Bell XP-45 Airacobra

Last revised June 26, 1999

The Bell P-45 was the designation initially applied to the first proposed production model of the Bell XP-39 Airacobra, even though it were almost identical to the YP-39 service test aircraft already under evaluation. However, in the political climate of 1940 it was virtually impossible for the USAAC to acquire any new aircraft. But it could order more examples of an already-existing model. Consequently, the designation of the Airacobra was changed to P-39C prior to the delivery of the first aircraft.


  1. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.

  2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

  3. United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

  4. The Calamitous 'Cobra, Air Enthusiast, August 1971.