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P-63 In Soviet Service [Decal Included]
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Premium Bell P-63 Kingcobra in Soviet Air Forces available in game for 1600 


History:

The American designed Bell B-63 Kingcobra is one of the lesser known US aircraft of the war due to its limited use by the US armed forces. However, whilst the King Cobra struggled to find favor with US forces, the Soviet Union welcomed the fighter into its ranks due to their successes with the P-39 Airacobra.

A Soviet P-63A-10 with drop tanks fitted in 1944.

Despite the fact the P-63 was a massive improvement over the P-39 Airacobra, it could not contend with the North American P-51 Mustang and Republic designed P-47 Thunderbolt that were in service at the time. The P-63 had a significantly shorter range, more cramped layout, was more expensive to produce and had an unreliable supercharger coupled with an ageing Allison engine which was already losing favor to the Rolls Royce Merlin and its Packard counterpart. The Kingcobra was very much an evolution of the Airacobra and was the result of several improvements and solutions to the issues that plagued the P-39, retaining the unusual configuration with the engine behind the pilot and the nose mounted 37mm cannon, yet still failed to impress. As such, the American forces had little need for Bell’s new fighter, a role that was adapted to a ground attack fighter-bomber, to which the P-39 was already finding its place.

Whilst the Bell’s Kingcobra could not contend with the other fighters in US service, it found its place in the Soviet Air Force, who was already utilizing the P-39 to great success. Between 2300-2700 P-63’s were supplied to the USSR under the “Lend-lease” program, around 72% of all Kingcobra’s produced found service with the Soviet Air Force. Officially, the P-63 was not allowed for use against the German forces due to an agreement in 1943 that outlined their specific role for operations against Japan and the eventual allied final push in the pacific. However, many Soviet and German accounts exist of the Kingcobra being employed against the Luftwaffe. Nonetheless, no official reports of this exist. Within the Pacific region, the Soviet P-63 was employed as a ground attack, close air support and reconnaissance fighter. The USSR enjoyed successful action with the P-63 in the Manchukuo campaigns and on the Korean peninsula. Many P-39 units were eventually updated with P-63s as their service continued after the wars end.

The US had retired its P-63 fleets from all services by 1946, however the Soviet Union carried on their operation until 1952-53. Due to the sufficient numbers of Kingcobras still in service after the second world war, Ironically NATO designated the reporting name “Fred” to the P-63.

In War Thunder:

X-ray view of the Soviet P-63A-5 in War Thunder.

Within War Thunder, 3 versions of the P-63 Kingcobra are available. The A-5, A-10 and C-5 variants are present in the US tree as well as 3 versions available as premium and gift aircraft for the Soviet air force. In the US tree, all 3 variations can be found in Era 3 after researching the P-47. The Kingcobra leads on to the aircraft that ultimately pushed it out of favour in US service, the P-51D Mustang. For the Soviets, the first “Lend-lease” Kingcobra can be found in Era 3 and is available for purchase with Golden Eagles. The A-10 and C-5 on the 4th Era are rare gift premium aircraft that are available in certain specials and events. For those that have flown the P-39 Airacobra, the P-63 will be a familiar aircraft. Across all versions, the P-63s armament configuration is a single hub mounted M4 or M10 37mm cannon with 30 or 58 rounds respectively. To complement this, 4 12.7mm M2 Browning machine guns are also mounted on the aircraft to give it an impressive punch. As well as its impressive firepower, the Kingcobra can also mount several external payloads ranging from a single 500kg bomb on the A-5 model to 3 x 500kg featured on the A-10 variant.

Whilst the Kingcobra might not share the popularity of the Mustang or the universality of the Thunderbolt, the P-63 is an excellent fighter with superb armament for its tier. If you enjoyed the P-39s or are a fan of the Russian Yak fighter’s heavy armament, the Kingcobra series will be a familiar and fun experience for you.

Premium Bell P-63A-5 Kingcobra is available in Soviet Aircraft Tech Tree on Rank III and you can buy it for 1600  

 


 

 

Author: Scott "Smin1080p" Maynard


With an upcoming update, we will add the personal emblem of

Maj. Vyacheslav Sirotin, 17th IAP:

Decal made by Colin 'Fenris' Muir

What do you think about the P-63 Kingcobra? Is it really as deadly as its name?

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