Military Review

Northrop P-61 Black Widow: The First American Specialized Night Fighter

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The Northrop P-61 Black Widow (Black Widow) is an American heavy night fighter designed and produced during the Second World War. In addition to its rather unusual appearance and outstanding size for a fighter, this aircraft was the first American fighter that was specifically designed for night operations. The first flight of the aircraft took place 26 May 1942 of the year, and the operation of the Black Widow continued until the 1952 of the year. In total, during the serial production, Northrop enterprises produced 706 aircraft of this type: X-NUMX fighters Р-215А, 61 - Р-450В and 61 - Р-41С.


At the very beginning of World War II, the United States simply did not have night fighters. This was mainly due to the late start of the development of such aircraft and fighter guidance radars. The creation of specialized night airplanes stalled, since there was no experience in their combat use. Unlike the European theater of operations, the air war in the Pacific and in China was conducted mainly during the day and in good weather, at night the Japanese aviation showed no activity. In turn, in Europe, after the failure of the daytime raids of the Luftwaffe on Britain, the Germans switched to night raids.

Despite this, the US military insisted on the need to have armed air forces specialized night fighter-interceptors, predicting a sharp increase in the activity of the Japanese Air Force at night. But on the specific aircraft views of the military diverged. Some advocated the use of British night fighters Bristol Beaufighter and De Havilland Mosquito, which had already been tested in combat, while others were in favor of their own American project, the Northrop P-61 night fighter. In the end, the American command stopped on the Northrop P-61 Black Widow fighter, before its mass production in the US Air Force there were only a limited number of “early-ridden” night fighters - adapted for the nightly action of the “Listing” versions of the P-38M and the specialized version bomber A-20 "Havok". These combat aircraft, with the exception of a small number of “experimental” cases, were used only in the United States for training and training crews.


YP-61 - pre-production series during a test flight, photo: waralbum.ru


As a result, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the only American combat aircraft produced during the Second World War, which was originally developed exclusively as a specialized night fighter. In addition, the Northrop P-61 became the heaviest and largest fighter that entered service with the USAAF during World War II. This fighter for the first time took part in the fighting in the summer of 1944, in the southern Pacific, and after the end of hostilities remained the standard USAAF night fighter until 1952, when the operation of this aircraft was discontinued.

The P-61 night fighter was developed by a group of engineers led by designer John Nortrop, the aircraft was actively developed since the summer of 1940, while Northrop itself was founded only in August of 1939. Already 10 January 1941, the US military signed a contract with the company to build 10 night fighters, which received the army designation XP-61. The contract for the first prototypes was already 10 March 1941, followed by a contract for the production of 13 YP-61 fighter jets for carrying out field tests and one more machine for static tests.

Already 24 December 1941, even before the first prototype of the new aircraft was manufactured, Northrop signed a contract for the production of the X-NUMX serial P-100 fighter aircraft and their supply with the necessary number of spare parts. 61 January 17, the military ordered another 1942 aircraft, and already 50 February order was increased by 12 aircraft, 410 of which was planned to deliver the Royal British Air Force in the framework of the lend-lease agreement. Subsequently, the order for the RAF was canceled, and the order in the interests of the US Air Force was increased to 50 aircraft.


P-61A from the 419-th night fighter squadron


In the process of creating the first prototype XP-61, due to various changes in its design, the take-off weight of the aircraft was constantly increasing. By the time the fighter was ready, its dry weight was already 10 150 kg, and the takeoff weight reached 13 460 kg. Taxiing tests of the new night fighter began almost immediately after the assembly of the first aircraft. And already on May 26, 1942, the first XP-61 prototype, equipped with two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-25 Double Wasp radial engines, took to the skies for the first time, the car was lifted into the air by Northrop test pilot Vance Brice. The first flight lasted only 15 minutes, while the pilot already noted that the plane was perfectly controlled.

The second XP-61 flight prototype was ready on November 18 of the year 1942. From the very beginning, this aircraft was painted in a brilliant black color, which helped give the night fighter its name - Black Widow, the Black Widow - in honor of the spider widespread in North and South America. It is worth noting that covering the aircraft with black paint was not someone's whim. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology specially created paint, which was supposed to make the night fighter invisible when the plane hit the enemy's searchlights. The best paint for this purpose turned out to be black glossy, which was invisible in 80 as a percentage of the searchlight rays.

