J 26 – North American P-51 Mustang (1945 - 1954)
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Swedish fighter aircraft J 26 - North American P-51 Mustang


The North American P-51 Mustang was without doubt one of the greatest fighter aircraft of WWII. It was one of the few fighters designed after the war had begun which were produced in vast numbers and served on every front. It was designed specifically for Great Britain, and it was also the Britains that gave the aircraft the name ”Mustang”.

In 1944, the Allied Powers at last admitted the Swedish Air Force to buy fighter aeroplanes. The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and the North American P-51 D Mustang were offered. The Air Staff’s choice fell on the Mustang. The most important matter was to equip the Fighter Wing F 16 at Uppsala with modern aircraft.  In March 1945, 50 Mustangs were purchased for F 16. This number included four machines which had made emergency landings in Sweden during combat missions during the war and been retained here.  Two of these was the version older P-51B, ”Razorback”.  46 aircraft were flown from the UK by American pilots in March and April 1945.  All Mustangs, both P-51B and P-51D were given the Swedish designation J 26

In March 1946, further 90 P-51D Mustangs were bought, this time for Wing F 4 at Östersund, which now was to be converted to fighters. A last batch of 21 aircraft was purchased, intended for F 21 at Luleå, our most northern Air Force Wing. Twelve of these Mustang was rebuilt as reconnaissance aircraft and thus got the designation S26.

The J 26 was fitted with a Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-7 (or in some cases V1650-3) engine developing max. 1720 (1650) hp.  It was armed with six 12,7 mm automatic cannons.

Most of the Swedish Mustangs were later resold abroad. Israel bought 25, the Dominican Republic 42 and Nicaragua 25 aircraft. Not a single plane was kept in Sweden.
One Mustang was brought back from Israel and is now displayed at Flygvapenmuseum. C/n 44-63992. Sw AF/n 26020. See photos on page 3. A story with photos about how this IDF Mustang "54" was donated to Sweden by the Israeli MoD can be read at
www.merchav-aviri.org (Direct link to the page with the Mustang story http://www.merchav-aviri.org/pages/content/view/46/40/ ).

The winter photos on this page is taken by
Bert Forsling. B. Forsling worked as a mechanic in the Swedish Air Force, includiing with Mustangs at Wing F 16. He emigrated to Canada in 1951 where he continued his aviation career. He returned later to Sweden and became Technical Manager of Sterner Aero. Thanks to Christer Sidelöv who brought about the photos to me.

Length: 9,84 m. Span: 11,30 m. MTOW 5.493 kg. Max. speed 700 km/h.



For the Model Builder

Airfix has since many years a plastic model kit of J 26 / P-51 D Mustang in scale 1:72. Catalouge number is 02098. Decals for Swedish Air Force # 26010, code red F ("Filip") of Wing F 16 and of RAF KH682, code GN-B. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Airfix model kit of J 26 /North American Mustang P-51 D/K in scale 1:72.   Decals for Airfix model kit of J 26 /North American Mustang P-51 D/K in scale 1:72.


Swedish fighter aircraft J 26 - North American P-51 Mustang
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© Lars Henriksson

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Updated 2010-03-17