Chuck Hawks writes about the best fighter planes of World War II.
U.S. Army Air Force Fighter Planes of World War II
Generally considered the best Japanese fighter of the war and equal or superior to the best Allied fighters, the Ki-84 Hayate (Hurricane or Storm) was Nakajima Hikoki KK's response to a set of specifications promulgated early in 1942 by the Imperial Japanese Army for a fast, long range, multi-purpose fighter to replace the increasing obsolescent Ki-43 and the later Ki-44. A top speed of 640-680 km/hr (398-420 mph) was desired, along with substantial endurance, a stronger airframe, pilot armor, self-sealing fuel tanks and a heavy armament of 2-20mm cannons and 2-.50 caliber machine guns. The power plant was to be the Nakajima Ha-45 19-cylinder radial engine, expected to develop around 1,800 HP.
from the start of the development of airplanes for use in war, ..
Lockheed produced dive flap kits to retro-fit to planes in thefield, but it was not until they began producing the P-38J-25-LOmodel that dive flaps were incorporated in the new aircraft comingoff the assembly line. A brief description of four of the major P-38 combat models follows.
A summary of The War in the Air ..
The British Mosquito wasbuilt in numbers and had a significant impact on the war, but wasmost famous as a ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft, ratherthan as an air superiority fighter; ditto the Typhoon. Neither ofthose fine planes will be dealt with here.
All that changed during the course of World War I
The next version, the "G" or Gustav, first appeared at the end of 1942. This was to became the most numerous ME 109 model of all, produced in many variations, but the basic design was starting to show its age. Performance was again up (max. speed slightly over 400 m.p.h. at altitude), but the addition of bigger machine guns and their ammunition, as well as other various improvements for which the airframe was not designed, caused bulges to appear in unlikely places on the cowling of the aircraft (hence its slang name "the bulge"). Power was provided by a bored out DB 601 called the DB 605 and this engine, which had some early reliability problems, was rated at 1,475 hp at takeoff. The Gustav was used on all fronts for the rest of the war, although later models did appear. Not only an air superiority fighter, the Gustav also performed ground attack, bomber destroyer and photo recon missions.