The design of the aircraft Northrop P-61 Black Widow

The P-61 Black Widow night fighter was an all-metal cantilever midwing plane, which was built on a two-boom scheme. The power plant of the aircraft included two powerful piston twin-row radial Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, the power of which reached 2x2250 hp. The engine nacelles went into the tail booms, the keels were made in one piece with the booms and stabilizers located between the keels. The fighter's unique two-boom design allowed its crew to be accommodated in a large gondola, which was installed on the center section. The landing gear of the aircraft is tricycle, retractable, with a nose pillar.

The crew of the night fighter consisted of three people - the pilot, the gunner and the radar operator. In the front two-seat cockpit were located the workplaces of the pilot and radar operator, who sat behind him and higher, as on modern attack helicopters. Workplace shooter located in the rear fuselage gondola. Depending on the presence or absence of an upper turret with four 12,7-mm machine guns, the shooter could have been activated or, on the contrary, excluded from the crew. Often planes flew, having on board two crew members. At the same time, in some flights, even without the upper turret, the shooter was included in the crew, but as an air observer.

Northrop P-61 Black Widow: The First American Specialized Night Fighter

The scheme of the fighter Northrop P-61 Black Widow


A distinctive feature of the aircraft was that it was originally designed for use as a night fighter (as opposed to numerous modifications of conventional mass-produced vehicles used by the warring parties), equipped with on-board radar and various electronic instruments. The aircraft was applied airborne radar interception system (Airborne Interception - AI). The development of the radar for the P-61 fighter was carried out under the supervision of the National Research and Protection Committee, which created the radar laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The preliminary development of the radar, designated AI-10 (military designation SCR-520), was completed by June 18 1941. It was created on the basis of the British aircraft centimeter range.

The SCR-520A radar had a search radio transmitter located in the nose of the fighter, with a range of up to five miles. Also, this radar could be used as a side beacon, provide navigation assistance and be used for action in conjunction as an “friend-foe” answering machine. The radar operator SCR-520 in the P-61 night fighter “Black Widow” determined the air target and direction to it, and the pilot directed the plane to the target using instruments that were located in the center of its dashboard. Black Widow used airborne radar only to determine the course of interception of the air target and the subsequent pursuit of the enemy aircraft. Having found the target and approached it at a distance sufficient for an attack, the pilot used an ordinary optical sight.

Essentially, the Black Widow was a heavy and rather large aircraft that was extremely complex in terms of design. At the same time, outwardly the plane, to put it mildly, looked strange and seemed very large to the fighter. For example, the area of ​​its wing was 61,53 m 2, for a minute it is more than that of the heavy American all-weather X-NUMX fighter of the F-4 generation. The cockpit of the P-15 Black Widow night fighter was more spacious than that of many medium bombers of that time.


Northrop P-61 Black Widow 415 th night fighter squadron at Van airport in France, photo: waralbum.ru


Armament fighter was really impressive. At the bottom of the fuselage gondola was a battery of four aircraft automatic 20-mm guns. In addition to this, on many aircraft there was a rotating upper turret on four large-caliber 12,7-mm machine guns. The aircraft was a real "flying anti-aircraft battery", which was quite effective. From the salvo of this fighter could not resist any of the enemy aircraft. However, as the Black Widow exploited, the upper fuselage turret began to be abandoned, since the air targets were guaranteed to be hit by a volley of four guns. In addition, the turret itself weighed 745 kg, so its dismantling provided the aircraft with a significant gain in speed and maneuverability. In addition, when turning the turret, such an effect as a fighter's tail was often occurring. Sometimes because of this effect, the turret was simply fixed in the front position, it was impossible to rotate it.

The features of the aircraft could be attributed, and unusually powerful flaps. John Northrop, better than many aircraft designers, understood how important the lift coefficient for an aircraft was, so its night fighter had flaps almost throughout its wing span. Regular ailerons were small, but four sections of differential spoilers on each of the consoles took part in the roll control. This design solution provided the Black Widow with excellent maneuverability, especially taking into account the size and weight of the fighter. Of course, in daytime combat, neither this nor the powerful weapons, could have saved the plane from the German FW-190 fighter, but in the night sky P-61 was superior in maneuverability to any twin-engine aircraft of its time.

