The Bell P-39 Airacobra is an American, single-engine, metal fighter plane with a classic tail in the low wing configuration with a three-wheeled undercarriage. The flight of the prototype took place on April 6, 1938, serial production was carried out in 1940-1944. Despite its conventional appearance, the Bell P-39 Airacobra was a unique design among US Army fighters during World War II, the first with a front wheel. This solution was dictated by the need to install heavy weapons in the nose part of the aircraft, which in turn corresponded to the expectations of the mid-1930s related to ensuring high firepower. In early 1935, the management of Bell Aircraft Corporation was present at the demonstration of the American Armament Corporation - T9 caliber 37 mm. Stunned by the results of the show, it led to the commencement of construction work on a fighter plane using a T9 cannon firing through the propeller hub and additionally equipped with two 12.7mm machine guns installed in the nose part of the fuselage and synchronized with the rotation of the propeller. The decision made to locate the cannon in the nose of the machine imposed the placement of the engine inside the fuselage. The propeller was driven by a long shaft located under the cabin floor. Such an installation of the engine, almost exactly in the center of gravity of the aircraft, entailed the need to use a three-wheeled undercarriage with a front wheel. The first major order for the 369 P-39 was placed in September 1940, and shipments began approximately seven months later. At the same time, the first export units ordered by the British began to leave the production line. They were to replace the worn-out Hawker Hurricane machines. Ultimately, however, the largest foreign recipient turned out to be the Soviet Union, which received about 4,700 aircraft, where the total number of assembled P-39s of all versions slightly exceeded 9,500. Technical data (P-39Q version): length: 9.2 m, wingspan: 10 , 4 m, height: 3.8 m, maximum speed: 605 km / h, speed of climb: 19 m / s, maximum range: 840 km, practical ceiling: 10700 m, armament: fixed - 4 7.62 mm M1919 machine guns, 2 machine guns M2 12.7mm caliber and 1 M4 37mm cannon, suspended - up to 230 kg of bombs.
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