Home Technology Bell P-59 Airacomet America’s First Fighter Jet

Bell P-59 Airacomet America’s First Fighter Jet


The Bell P-59 Airacomet was a single-seat, twin jet-engine fighter aircraft that was designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World War II, the first produced in the United States.It is the first American jet aircraft. It did not see combat but it did give the U. S. Army Air Forces (AAF) and the U. S. Navy valuable experience with jet aircraft technology.

source/image(PrtSc): Found And Explained

Because the plane was underpowered, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was not impressed by its performance and canceled half of the original order for 100 fighters, using the completed aircraft as trainers. The Airacomet was described as radical in design, but only because it was jet powered. Other than the engine, the airplane’s design was quite conventional and its performance left much to be desired.

The P-59A had an oval cross-section, all-metal stressed skin semi-monocoque fuselage that housed a single pressurized cockpit. The mid-mounted, straight wing had two spars plus a false spar in the inner panel. The electrically-powered tricycle landing gear was attached to the center spar. The pair of General Electric J31 turbojets were positioned under the wing roots in streamlined nacelles.


The armament was located in the nose of the aircraft; two of the three XP-59As and most of the YP-59As had a pair of 37-millimeter M10 autocannon. The aircraft carried a total of 290 US gallons of fuel in four self-sealing tanks in the inner wing panels. Both production models could carry 1,590-US-gallon drop tanks under the wings. In addition, the P-59B was provided with a 66-US-gallon fuel tank in each outer wing panel.via