The plane was built in three large series. The first was the P-61A version, a total of 215 fighters released. The first 45 machines received engines R-2800-10, the subsequent - R-2800-65. The first 38 aircraft were released with the top machine-gun turret, the rest without. At the same time, the turret was installed on some P-61A aircraft. The second series - fighters P-61B, released 450 aircraft. This model was notable for minor improvements in the design, most of them had a top machine gun turret, as well as four underwing pylons for the suspension of air-to-surface weapons. The difference was also more powerful and sophisticated airborne radar SCR-720C. The third series - fighters P-61C, released 41 aircraft at the very end of the war. Originally it was planned to build a series of 476 aircraft, but these plans were canceled. The aircraft differed in the installation of more powerful R-2800-73 engines with CH-5 turbo-compressors, which developed the maximum power of the 2800 hp. each. With these motors, the maximum speed of the fighter increased to 692 km / h.


American heavy night fighter P-61C "Black Widow" at the airport, photo: waralbum.ru

Combat use of "Black Widow"

In total, 14 squadrons of night fighters armed with P-61 Black Widow aircraft took part in battles in all theaters of war. These squadrons were part of the 5 th, 7 th, 9 th, 13 th and 14 th air armies. The first squadron, which was reequipped with new aircraft, was the 6-th night fighter squadron (6 NFS), which was part of the 7-th Air Army. She received the new 1 aircraft in May 1944, at that time she was based in John Rogers Field in the Hawaiian Islands. Since September 1944, the aircraft of this squadron took part in the fighting over Saipan and Iwo Jima.

6 NFS pilots won the first night victory on 30 June 1944 of the year. On this day, during a night flight, the squadron aircraft found a group aerial target, which was then identified as a Japanese Mitsubishi G4M Betty bomber, accompanied by a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter. The crew of the American aircraft from the first approach achieved hits in the left engine of the bomber, which fell into the sea and exploded near Saipan. In this case, the escort fighter Mitsubishi A6M Zero failed to detect an American plane. Total crews 6 th night fighter squadron won until the end of the Second World War 15 night victories. One of the main missions of the Black Widows in this theater was to protect the bases of the B-29 strategic bombers on Saipan against enemy night raids. They also protected damaged B-29 bombers returning from combat missions to Japan from attacks.

The first victory at the European theater of war fighters P-61 Black Widow won in the night from 15 on July 16 1944 of the year. The crew of the 422 NFS shot down a German V-1 projectile that flew towards the English Channel. The V-1 was able to shoot down 280 meters from 20-mm guns from a distance of about a meter. Hit in the power plant of the projectile led to the fact that he first entered a steep dive, and then exploded over the English Channel. Later on, night fighters of this type were widely used against German projectiles. At the same time, since the V-1 was a bit faster than American fighters, they sometimes had to go into a small dive before attacking.


Three P-61 Black Widow fighters in the sky over France, photo: waralbum.ru


In total, during the 1944-1945 years, in fact, the combat use of fighters fit in the calendar year, the crews of the "Widows" shot down 127 enemy planes and 18 V-1 projectiles. Unlike other American fighter type P-51 Mustang or P-47 Thunderbolt, P-61 Black Widow could not boast an impressive number of air victories. But this was his explanation, by the time the aircraft began operating, the Allies already had overwhelming air superiority on all fronts, and the number of enemy aircraft participating in night flights was very limited, especially over the Pacific Ocean.

At the same time, the activity of the Luftwaffe in Europe in the dark remained almost until the end of World War II. Therefore, in this theater, the P-61 Black Widow aircraft were used in the role for which they were designed - as night fighters. But in the Pacific, the situation has evolved differently. The Japanese practically did not fly at night. Therefore, the headquarters of the 5 and 13 air armies decided to retarget their night fighters to night attacks of enemy ground targets and direct fire support from the US Army and Marine Corps. The powerful cannon armament of the P-61 Black Widow fighter jets, which was concentrated in the center of mass of the aircraft, made it possible with high accuracy and very effectively to hit ground targets. Additionally, under the wings of the aircraft could be installed pylons for the suspension of bombs, unguided rockets and tanks with napalm, which only complemented the already monstrous power of the onboard volley of this “flying battery”. So in the spring and summer of 1945, the Black Widow night fighters were actively used in the Philippines to support ground forces, mainly attacking targets during the daytime hours.

