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

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

11/13/2012 • Ask Mr. History, Gear

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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