Republic XP-47J “Superbolt”: On a diet.

The “Jugs”, despite being the biggest and heaviest single seat fighters to see service in WW2 were renowned by their outstanding performances. So, what could happen if you lighten them a little bit? That’s precisely what the people of Republic had in mind with this prototype. They took a newly built airframe and reduced its armament to the American 6x.50 MG standard instead of the P-47’s eight and supped it up with various combinations of water-injected R2800 engines, props and turbosuperchargers. First flown in late 1943, the performance displayed by the unique prototype built (43-46952) was superb achieving a max speed of just over 500 mph, hence its “Superbolt” nickname. Regrettably, Republic’s almost contemporary XP-72 looked more promising. Add to that the advent of jet propulsion which meant the end… of both projects.

The Superbolt returning with elan to its nest (Republic Farmingdale factory, maybe). It was a really hot -and really ugly- potato. That shortened and reconfigured engine cowling couldn’t hardly be less graceful.

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