Role Fighter
Manufacturer Republic Aviation
First flight 2 February 1944
Status Canceled
Number built 2
Developed from Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

The Republic XP-72 was an American prototype fighter-interceptor developed by Republic Aircraft as a progression of the P-47 Thunderbolt design. The XP-72 was designed around the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radial engine with a supercharger mounted behind the pilot and driven by an extension shaft from the engine. The armament consisted of six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) wing-mounted Browning AN/M2 machine guns and underwing racks for two 1,000 lb bombs; Alternative armament packages included two 37 mm M4 autocannons with four .50 caliber AN/M2s, or four M4 autocannons.

Design and development

See also: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt variants

The XP-72 development paralleled that of another Republic design, the XP-69 that was to be powered by an experimental 42-cylinder Wright R-2160 liquid-cooled inline radial engine mounted in the nose of the aircraft and driving contra-rotating propellers.[1] The XP-69 was intended for high altitude operations and featured a pressurized cockpit and armament of two 37 mm cannon and four 50 caliber machine guns.[1] As the XP-72 displayed greater promise than the XP-69, the XP-69 was cancelled on 11 May 1943 and an order for two XP-72 prototypes was placed on 18 June 1943.[1]

Operational history

The XP-72 flew for the first time on 2 February 1944, equipped with a four-bladed propeller. The second prototype was completed on 26 June 1944 and was equipped with an Aero-Products contra-rotating propeller. As the XP-72 displayed exceptional performance during flight tests, an order for 100 production aircraft was awarded. The order included an alternate armament configuration of four 37 mm cannon. By this time, World War II had progressed to where the need was for long-range escort fighters and not high-speed interceptors. Furthermore, the advent of the new turbojet-powered interceptors showed greater promise for the interceptor role. Thus, the production order for the P-72 was cancelled.

Specifications (XP-72)

General characteristics





See also

Related development

Related lists



  1. ^ Note: Test pilot Tom Bellinger stated flatly that his no flights ever exceeded 500 mph with the dash 13 engine. With the planned but never installed dash 19 engine rated at 3,650 HP at 25,000 ft (3,000 HP at military power) a top speed of 504 mph at approximately 25,000 feet was expected. Planned further development of the dash 19 engine was expected to yield approximately 4,000 hp and a speed of 540 mph at 25,000 ft.


  1. ^ a b c Pearce, William. "Republic XP-69 Fighter". oldmachinepress.com. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  2. ^ Bodie 1974, p. 33.


  • Bodie, Warren. "The Whine of the Jug". Wings Magazine (Vol. 4, No. 4), August 1974, pp. 33–39.
  • Freeman, Roger A. Thunderbolt: A Documentary History of the Republic P-47. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01166-9.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War - Fighters (Volume Four). London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers) Ltd., 1961. ISBN 0-356-01448-7.
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: US Army Air Force Fighters, Part 2. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01072-7.
  • Jarski, Adam and Robert Michulec. P-47 Thunderbolt, P-35/P-43/XP-72 (Monografie Lotnicze 26) (in Polish). Gdynia: AJ-Press, 1996. ISBN 83-86208-41-4.

Media related to Republic XP-72 at Wikimedia Commons

USAAS/USAAC/USAAF/USAF fighter designations 1924–1962, and Tri-Service post-1962 systems