Flight specifications: Northrop P-61 Black Widow (P-61B):
Overall dimensions: length - 15,11 m, height - 4,47 m, wing span - 20,12 m, wing area - 61,53 m2.
Empty weight - 10 637 kg.
Maximum take-off weight - 16 420 kg.
The power plant consists of two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-65W "Double Wasp" radial engines with a capacity of 2x2250 hp.
The maximum flight speed is 589 km / h (at a height of 6095 m).
Cruising flight speed - 428 km / h.
Rate of climb - 12,9 m / s.
Combat radius - 982 km.
Ferry range (with PTB) - 3060 km.
Practical ceiling - 10 600 m.
Armament: 4 × 20 mm cannon Hispano AN / M2 (200 projectiles per barrel) and 4x12,7 mm M2 Browning machine gun (560 ammunition per barrel).
Crew - 3 man (pilot, gunner, radar operator).

Information sources:
http://www.airwar.ru
http://www.airpages.ru/us/p61bp.shtml
http://pro-samolet.ru/samolet-usa/63-istrebiteli/411-usa-istrebitel-northrop-p-61-black-widow
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  1. merkava-2bet
    merkava-2bet 1 December 2018 09: 41
    +9
    For its time, it was a very advanced machine, an interceptor. Thank you.
    1. Avior
      Avior 1 December 2018 11: 54
      +4
      namely interceptor.
      At the word fighter, a maneuverable battle immediately comes to mind, but he was clearly not suitable for this.
      1. irazum
        irazum 2 December 2018 04: 18
        +2
        This is an INTERCEPTOR, he does not need to conduct a "maneuverable battle", he must "see" the enemy and use all the weapons on board.
    2. vadim dok
      vadim dok 1 December 2018 18: 12
      +2
      The Germans also had night fighter-interceptors with radar!
      1. also clean
        also clean 1 December 2018 18: 39
        +2
        Yes - Heinkel He-219 "Uhu." Built somewhere 268 pieces in 3 years
        1. VictorZhivilov
          VictorZhivilov 1 December 2018 23: 01
          +3
          Heinkel He-219 "Uhu". Built somewhere 268 pieces in 3 years

          There was also Ta-154 ... and it was equipped with the following equipment ...
          "The standard set of aircraft radio equipment included a communication ultra-short-wave radio station FuG16ZY from Lorenz with a radio compass unit ZVG16, identification equipment" friend or foe "FuG25a Erstling from GEM A with a reception range of up to 100 km for interaction with air defense radar of the Wurzburg type, radio altimeter from FuG101a company Lorenz's FuB12F landings and Telefunken's PeilG6 radio navigation system with APZ A-6 radio compass. The communication radio station used a tether antenna and a Mogape-type antenna, ZVG16 radio compass - a ring loop antenna under the rear fuselage, FuG25a equipment - fuselage whip antenna - 101 antennas under the wing, and APZ A-2 - a flat star-shaped multi-beam antenna under a transparent round cover on top of the fuselage.The types of radars used are FuG6 C-212, FuG1O SN-22 or FuG2 Neptun. catching signals emitted by a British radar mbarding sight H218S. Radar antenna types: Matrazen with four or one holder for FuG 350, Hirschgewein for FuG 2, 212 whip antennas on the wing for FuG 220. "Source: http://www.airwar.ru/enc/fww4/ta218.html

          And a lot of things ...
          1. also clean
            also clean 2 December 2018 01: 11
            0
            TA-154 was serially built for no more than six months. Then (in August 1944) the Germans shut down the production of this "semi-wooden misunderstanding". Although night interceptors were badly needed
          2. Mikhail Matyugin
            Mikhail Matyugin 2 December 2018 17: 42
            +2
            Quote: VictorZhivilov
            The standard set of aircraft radio equipment included a Lorenz communications ultra-short-wave radio station FuG16ZY with a ZVG16 radio compass, FuG25a Erstling identification equipment from GEM A with a reception range of up to 100 km for interaction with an air defense radar such as Wurzburg, a FuG101a blind alignment radio altimeter FuB12F from Lorenz and PeilG6 radio navigation system from Telefunken with APZ A-6 radio compass. The communication radio station used a cable antenna and a Mogape-type antenna, the ZVG16 radio compass - a circular loop antenna under the rear fuselage, FuG25a equipment - a whip antenna under the fuselage, FuG101а altimeter - 2 circular antennas under the wing, and APZ A-6 - a flat star-shaped multi-beam antenna under the fuselage cover on top of the fuselage. The types of radars used are FuG212 C-1, FuG22O SN-2 or FuG218 Neptun. FuG350 Naxos Z receivers may have been installed on individual vehicles, capturing signals emitted by the British H2S bomber sight. Radar antenna types: Matrazen with four or one holder for FuG 212, Hirschgewein for FuG 220, 4 whip antennas on the wing for FuG 218. "

            It is certainly interesting, but the equipment of the "Owl" was no less impressive.
    3. venik
      venik 1 December 2018 23: 27
      +6
      Quote: merkava-2bet
      For its time, it was a very advanced machine, an interceptor. Thank you.

