“What Might Have Been” The Piper PA48 ENFORCER – Photo Tour

EnforcerKeyImageWARBIRD RADIO – When you walk into the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force (NMUSAF) one of the airplanes that jumps out at you is the Piper Enforcer.  The Enforcer is one of those “what might have been” projects from the 80’s.  On the surface it’s reminiscent of the P-51 but on the inside it’s a completely new airplane.  According to the NMUSAF’s website, the PA48 is a turboprop-powered light close-support/ground-attack aircraft built by Piper Aircraft Corp. Lakeland, Fla.  By direction of Congress, the USAF evaluated the aircraft, beginning in 1983. Testing was conducted in 1984 and the Air Force decided not to order the Enforcer.

Since the Enforcer was never in the Air Force inventory, it was not given an official military designation and did not receive an Air Force serial number. Instead, it carries the Piper designation PA-48 and Federal Aviation Administration registration number N481PE.


Span: 41 ft. 4 in. Length: 34 ft. 2 in. Height: 13 ft. 1 in. Armament: Mixed armament includes two GE GPU 30mm gun pods, MK-82 snakeyes, Bristol GRV-7 rockets, CBU canisters and MK-20 Rockeye antitank rockets Engine: Avco-Lycoming YT-55-L-9 turboprop of 2,445 hp C/N:48-350001 Registration number: N481PE (no USAF serial number assigned)


Maximum speed: 403 mph Range: 921 miles Service ceiling: 25,000 ft.


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