During the development of the Bell P-39 Airacobra it was decided to build a larger and more powerful version for use in a close-support fighter-bomber role. The result was the P-63 Kingcobra, which was similar in layout to the P-39, but it was larger, had a more powerful engine, and had a different tail design. Initial deliveries began in October 1943, and by the time production ended in 1945 more than 3,300 Kingcobras had been built in several versions. The great majority (more than 2,400) were supplied to the USSR under the Lend-Lease program, and about 300 went to the Free French. Very few of the P-63s were delivered to the USAAF, and it is believed that none were used operationally by that service.
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(updated February 2009)
Bell P-63 Kingcobra
Type: close-support fighter/fighter-bomber Crew: 1, Pilot Armament: one 37mm M4 cannon, four .50 cal machine guns, up to three 522 lb. bombs Specifications: Length: 32' 8" (9.96 m) Height: 12' 7" (3.84 m) Wingspan: 38' 4" (11.68 m) Wing area: 248 sq. ft (23.04 sq. m) Empty Weight: 6375 lbs (2892 kg) Takeoff Weight: 10,500 lbs (4763 kg) maximum Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Allison V-1710-93 inline Horsepower: 1325 hp Performance: Range: 450 miles (724 km) w/ weapons Max Speed: 410 mph (660 km/hr) Ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,110 m)
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