The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was designed and built by Lockheed for the United States Army Air Corps during the Second World War. It is a piston-engined general fighter introduced in July 1941 and served as a fighter-bomber and night fighter, as well as aerial reconnaissance. The P-38 was produced from 1941 to 1945 with a total number of 10,037 aircraft built.
The P-38 has an external length of 11.53 meters, an external height of 3.2 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 1 meter. The wingspan is 15.85 meters and the wing area is 30.43 square meters. It has a tail height of 3.91 meters and a wheelbase of 3.1 meters. The aircraft has an empty weight of 5,806 kg, a gross weight of 7,938 kg, and a maximum takeoff weight of 9,798 kg. The maximum payload is 1,800 kg and the fuel tank capacity is 1,162 US gal.
The aircraft is powered by two Allison V-1710-111/113 V-12 supercharged four-stroke liquid-cooled engine rated at 1,600 horsepower at 3,000 rpm. It has two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder with sodium-cooled exhaust valves operated by a single gear-driven overhead camshaft per bank of cylinders. It also features a centrifugal-type single-stage turbo-supercharger with intercooler, Stromberg barrel injection downdraught carburetor with automatic mixture control, spur reduction gear, and electric inertia starter. The engines were also fitted with three-bladed Curtiss electric constant-speed propellers.
The P-38 has a maximum speed of 360 knots on military power of 1,425 hp at 3,000 rpm and 25,000 feet. It has a cruise speed of 239 knots, and a stall speed of 91 knots. The combat range is 1,100 nautical miles and the ferry range is 2,900 nautical miles. It can fly up to 44,000 feet and can climb at a rate of 4,750 feet per minute.
The aircraft was loaded with various armaments such as a single Hispano M2(C) 20 mm cannon with 150 rounds, four 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, four 112mm M10 three-tube M8 rocket launchers or inner hardpoints of two 907 kg bombs or drop tanks or two 454 kg bombs or drop tanks plus either four 227 kg or four 113 kg of bombs, or six 227 kg or six 113 kg of bombs. For the outer hardpoints are either ten 127 mm high-velocity aircraft rockets, two 227 kg, or two 113 kg of bombs.