturer||Republic Aviation Company|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseDesigned by Alexander de Seversky and Alexander Kartveli of the Republic Aviation Company, the P-43 Lancer fighters were first delivered to the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. Although initially favored, rapid fighter development of the late 1930s and early 1940s led to these fighters becoming obsolete within a year. The final delivery would be made in Apr 1941. An attempt was planned to bring the P-43 design up to par by equipping the planned new fighters with 1,400-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2180-1 Twin Hornet engines, but ultimately this plan, tentatively named the P-44 Rocket project, was scrapped before a prototype was built.
ww2dbaseDespite the US Army's disinterest in the P-43 Lancer design, China, which had been at war since 1937, ordered enough to keep the production line open until 1942. Some of these China-bound fighters were assigned to the American Volunteer Group, also known as the "Flying Tigers". Although some of the pilots noted their good high-altitude performance and good maneuverability, others, including General Claire Chennault, were concerned about their lack of armor and the absence of self-sealing fuel tanks. These concerns led to the P-43 fighters being prime candidates to be cannibalized for parts when the workhorse C-47 transport aircraft, which used similar Pratt & Whitney engines, needed them.
ww2dbaseBetween 1940 and 1942, a total of 272 P-43 Lancer fighters were built. In the fall of 1942, they were officially redesignated RP-43, which indicated their obsolete status. In American and Australian service, they were largely relegated to training and photographic reconnaissance roles until about 1943. The Chinese Air Force retired its P-43 fighters in 1944.
Last Major Revision: Sep 2012
P-43 Lancer Timeline
|22 Mar 1939Â||The Republic Aviation Company's AP-4 prototype aircraft was destroyed by an accidental in-flight engine fire; the pilot was able to bail out to safety.|
|13 Sep 1940Â||The P-44 Rocket project, a plan to convert the P-43 Lancer fighter design into a rocket-propelled aircraft, was scrapped.|
|16 May 1941Â||The first P-43 Lancer fighter delivery was made to the United States Army.|
|28 Aug 1941Â||The final P-43 Lancer fighter delivery was made to the United States Army.|
|Machinery||One Pratt & Whitney R-1830-49 14-cyl air-cooled radial piston engine rated at 1,200hp|
|Armament||2x12.7mm cowl M2 Browning machine guns, 2x12.7mm wing M2 Browning machine guns|
|Wing Area||20.70 mÂ²|
|Weight, Empty||2,713 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||3,365 kg|
|Weight, Maximum||3,837 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||573 km/h|
|Rate of Climb||13.00 m/s|
|Service Ceiling||10,970 m|
|Range, Normal||1,046 km|
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