During the late 1930s Bell engineers decided to build a fighter around a new 37mm gun. It's important to note that guns of that caliber were previously used only on twin-engine aircraft… but the team at Bell wanted to install it on an single-engine fighter aircraft. This sounded really good in theory, but the military were in no rush to approve the experimental design. Eventually, though, they decided that it was worth the risk, and on the 6th of April, 1939, the initial pre-production aircraft of the new series took to the skies for the first time.
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