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P-43 Lancer file photo [16054]

P-43 Lancer

CountryUnited States
ManufacturerRepublic Aviation Company
Primary RoleFighter


ww2dbaseDesigned by Alexander de Seversky and Alexander Kartveli of the Republic Aviation Company, the P-43 Lancer fighters were first delivered to the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. Although initially favored, rapid fighter development of the late 1930s and early 1940s led to these fighters becoming obsolete within a year. The final delivery would be made in Apr 1941. An attempt was planned to bring the P-43 design up to par by equipping the planned new fighters with 1,400-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2180-1 Twin Hornet engines, but ultimately this plan, tentatively named the P-44 Rocket project, was scrapped before a prototype was built.

ww2dbaseDespite the US Army's disinterest in the P-43 Lancer design, China, which had been at war since 1937, ordered enough to keep the production line open until 1942. Some of these China-bound fighters were assigned to the American Volunteer Group, also known as the "Flying Tigers". Although some of the pilots noted their good high-altitude performance and good maneuverability, others, including General Claire Chennault, were concerned about their lack of armor and the absence of self-sealing fuel tanks. These concerns led to the P-43 fighters being prime candidates to be cannibalized for parts when the workhorse C-47 transport aircraft, which used similar Pratt & Whitney engines, needed them.

ww2dbaseBetween 1940 and 1942, a total of 272 P-43 Lancer fighters were built. In the fall of 1942, they were officially redesignated RP-43, which indicated their obsolete status. In American and Australian service, they were largely relegated to training and photographic reconnaissance roles until about 1943. The Chinese Air Force retired its P-43 fighters in 1944.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Sep 2012

P-43 Lancer Timeline

22 Mar 1939 The Republic Aviation Company's AP-4 prototype aircraft was destroyed by an accidental in-flight engine fire; the pilot was able to bail out to safety.
13 Sep 1940 The P-44 Rocket project, a plan to convert the P-43 Lancer fighter design into a rocket-propelled aircraft, was scrapped.
16 May 1941 The first P-43 Lancer fighter delivery was made to the United States Army.
28 Aug 1941 The final P-43 Lancer fighter delivery was made to the United States Army.


MachineryOne Pratt & Whitney R-1830-49 14-cyl air-cooled radial piston engine rated at 1,200hp
Armament2x12.7mm cowl M2 Browning machine guns, 2x12.7mm wing M2 Browning machine guns
Span11.00 m
Length8.70 m
Height4.30 m
Wing Area20.70 m²
Weight, Empty2,713 kg
Weight, Loaded3,365 kg
Weight, Maximum3,837 kg
Speed, Maximum573 km/h
Rate of Climb13.00 m/s
Service Ceiling10,970 m
Range, Normal1,046 km


B-18 Bolo bomber port wing with low-drag experimental panel, Langley Field, Virginia, United States, 1 Jan 1941; note P-43 Lancer fighter in backgroundP-43 Lancer fighter at rest, date unknown
See all 6 photographs of P-43 Lancer Fighter

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
14 Sep 2012 08:52:31 AM

The RAAF loaned eight P-43 Lancers from the Americans in 1942 which were employed in the Photo-Reconnaissance role. Four of these were P-43A-1 machines (R-1830-57 engines, self sealing fuel tanks and four guns of 0.5-in calibre), and the remainder were camera equipped P-43Ds (conversions of older P-43A fighters). The Australian P-43s served with No. 1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit (Squadron Leader C.C. Lawrie), based at Coomlie, Northern Territory. From August 1942 they flew many long range, high-altitude photo reconnaissance missions before the six survivors were returned to the USAAC in August 1943.
2. Anonymous says:
28 Jan 2013 12:54:20 PM

Do any P-43s survive?
3. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
28 Mar 2013 09:37:00 AM

One famous P-43 pilot was RAF Battle of Britain Ace Robert Stanford Tuck who flew P-43s with the US 1st Pursuit Group whilst on a lecture tour of the USA (c.October 1941)
4. Malcolm Lowe says:
26 Jun 2015 07:15:54 PM

There is an incorrect timeline here. 1940 saw the delivery to the USAAC of pre-production YP-43 airframes for service testing, these were not operational. The first production P-43 Lancers for the USAAC were delivered in May 1941, NOT 1940.
5. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
27 Jun 2015 04:48:32 AM

Malcolm, thank you for pointing out the typographical error in the date, it has been corrected.
6. BBlair says:
6 Aug 2017 01:25:40 PM

The plane that could have been great early in the war had it had tanks instead of wet wing and some armor.
7. colonelpablo says:
11 Oct 2019 02:14:48 PM

any notice of P 43 Lancer in England?

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P-43 Lancer Fighter Photo Gallery
B-18 Bolo bomber port wing with low-drag experimental panel, Langley Field, Virginia, United States, 1 Jan 1941; note P-43 Lancer fighter in backgroundP-43 Lancer fighter at rest, date unknown
See all 6 photographs of P-43 Lancer Fighter

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