Aircraft Comparison By

P-51 Mustang vs P-47 Thunderbolt

In the field of fighter planes, there are few aircraft that can match the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt. These two planes were designed and built for different purposes, but which is better, the P51 or the P47? Fighter pilots and aviation enthusiasts have debated this question for years. Some people swear by the power and agility of the P51, while others prefer the ruggedness and firepower of the P47. So which one is better? Keep reading to find out.

Aircraft: North American P-51 Mustang Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
North American P 51 Mustang INA Macon Belle
P47 Thunderbolt Chino Airshow 2014
Country: United States United States
Manufactured: from: 1940 to: 1945 from: 1941 to: 1945
ICAO: P51 P47
Price: $0.59 million $0.083 million
Avionics: - -
Engine: 1x Packard (Rolls Royce) V-1650-7 Merlin 1x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59W Double Wasp
Engine Type: Piston Piston
Power: 1,720 horsepower 2,500 horsepower
Max Cruise Speed: 383 knots
709 Km/h
376 knots
696 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref): 87 knots 97 knots
Travel Range: 1,434 Nautical Miles
2,656 Kilometers
900 Nautical Miles
1,667 Kilometers
Fuel Economy: - -
Service Ceiling: 41,900 feet 42,000 feet
Rate of Climb: 3200 feet / minute
16.26metre / second
3200 feet / minute
16.26metre / second
Take Off Distance: 366 metre
1,200.77 feet
Landing Distance: 457 metre
1,499.33 feet
Max Take Off Weight: 5,490 Kg
12,103 lbs
7,938 Kg
17,500 lbs
Max Landing Weight: 5,490 Kg
12,103 lbs
Max Payload: 910 Kg
2,006 lbs
1,300 Kg
2,866 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 269 gallon
1,018 litre
370 gallon
1,401 litre
Baggage Volume: - -
Seats - Economy: 1 seats 1 seats
Seats - Business Class: - -
Seats - First Class: - -
Cabin Height: - -
Cabin Width: - -
Cabin Length: - -
Exterior Length: 9.8 metre
32.15 feet
11.02 metre
36.15 feet
Tail Height: 4.08 metre - 13.39 feet 4.47 metre - 14.67 feet
Fuselage Diameter: 0.9 metre
2.95 feet
1.4 metre
4.59 feet
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter: 11.28 metre
37.01 feet
12.4 metre
40.68 feet
Wing Tips: No Winglets No Winglets
More Info: North American P-51 Mustang Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
Data presented is for entertainment purposes and should not be used operationally.

About the P-51 Mustang

The P-51 Mustang, designed by Edgar Schmued and manufactured by North American Aviation, was introduced in 1942 during World War II. This long-range, single-seat fighter proved its worth against the Axis powers and continued to be used during the Korean War and other conflicts.

The Mustang had a wingspan of 11 meters and was powered by a Packard V-1650 Merlin engine, enabling it to reach top speeds of 710 km/h.

Given its capabilities and effectiveness in battle, each Mustang came at the cost of approximately 50,985 USD in 1945. Its impressive performance earned the moniker “the most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence” by famed test pilot Greene Lee.

Though production ceased in 1945, the P-51 remains one of the most well-known and revered aircraft in history.

Why was the P-51 developed and built?

The P-51 Mustang was developed in response to a dire need for an effective long-range escort fighter. The then-current models did not have the range or endurance to accompany bombers on missions deep into enemy territory. As a result, the Mustang was designed with an efficient, reliable engine and enough internal space for a more significant fuel load than other fighters of its time.

This allowed it to take on external fuel tanks, providing even greater range and allowing it to stay with the bombers from England to Germany and back.

Of course, it also proved itself as a capable fighter in dogfights and ground attack missions. Its versatility and effectiveness made it one of the most successful aircraft of World War II.

What purpose did the P-51 serve?

This aircraft served multiple purposes. It was used as a long-range escort fighter, as well as a bomber destroyer, due to its six .50-caliber machine guns.

The P-51 was also used in ground attacks and air-to-air combat roles. Its incredible range (3,000 miles/4,800 km) also made it worthwhile for reconnaissance missions.

In short, the P-51 was a versatile and practical aircraft that could be used in various roles.

About the P-47 Thunderbolt

The P-47, also called the “Thunderbolt,” was a formidable presence in the skies during WWII. It earned its reputation as a trusted fighter-bomber due to its strong armament, heavy bomb load, and remarkable ability to withstand enemy fire.

