The CLASSIC U.S. COMBAT AIRCRAFT OF WWII programmes tell the story, through a series of classic war planes, of the development of the combat aircraft of the Second World War. Each machine was produced to meet a specific requirement, usually to meet or beat the capabilities of an existing enemy or a potential aggressor.
The NORTH AMERICAN P-51 MUSTANG was designed and built for Britain's Royal Air Force and the first production aircraft was flown in May 1941. Originally powered by a single Allison engine, the power plant was replaced by the British with the excellent Merlin engine. So successful was the upgrade that, when the U.S. itself ordered the P-51, the Army Air Forces adopted the Merlin and so was born what became probably the finest single-engined fighter aircraft series of the war. As the long-range component for the bomber escort mission, supported by the P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt, the Mustang served throughout the European and Mediterranean theatres. Following the capture of Iwo Jima in the Pacific, the Mustangs partnered the massive B-29 Superfortress bombers in the skies over Japan. And, as enemy air-opposition over both Europe and Japan was whittled away, the P-51 Mustangs were released for attack against all types of ground targets with devastating results. 55 mins.