Curtiss XP-60 Prototype Fighter Aircraft
The Curtiss XP-60 was evolved multiple times but never materialized as a serious USAAF fighter contender during World War 2.
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Many attempts by many American companies were made to replace outmoded and outgoing fighters in service to the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) in the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945). However, many such attempts from even the most prominent of military aviation companies fell by the wayside. Curtiss, largely remembered for its early-war entry over China - the P-40 "Warhawk" - put forth a bevy of possible fighter designs to the Army both pre-war and during the conflict. However, none met the level of success that the P-40 found, the XP-60 being one such entry into Curtiss' long and storied history.
The new fighter design, known in-house as "Model 90", was showcased to Army officials in January of 1941 - eleven months before the American entry into World War 2. The aircraft was built around the existing frame of the P-40 (P-40D) though with a more streamlined nose section (thanks to a relocated radiator) and an all-new laminar flow wing. Power was to come from the Rolls-Royce Merlin 28 inline engine - built stateside as the Packard V-1650-1 - a single-stage, supercharged engine of 1,300 horsepower output driving a three-bladed propeller unit from Curtiss-Electric. Seating was for one and a "tail-dragger" undercarriage retained - the latter carried over from another Curtiss fighter project - the XP-46 of which only two were constructed. Proposed armament became 8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns.