Lockheed P-38M Lightning - The Night Lightning

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Reposting and revising from my original suggestion in old forums.

Lockheed P-38M Lightning

Heavy Fighter / Interceptor / Night Fighter

   Hello! I’d like to re-introduce and suggest the Lockheed P-38M Lightning for War Thunder. This P-38M is the final and unique combat variant after the P-38L and was built as a two-seat night fighter with a radar pod.


Key Characteristics

  • Converted P-38L as a radar-equipped night fighter
  • Two-seat night fighter
  • AN/APS-6 Radar Pod
  • Conical flash hiders on all guns to conceal visible fire burst signatures

History

The P-38M Lightning is a two-seat night fighter variant of the modified P-38L, fitted with an AN/APS-4 radar pod mounted under the nose. This variant traced back to the outcome of experiments early in 1943; the P-38Fs and P-38Js were modified as the experimental single-seat night fighters by the Fifth Air Force, fitted with SCR540 radar with a yagi antenna on the nose.

Flying the plane and operating the radar at the same time was too much of a job for one pilot, so in October 1944, Lockheed attempted to convert the P-38L as a two-seat night fighter 1944, which was identified as the P-38L-5-LO Serial Number 44-25237. An extra crew, a radar operator, would sit aft of the pilot under a raised section of the canopy, but it was very cramped for the radar operator to sit in. The aircraft was fitted with an AN/APS-6 radar in an external radome underneath the nose. It was also fitted with anti-flash gun muzzles. They were the flash eliminators to aid the pilot in retaining night vision when they were fired.

The conversion was successful, and it flew for the first time in January 1945, recording a top speed of 406 mph at 15,000 feet as compared to only 369 at 20,00 feet for the Northrop P-61A Black Widow. The Army Air Corps issued a contract for Lockheed to convert 80 P-38L-5-LOs into the P-38M twin-seat night fighters. They were painted glossy black overall.

However, deployment of the P-38M night fighters was delayed while crews were trained to use the new aircraft. The P-38Ms were reported to have only seen operational service in the Pacific in the last few days of the war, too late to score any kills. They remained in Japan with the 418th Night Fighter Squadron before phasing out early in 1946.


Specifications

Lockheed P-38M Lightning

General Characteristics

  • Crew: 2 (Pilot and Radar Operator)
  • Length: 37 feet, 10 inches
  • Height: 12 feet, 10 inches
  • Span: 52 feet
  • Powerplant: 2x Engines, Allison V-1710-113 (on Right) and V-1710-111 (on Left)
    → 1,425 hp
  • Empty Weight: 12,800 lb (5,805 kilograms)
  • Gross Weight: 17,500 lb (7,937kilograms)

Performance

  • Speed: 406 mph at 15,000 feet
  • Minutes to Climb at 20,000 feet: 8.7 minutes
  • Service Ceiling: 44,000 feet

Weapons System

  • Avionics

    • AN/APS-6 radar pod
  • Guns

    • 4 x .50 cal Heavy Machine Guns (2000 Rounds) with flash hiders
    • 1 x 20 mm M2(c) Cannon (150 Rounds) with flash hiders

Cockpit


Photographs


Conclusion | Why it should be in the game

   I made this suggestion to request more World War II-era vehicles for War Thunder. This P-38M would make a welcoming addition to the P-38 Lightning family in War Thunder and is a perfect unique variant of the P-38 that offers a lighter alternative to the heavier P-63 Black Widow.


Sources

Secondary


Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestion! 😃

1 Like

YES YES YES YES!!! I’ve wanted this for so long!!!

2 Likes

Oh absolutely, 100% yes. You can take my +1

I sure am glad I didn’t have to sit in that rear cockpit.

+1