      ==========
      That's for sure! Here are some interesting pictures that allow you to see the "instrumentation of the car:
      SCR-720 radar (apparently in modification "A")


      The cockpit (in the center of the dashboard should be placed radar indicator (duplicate):


      The radar operator's cab (the screen is covered with a rubber tube). It is curious, but in the "working position" the operator had to turn "backwards" (that is, to the pilot), since rather bulky radar control panels had to be mounted on the rear wall of the operator's cabin.


      The rear cockpit of the air gunner is also clogged with remote control devices of the machine gun turret:
      1. Dooplet11
        Dooplet11 3 December 2018 10: 53
        0
        Please note: the pilot does not have a collimator rifle scope as such.
  2. irazum
    irazum 1 December 2018 11: 35
    +1
    Thank you for the article! Pts. interesting. The plane, indeed, was revolutionary for its time. It was not for nothing that the Americans did not supply them to their closest allies (Britts), although the Britons had the entire line of American combat aircraft, with the exception of the aforementioned P-61. and Lightning P-38.
    1. Cherry Nine
      Cherry Nine 1 December 2018 12: 52
      +5
      Quote: irazum
      The plane, indeed, was, for its time, revolutionary.

      By the 42nd year, the concept of a night fighter was already worked out well. The article says this.

      The article also says that a specialized night fighter was, in many ways, an empty throwing of money (and man-hours of engineers). There was practically no work on a specialty for him, so an expensive (4 Mustang, almost Fortress) miracle of technology was involved for an attack.
      Quote: irazum
      No wonder the Americans didn’t deliver them to their closest allies (the Britons)

      Limes had their own, very good ones.
      Quote: aristok
      not enough data on the number of combat losses.

      There is practically no information about this. Quite possible - fighting was not, given the specifics of the aircraft.
    2. Putin supporter
      Putin supporter 2 December 2018 02: 25
      0
      Quote: irazum
      Thank you for the article! Pts. interesting. The plane, indeed, was revolutionary for its time. It was not for nothing that the Americans did not supply them to their closest allies (Britts), although the Britons had the entire line of American combat aircraft, with the exception of the aforementioned P-61. and Lightning P-38.

      - By 44, the British did not need them, they had a Mosquito.
      P-38, like the P-39, the British did not like.
      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/19/04/0a/19040abb766c895450490273af5c5bc2.jpg
      1. irazum
        irazum 2 December 2018 03: 39
        0
        Yes, the Britts also had their own, excellent cars ("mosquito" and "bofighter"), but, for some reason, until the very end of WWII, the Amers took P-40s, which, in principle, could be scrapped
        1. Putin supporter
          Putin supporter 2 December 2018 16: 41
          0
          Quote: irazum
          Yes, the Britts also had their own, excellent cars ("mosquito" and "bofighter"), but, for some reason, until the very end of WWII, the Amers took P-40s, which, in principle, could be scrapped

          - and how to replace the P-40? In the second period of the war, it was used as a fighter-bomber, three attachment points (almost 700 kg load), 6 machine guns 12,7. The aircraft was completely tested, reliable, strong, and the entire supply chain was built for several years. And fighter maneuverability and a speed of almost 600 km / h. He could be replaced by a typhoon, but there were difficulties with him.
          1. Mikhail Matyugin
            Mikhail Matyugin 2 December 2018 17: 45
            +4
            Quote: Supporter of Putin
            - and how to replace the P-40? In the second period of the war, it was used as a fighter-bomber,


            Quote: Supporter of Putin
            And fighter maneuverability and a speed of almost 600 km / h.

            You yourself answered your own question - a good fighter will never be used as a fighter-bomber. Let's just say, for the period 41-42 - "for fishlessness and cancer is a fish".

