Were P-61 Black Widows used in the Korean War?

11/13/2012 • Ask Mr. History

Did the U.S.A.F. still have P61s (Black Widows) in service when the Korean war started? And were they used during the war? Thanks in advance.


Terry Rouhier

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Dear Mr. Rouhier,

The Northrop P-61 Black Widow, like the Grumman F6F Hellcat, was designed for a World War II task and was slated for replacement from the time the war ended and the jet age began. Only delays in getting the Northrop F-89 Scorpion into service kept it operational into the late 1940s, although the USAF introduced an interim piston engine replacement, the North American F-82 Twin Mustang, during that time to phase it out. The last F-51 Black Widow squadron in the Far East retired its planes in May 1951, just missing the Korean War by a month—and leaving it to the F-82 to do the fighting in the war’s first months instead.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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