North American XP-78 Mustang

Last revised September 19, 1999






XP-78 was the designation initially given to a version of the North American P-51 Mustang powered by the Packard-built Rolls Royce Merlin liquid-cooled engine. On July 25, 1942, North American Aviation was authorized to adapt two P-51 Mustang airframes to Merlin 65 engines imported from England. For the conversion, NAA selected two P-51s from the batch of Mustang IAs that had been repossessed from the RAF by the USAAF. Their serial numbers were 41-37350 and 41-37421. NAA gave the project the company designation NA-101. These aircraft were considered sufficiently different from the existing Mustang that they were given a new designation--XP-78. However, the designation of these two aircraft was changed to XP-51B while the work was progressing.

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. Fighting Mustang: The Chronicle of the P-51, William N. Hess, Doubleday, 1970.

  6. Classic Warplanes: North American P-51 Mustang, Bill Gunston, Gallery Books, 1990.

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

  8. The North American P-51B and C Mustang, Richard Atkins, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.