XP-83 (Bell Model 40) – American World War II prototype fighter aircraft. The serial planes were to serve as escort fighters participating in the protection of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers.
In 1944 USAAF decided to work on a long-range fighter plane to escort bombers during their flights over the Pacific. One of the companies that undertook the development of such an aircraft was Bell Aircraft Corp., which proposed a jet-propelled fighter plane based on the existing P-59 Airacomet. In July 1944 a contract was signed with the factory to build two prototypes of the fighter, which received the designation XP-83 (unofficial name Airarattler – Flying Rattlesnake). The first prototype was built at the beginning of 1945, and it flew on 25 February 1945. This prototype was armed with 6 12.7 mm M2 machine guns. The second prototype, which was flew in 19 October 1945, had a modified fuselage bow, in which other machine guns T17E3 cal. 15.24 mm were placed, which caused its extension. The tests over the plane were stopped in a short time because it turned out that the piston-powered North American P-51 Mustang and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes used so far have sufficient range. Furthermore, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter plane, which is coming into service, has better performance. Eventually only two prototypes of the Bell XP-83 were built.
During the tests, the first of the prototypes crashed in 1946, while the second (44-84991) was scrapped in 1947.
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