Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lightning

XP-58 pic #1 XP-58 pic #2

The XP-58 was supposed to be the successor to the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. In April of 1940 an agreement was reached with the USAAC that would enable Lockheed to sell an export version of the Lightning to England and France, provided that Lockheed would design a more advanced version of the P-38 for U.S. needs. The concept aircraft was envisaged as coming in two versions: a single-seat and and a two-seat version (which had rear-firing guns in each of the tail booms). The project soon received a change of direction (one of many to come, and probably the main reason for the overly-long development and ultimate death of the project), in that the single-seat version was dropped, and the rear-facing guns were replaced with a dorsal turret. A number of engine changes later (and with the addition of a ventral turret as well), the XP-58 project was re-designated to be a ground attack aircraft. After several new armament configurations were designed, the purpose of the aircraft changed yet again into that of a "bomber destroyer". Still more changes to the aircraft were mandated, but by the time the single prototype took its maiden flight (after an extended four year development cycle), there was no need for any "bomber destroyers". The project was terminated in 1945, with only a single XP-58 being built.

For more data on this aircraft, click here for Joe Baugher's webpage.
For more photos of this aircraft, click here for another XP-58 page, on a Czech website.
USAF archives on this aircraft, click here.
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia here.
(updated February 2009)

Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lightning

Type:           Fighter -> attack aircraft -> bomber destroyer
Crew:           2, Pilot & Gunner
Armament:       4x 37mm cannon, 4x 12.7mm machine gun,
				up to 4,000 lb bombs

        Length:         49' 5.5" (15.0 m)
        Height:         16' 0" (4.8 m)
        Wingspan:       70' 0" (21.3 m)
        Wing area:      600 sq. ft (55.7 sq. m)
        Empty Weight:   31,624 lbs (14,341 kg)
        Gross Weight:   39,192 lbs (17,774 kg)
        Max Weight:     43,000 lbs (19,501 kg)

        No. of Engines: 2
        Powerplant:     Allison V-3420-11/13
        Horsepower      2600 hp each

        Range:          1,250 miles (2,012 km)
        Cruise Speed:   283 mph (455 km/hr)
        Max Speed:      436 mph (702 km/hr)
        Climb:          2,582 ft/min (786 m/min)
        Ceiling:        38,200 ft (11,643 m)

(go to Lockheed page)

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