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  • Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk Single-Seat. Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter Aircraft

    The Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk designation covered P-40B and P-40C Warhawk models destined for Europe and elsewhere.

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

    The Curtiss P-40 "Tomahawk" became an offshoot of the classic American P-40 "Warhawk" monoplane fighter and were made up of early-form production Warhawks - namely the P-40, P-40B and P-40C models becoming the "Tomahawk I", "Tomahawk IIA" and "Tomahawk IIB" respectively. The B- and C-models were slightly improved forms of the base P-40 with more machine gun firepower and increased survivability and these marks gained considerable fighting experience in the skies over Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Southeast Asia and along the East Front. Lend-Lease ensured availability to many of the primary Allied players including Britain, Australia, Canada and the Soviet Union.

    The initial U.S. Army order for Warhawks constituted 524 aircraft of which 199 of these were of the P-40 mark with the export designation of Hawk 81A being assigned. Deliveries began in June of 1940. These aircraft were very lightly armed by comparison to frontline fighters of the day - 2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns fitted to the engine cowling were all that the pilot could muster against a target. Additionally these aircraft were delivered without cockpit armoring of any kind and - perhaps most importantly - lacked self-sealing fuel tanks despite Curtiss designers having the experience of observing the expanding air war over Europe.

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    Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk IIA Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1941
    Type: Single-Seat. Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Curtiss-Wright Corporation - USA
    Production Total: 1,180

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 31.69 feet (9.66 meters)
    Width: 37.27 feet (11.36 meters)
    Height: 12.30 feet (3.75 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 5,600 lb (2,540 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 7,606 lb (3,450 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Allison V-1710-33 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,040 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 351 mph (565 kph; 305 knots)
    Maximum Range: 730 miles (1,175 km)
    Service Ceiling: 32,398 feet (9,875 meters; 6.14 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 2,860 feet-per-minute (872 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in engine cowling
    4 x 0.30 caliber OR 0.303 inch medium machine guns in wings (two guns to a wing).

    Conventional drop bombs carried under the wings.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Australia; Canada; France; Soviet Union; United Kingdom; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    P-40 Tomahawk - Base Series Designation

    P-40 "Tomahawk Mk I" (P-40 / Hawk 81A) - Original fighter form.

    P-40B "Tomahawk Mk IIA" (P-40B) - 4 x wing machine guns; cockpit armoring; self-sealing fuel tanks.

    P-40C "Tomahawk Mk IIB" (P-40C) - Self-sealing fuel tanks, ventral jettisonable fuel tank; bomb provisions.