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The P-47 Thunderbolt started its development with the Seversky P-36, followed by the P-43 Lancer during the late 1930s. The US Army Air Corps was interested in the design development and authorized the lightweight XP-44 Rocket and V-12-powered XP-47. By 1940 however, the two designs were deemed inferior to Luftwaffe aircraft and while Republic tried to improve the XP-47 with the XP-47A, the USAAC wasn't interested. Republic completely reworked the design by combining a larger engine with a larger airframe (it was already armed with eight .50 caliber machine guns) and the XP-47B was approved.
Like all fighter aircraft of the day, the P-47 was designed with the distinctive 'razorback' fuselage and received incremental improvements during its production. Republic was not able to produce the P-47 in sufficient numbers at its Farmingdale, NY plant so a second facility was opened in Evansville, IN. Curtiss was also tasked to produce the P-47 at its Buffalo, NY facility, but that production facility experienced major problems and the resulting aircraft were designated as P-47Gs and used only as stateside training aircraft.
The P-47 was the mainstay for both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in Europe and Pacific theaters. Even after the P-51 Mustang entered the war, the P-47 had the highest number of aerial victories than all other USAAF fighters combined. When the Hawker Typhoon was revised with a cut-down rear deck and teardrop canopy, the USAAF quickly adopted the concept and the P-47 and P-51 were redesigned with similar bubble-top/teardrop canopies.
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