Northrop aircraft designed the first operational night fighter called the P-61 Black Widow. It was an all metal, twin-engine, twin-tailed aircraft developed during World War II with a crew of 3. It had four forward firing 20mm Hispano M2 cannons mounted in the lower fuselage and four 50 cal M2 Browning machine guns in a remote dorsal gun turret.
The crew consisted of pilot, gunner and an radar operator. Although not produced in large numbers, the Black Widows were an effective night fighter used by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) in the European Theater, Pacific Theater, the China-Burma Theater and the Mediterranean Theater.
On 14 August 1945, a P-61 (Lady in the Dark) scored the last victory of World War II (VJ Day). When World War II ended the P-61 now designated F-61 served as a all-weather, day/night intercepter for the now called United States Air Force (USAF) until 1950.