The P-47 owed much of its resilience to its radial piston engine, which proved to have a higher damage tolerance than liquid-cooled engines used in other planes. The P-47 saw extensive use with the United States Army Air Forces and was also utilized by allied forces, including France and Brazil.

Capable of reaching speeds of 890 km/h with a range of 1,290 km, the P-47 had a wingspan of 12 meters and weighed approximately 4,536 kg. Powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, the P-47 proved an effective and dependable ally in the skies during WWII.

Why was the P-47 developed and built?

During World War II, the Seversky P-35 was one of the United States principal fighter planes. However, it proved to be unreliable and difficult to maintain during combat.

In response, the government began seeking a replacement that could stand up to the rigorous demands of war. This search led them to Alexander P. de Seversky, a Russian immigrant who had fled his homeland with his family to escape the Bolsheviks.

He had previously designed and built the P-35, but now he was tasked with creating an improved version: the P-47 Thunderbolt. It featured a more powerful engine and a more robust airframe, able to withstand enemy fire and endure long flights.

The P-47 proved to be highly successful in battle, becoming one of the most effective fighter planes used by the US during World War II.

What purpose did the P-47 serve?

Its iconic radial engine and hefty frame could carry a substantial amount of firepower, including up to eight .50 caliber machine guns or 2,500 pounds of bombs. It saw extensive use, particularly in the European theater of World War II, where it gained notoriety for its ability to protect bombers on perilous missions deep into enemy territory on what was known as escort missions.

The P-47 continued to see use after the war, primarily as a ground attack aircraft during the Korean War. Several P-47s are still operating with military forces worldwide and in private collections as famous warbirds. Its legacy lives on in its nickname – “the Jug” – which rightly speaks to its formidable strength and durability. The P-47 Thunderbolt will forever hold a place in history as a tough fighter aircraft and a true workhorse of the Allied forces in World War II.

How are the P-51 and P-47 different?

While the P-51 and P-47 were important fighter aircraft during WWII, they had notable differences in design and capabilities. The P-51 was designed with sleek aerodynamics and a range of 1,650 miles, making it perfect for escort missions.

In contrast, the P-47 was heavier and less maneuverable, but it could hold more bombs and had a shorter range of only 850 miles. Additionally, the P-51 was known for its effectiveness in dog fights due to its speed and agility, while the P-47 excelled in ground attack missions because of its strong armor.

While both planes contributed to the war effort, their different features made them suitable for distinct purposes.

How are the P-51 and P-47 similar?

The P-51 and P-47 were both American fighter planes used during WWII. North American Aviation manufactured both models and utilized the same engine type: the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin.

In addition, both planes were highly successful in air combat missions, with the P-51 becoming renowned for its escort capabilities and the P-47 excelling at ground attacks.

What’s better about the P-51?

The P-51 Mustang is often lauded as one of the best fighter planes in history. So what sets it apart from its contemporaries?


Regarding speed and maneuverability, the P-51 was on par with other popular options like the Spitfire and Focke-Wulf. However, its superior range set it apart from these competitors. This was due to its ability to use drop tanks and efficient fuel usage.


The P-51’s engine could handle high altitudes better than most other planes and had advanced features such as a hydraulic automated horizontal stabilizer trim system. Its durability was also remarkable – it could withstand hefty enemy fire without compromising performance.


In addition, the P-51 was highly versatile and could serve as a long-range escort fighter and ground attack aircraft. This versatility made it an invaluable asset to the Allied forces during WWII.

When pitted against its peers, the P-51 Mustang stands out as a top-of-the-line fighter plane. Its range, engine performance, maneuverability, and durability make it a cut above the rest.

What’s better about the P-47?

There are several reasons why the P-47 Thunderbolt is considered one of the best fighter planes in history. Here are just a few:

Powerful Engine:

The P-47 was powered by a radial engine that delivered 2,500 horsepower. This made it one of the most potent fighter planes of its time and allowed it to reach speeds of up to 430 miles per hour.


The P-47 was outfitted with eight .50-caliber machine guns, making it a formidable opponent in battle. It could also carry up to 2,500 pounds of bombs, giving it the ability to inflict severe damage on enemy targets.


The P-47 was built with durability in mind. Its sturdy construction allowed it to withstand much damage and its heavy armor-plating protected pilots from enemy fire.


Regarding fighter planes, the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt are two of the best. Both aircraft made significant contributions to the Allied war effort during WWII, and they have a lot to offer in terms of power, performance, and durability. While they have different strengths, they are both excellent options for a top-of-the-line fighter plane.

About the Author

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With a passion for aviation, as well as surfing and scanning the web, Rocco is in his element analyzing aircraft data and the differences and similarities between aircraft.