            Moreover, he showed relatively good on the Soviet-German front, where his all-metal construction and the comfort of the cockpit were a plus, unlike most Soviet-made aircraft.
    3. andrey-ivanov
      andrey-ivanov 2 December 2018 13: 07
      +1
      The RAF had their excellent Mosquito night fighters in the NF mod. 4 cannons, 4 machine guns, radar and a speed of 700 km / h. The Germans created their He-219 "Uhu" to deal with them.
      1. Alf
        Alf 2 December 2018 21: 07
        +1
        Quote: andrey-ivanov
        The Germans created their He-219 "Uhu" to deal with them.

        The Germans created an owl to combat the night raids of the Lancaster, the mosquito repellent was made later.
        1. andrey-ivanov
          andrey-ivanov 11 December 2018 14: 01
          0
          The Germans created an owl to combat the night raids of the Lancaster, the mosquito repellent was made later.

          Nightlights based on the Bf-110 and Ju-88 also coped well with the Lancaster and Halifax. But they were no longer able to catch the "mosquitoes" flying in front of the main forces and marking targets for the four-engine "heavyweights" of the RAF, as well as clearing the sky from German night fighters.
    4. goose
      goose 13 March 2019 17: 23
      0
      Quote: irazum
      No wonder the Americans didn’t deliver them to their closest allies (the Britons)

      Because they did not buy, the plane was offered. Too expensive and too big crew.
  3. aristok
    aristok 1 December 2018 12: 35
    +1
    . To understand the effectiveness of the aircraft there is not enough data on the number of combat losses.
    1. volodimer
      volodimer 2 December 2018 12: 04
      0
      Apparently, due to the specifics of use, nighttime use did not have any combat losses, and the assault, taking into account the weak air defense of the Japanese and the almost complete absence of fighter countermeasures, was unlikely to suffer significant losses. If there were any, then the reasons are technical,
      but the absence of any mention indicates that they, if any, are insignificant. Only about 800 aircraft, probably a little more than half fought.
  4. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin 1 December 2018 14: 40
    +6
    Very interesting plane. Predatory design, excellent thrust-weight ratio, strongest weapons, convenience and ease of control, airborne radar, etc. In general, gorgeous, but ... for the United States it was generally useless (and for the British, who suffered the whole war from the Luftwaffe night raids, and did not pass), in the end - ended up as attack aircraft, including in the postwar years.
    1. Alf
      Alf 1 December 2018 18: 43
      +1
      Quote: Mikhail Matyugin
      excellent traction

      12,9 m / s is not thick.
      Quote: Mikhail Matyugin
      (and the British, who suffered the entire war from the Luftwaffe night raids, were never handed over),

      The British had their own good cars, first Bofayter, then Mosquito. By the way, both Bofayter and Mossi also had 4 cannons.
      1. Cherry Nine
        Cherry Nine 1 December 2018 19: 17
        +1
        Quote: Alf
        12,9 m / s is not thick.

        Like most American aircraft, the R-61 turned out to be heavy. This fighter, so to speak, in terms of maximum take-off weight devoured the Tu-2 or Yu-88, not much behind the TB-3. If he had a good speed, then the rate of climb, of course, is not fighter.

        On the other hand, he didn’t have to fight with Zero. Both He.219 Uhu and Mossi he excelled in performance characteristics.
        1. Alf
          Alf 1 December 2018 19: 28
          +1
          Quote: Cherry Nine
          Both He.219 Uhu and Mossi he excelled in performance characteristics.

          And what was he superior to Filin and Mossi?
          And compare the P-61 with the TB-3 ...
          1. Cherry Nine
            Cherry Nine 1 December 2018 19: 48
            +1
            Quote: Alf
            And compare the P-61 with the TB-3 ...

            By weight? Just the norm.
            Quote: Alf
            And what was he superior to Filin and Mossi?

            According to LTH. I seem to have written.
            However, on July 5, 1944, General Spaatz ordered a competition be held between the P-61 - using an example from the 422nd which had its Double Wasp radials carefully "tuned up" for the competition - against a Mosquito NF.XVII, and Lieutenant Colonel Kratz made a $ 500 bet in favor of the Mosquito being a faster and more maneuverable night fighting platform. The "tweaked" P-61 proved Kratz wrong, as according to the 422nd's squadron historian it "... proved faster at all altitudes, outturned the Mossie at every altitude and by a big margin and far surpassed the Mossie in rate of climb"

