Republic XP-47K Thunderbolt

Last revised July 5, 1999




As an experiment to improve the rearward visibility, the USAAF fitted a standard P-47D-5-RE airframe (serial number 42-8702) with a bubble canopy taken from a Hawker Typhoon. In order to accommodate the bubble canopy, the Republic design team had to cut down the rear fuselage. This conversion was redesignated XP-47K, and was tested in July 1943. This modification was immediately proven to be feasible, and was promptly introduced on both the Farmingdale and Evansville production lines.

Ordinarily, the USAAF would have given such a radical modification as that which produced the bubble-canopy Thunderbolt a completely new variant letter (or perhaps even a new type number). However, the USAAF chose instead to designate it simply by giving it a new production block number in the D-series. Consequently, the first batches to feature this new bubble canopy were Farmingdale's P-47D-25-RE and Evansville's P-47D-26-RA.

Sources:

  1. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

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

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

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

  5. The Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, Aircraft in Profile, Edward Shacklady, Doubleday, 1969.

  6. Famous Fighters of the Second World War, Volume I, William Green, 1967.

  7. Thunderbolt: A Documentary History of the Republic P-47, Roger Freeman, Motorbooks, 1992.