Bell P-39D Airacobra

The Bell P-39D Airacobra carries a belly tank to augment its normal fuel supply. The streamlined tank can dropped in flight, when desired, after its contents are exhausted.

This Army fighter, powered by the Allison liquid-cooled engine, carries the heaviest cannon of any single fighter in the world. This model has been in volume production for some months. The Airacobra is also in service with England's RAF, whose pilots rate it high in combat performance. Its armament also includes heavy and light machine guns.

The engine is located just aft of the pilot and the propeller drive is accomplished by means of a ten-foot extension shaft to a reduction gear in the nose. Its 37-mm gun fires through the hub.

This short ID article was originally published in the May, 1942, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 41, no 5, p 185.
The original article includes a photo, "Belly tank increases Airacobra's range."
Photo is not credited.