            There seems to be no competition with Wuhu, but the speed and rate of climb of the latter were so-so.
            1. Alf
              Alf 1 December 2018 20: 05
              0
              The widow was inferior to the German in almost all LTH. Speed-590 vs 656, 4x20 mm vs 4x30.
              Mossy with the same guns was also faster, 611 km / h.
              1. Cherry Nine
                Cherry Nine 1 December 2018 20: 16
                0
                Quote: Alf
                The widow was inferior to the German in almost all LTH

                Well, this is quite possible (especially up to 73 engines). I will not argue.
                1. Alf
                  Alf 1 December 2018 20: 46
                  0
                  Quote: Cherry Nine
                  (especially up to 73 engines)

                  Especially when you consider that the P-61C series did not have time for the front.
                  1. Cherry Nine
                    Cherry Nine 1 December 2018 20: 53
                    0
                    Quote: Alf
                    The P-61S didn’t have time for the front.

                    exactly.
              2. Dooplet11
                Dooplet11 3 December 2018 10: 56
                +1
                That he did not have to fight with Wuhu. The performance characteristics of the "Widows" are better compared to the performance characteristics of potential targets.
  5. san4es
    san4es 1 December 2018 16: 23
    +4
    hiRare color footage of the P-61 night fighter shot at the end of World War II.
    US Air Force Black Widow Demonstration P-61: P-61 takes off in Hawthorne, California.
    US Air Force Black Widow features are on display in Hawthorne, California. July 18, 1944. hi
  6. Lawyer
    Lawyer 1 December 2018 17: 42
    0
    Of course, they went too far with the turret, especially since where there to rotate it in the front hemisphere with their own screws or something to shoot?
    1. Cherry Nine
      Cherry Nine 1 December 2018 19: 07
      +2
      Quote: Jurist
      Of course, they went too far with the turret

      This is the standard for later American cars. A-26, B-29, etc.
    2. Alf
      Alf 2 December 2018 21: 12
      0
      Quote: Jurist
      Of course, they went too far with the turret, especially since where there to rotate it in the front hemisphere with their own screws or something to shoot?

      The turret was rigidly fixed when firing at the 12 o'clock position, amplifying the forward salvo.
  7. irazum
    irazum 2 December 2018 16: 41
    0
    For such a war as WWII, such an aircraft was not needed. But the Americans looked further. Maladts, what else can you say?
    1. Alf
      Alf 2 December 2018 21: 14
      +1
      Quote: irazum
      But the Americans looked further.

      Where next? In the 45th, the Twin P-82 Mustang didn’t take up arms, and he blocked the Widow in all the technical specifications.
      Why not needed? In Britain in the 40-41st he was very needed.
      1. irazum
        irazum 3 December 2018 07: 08
        0
        Britts in 40-41 years old really needed it. But it simply did not exist, this machine represented all the technological power of the United States. And it was obviously very expensive to manufacture. In this regard, "Twin Mustang" was much more fortunate.
        1. Alf
          Alf 3 December 2018 21: 22
          0
          Quote: irazum
          In this regard, "Twin Mustang" was much more fortunate.

          In what?
          A widow was worth $ 199, a twin-$ 000.
          1. rubin6286
            rubin6286 26 December 2018 22: 45
            0
            My father fought in Korea. According to his stories, "Twin Mustang" F-82, was used there as a reconnaissance and artillery spotter. With the appearance of North Korean ... Chinese or Soviet fighters, he immediately went down to his rear.
  8. Dooplet11
    Dooplet11 3 December 2018 10: 50
    0
    To the author "+" for the article.
    A small remark:

    The aircraft features also included unusually powerful flaps. John Northrop better than many aircraft designers realized how important the lift coefficient is for an airplane., so his night fighter had flaps on almost the entire wingspan. Ordinary ailerons were small, but four sections of differential spoilers on each of the consoles also took part in the roll control. This design solution provided the Black Widow with excellent maneuverability, especially taking into account the size and weight of the fighter. Of course, in a daytime battle, neither this nor powerful weapons could save the aircraft from the German FW-190 fighter, but in the night sky the P-61 was superior in maneuverability to any twin-engine aircraft of its time.


    As test results show, flaps do not improve maneuverability. They can reduce the radius of a turn, but in 99% of cases, this increases the time it takes to complete. Yes, flaps increase Su, and John Northop knew that, but they also reduce the critical angle of attack. Most importantly, flaps reduce landing speed and stall speed. This, of course, was also known to John Northrop. For such a heavy aircraft, with wing loads from 173 to 266 kg / m2 (depending on payload), low landing speed at night is an important element of flight safety.