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  • 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.

     Updated: 6/26/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    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.

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    Curtiss XP-60C Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1941
    Type: Prototype Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Curtiss - USA
    Production Total: 5

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 33.92 feet (10.34 meters)
    Width: 41.34 feet (12.60 meters)
    Height: 12.30 feet (3.75 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 8,697 lb (3,945 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 10,803 lb (4,900 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-53 radial piston engine developing 2,000 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 414 mph (666 kph; 360 knots)
    Service Ceiling: 38,058 feet (11,600 meters; 7.21 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 3,890 feet-per-minute (1,186 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns (initial)
    6 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns (XP-60A)
    4 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns (eventual)

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XP-60 - Base Series Designation; original prototype with Rolls-Royce Merlin engine; 8 x 0.50 caliber machine guns.

    XP-60A - Fitted with Allison V-1710-75 inline engine; B-14 turbosupercharger; 6 x 0.50 caliber machine guns.

    YP-60A-1 - Proposed preproduction designation of XP-60 prototype.

    P-60A - Proposed designation of production quality XP-60

    P-60A-1 - Proposed designation of production quality XP-60C prototype.

    XP-60B - Prototype with V-1710-75 engine with SU-504-2 turbosupercharger; 6 x 0.50 caliber machine guns.

    XP-60C - Prototype with experimental Chrysler XIV-2220 engine; fitted with PW R-2800-53 instead and driving contra-rotating propellers; 6 x 0.50 caliber machine guns.

    XP-60D - XP-60 revised with Packard V-1650-3 engine; lost to crash in May 1943.

    XP-60E - Xp-60B with PW R-2800-10 engine

    YP-60E - YP-60A-1 with bubble canopy and four-blade propeller.

    XP-60F - Proposed revision of YP-60A-1 with alternate PW R-2800 engine.