P-66 Vanguard, U.S. Fighter

Photograph of P-66 Vanguard

U.S. Air Force

Vultee P-66 Vanguard


Crew 1
Dimensions 36' by 28'5" by 13'1"
10.97m by 8.66m by 3.99m
Wing area 197 square feet
18.30 m2
Weight 5234-7383 lbs
2374-3349 kg
Maximum speed       340 mph (547 km/h)
Climb rate 42 fps
12.8 m/s
Service ceiling 28,200 feet
8595 meters
Power plant 1 1200 hp (894 kW) Pratt and Whitney R-1830-33 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row radial engine
Armament 4 0.30 wing machine guns
2 0.50 nose machine guns
Range 850 miles
1368 km
Production 144 by 1941-9

The P-66 came out of an experiment in building four different aircraft types from common components. The fighter variant was ordered by the Swedish government as the Model 48C. However, by the time the order was ready, the United States had embargoed aircraft exports and the production run was impounded. The British took over the order as Lend-Lease, but 129 of the aircraft went to China instead, where they saw their only combat service. The remainder were used as trainers.

The aircraft had good acrobatics and reasonable performance for 1941, and the few U.S. pilots who flew it seem to have liked it. However, it was relatively fragile and had a tendency to ground loop. It also had an unfortunate resemblance to the Japanese fighters in use in China, and several were lost to friendly fire.


Baugher (1999; accessed 2012-11-16)
Chanter (accessed 2012-11-16)
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (accessed 2012-11-16)

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