North American ETF-51D [Project Seahorse]

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes, as a Research Tree Vehicle
  • Yes, as a Premium Vehicle
  • Yes, as an Event Vehicle
  • No
0 voters


Historical Background:

As the United States was getting closer and closer to Japan the increase in range from then existing airfields to further targets such as in Japan as well as then existing ranges needed to escort B-29 bombers was increasing.
Existing naval fighters lacked the range to escort these new bombers so North American Aviation took to the challenge and modified a P-51D-5-NA, aerodynamic, structural and landing gear changes were incorporated and the aircraft was then redesignated as the ETF-51D.
More specifically, a tailhook was fitted, which necessitated some modifications to the aircraft’s tail. Forward of the wings a catapult hook was fitted to the middle of the fuselage.
To cope with hard carrier landings, the tires were replaced with special high-pressure ones also the main undercarriage shock absorbers received increased air pressure to reduce bouncing upon landing. Finally the airframe was reinforced in various points to withstand the extra stress.
The aircraft would undergo two months of testing at Mustin Field, PA and afterwards be transferred to the USS Shangri-La (CV-38) Essex class carrier undergoing a shakedown cruise off the coast of Virginia.
Piloted by Navy Lieutenant Robert Elder the first P-51 carrier landing would be made on November 15, 1943.
The carrier suitability trials would go on with 25 landings and launches being made.
This would all be too late however as Okinawa was eventually taken over by the US giving them a forward base to strike Japan from, the range that the navalized P-51 carried was no longer needed and thus the program was terminated shortly after.


General characteristics (P-51D)

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
  • Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 4.5 in (4.077 m) tail wheel on ground, vertical propeller blade
  • Wing area: 235 sq ft (21.8 m2)
  • Aspect ratio 5.83
  • Airfoil NAA/NACA 45–100
  • Empty weight: 7,635 lb (3,463 kg)
  • Gross weight: 9,200 lb (4,173 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 12,100 lb (5,488 kg) 5,490
  • Fuel capacity: 269 US gal (224 imp gal; 1,020 L)
  • Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0163
  • Drag area: 3.80 sqft (0.35 m²)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Packard (Rolls-Royce) V-1650-7 Merlin 12-cylinder liquid cooled engine, 1,490 hp (1,110 kW) at 3,000 rpm; 1,720 hp (1,280 kW) at WEP
  • Propellers: 4-bladed Hamilton Standard constant-speed, variable-pitch, 11 ft 2 in (3.40 m) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 440 mph (710 km/h, 383 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 362 mph (583 km/h, 315 kn)
  • Stall speed: 100 mph (160 km/h, 87 kn)
  • Range: 1,650 mi (2,660 km, 1,434 nmi) with external tanks
  • Service ceiling: 41,900 ft (12,800 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,200 ft/min (16 m/s)
  • Lift-to-drag: 14.6
  • Wing loading: 39 lb/sq ft (190 kg/m2)
  • [Power/mass: 0.162 / 0.187 hp/lb (0.266 / 0.307 kW/kg) (without / with WEP)
  • Recommended Mach limit 0.8


  • Guns: 6 × .50 caliber (12.7mm)AN/M2 Browning machine guns with 1,840 total rounds (380 rounds for each on the inboard pair and 270 rounds for each of the outer two pair)
  • Rockets: 6 or 10 × 5.0 in (127 mm) T64 HVAR rockets
  • Bombs: 1 × 100 lb (45 kg) or 250 lb (110 kg) bomb or 500 lb (230 kg) bomb on hardpoint under each wing






Boeing Images - P-51 Mustang Carrier Qualification Test, 1943

Project "Seahorse" | Aircraft of World War II - Forums

Aviação em Floripa: Um P-51 Mustang navalizado

North American P-51 Mustang - Wikipedia


I think that this aircraft’s addition to the game would be worthwhile simply just for how unique it’s history is for traditionally purpose-built land based aircraft of the time.
I do understand however that at the end of the day it’s basically a P-51 of which there are plenty of in game (especially the D variant) thus I can see this being a premium or an event vehicle, if it were to come to the tree however I think it should be foldered along with the P-51 and other P-51D.

+1 as either an event or an BP vehicle, i know we already have plenty of BP Mustangs but not one on the D family of Mustangs