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Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando

Twin-Engine Long-Range Transport Aircraft

Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando

Twin-Engine Long-Range Transport Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The often overshadowed Curtiss C-46 Commando of World War 2 fame superseded the Douglas DC-3 transports of the era.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1941
STATUS: Active, Limited Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Curtiss-Wright - USA
PRODUCTION: 3,181
OPERATORS: Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Cambodia; Canada; China (Taiwan); Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curacao; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; West Germany; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Laos; Lebanon; Luxembourg; Mexico; Nicaragua; Norway; Paraguay; Peru; Republic of the Congo; South Korea; Soviet Union; Sweden; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay; Venezuela
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Curtiss-Wright C-46A model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 4
LENGTH: 76.44 feet (23.3 meters)
WIDTH: 78.54 feet (23.94 meters)
HEIGHT: 21.75 feet (6.63 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 32,408 pounds (14,700 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 45,007 pounds (20,415 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51 "Double Wasp" 18-cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engines developing 2,000 horsepower each and driving four-bladed propeller units.
SPEED (MAX): 270 miles-per-hour (435 kilometers-per-hour; 235 knots)
RANGE: 3,150 miles (5,070 kilometers; 2,738 nautical miles)
CEILING: 27,559 feet (8,400 meters; 5.22 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,175 feet-per-minute (358 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



None.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• CW-20T - Twin-Finned Prototype Model
• CW-20A - Converted from the CW-20T Prototype Model; revised tail unit now featured single rudder fin assembly; flattened tailplane halves.
• C-55 - US Army Air Corps evaluation designation of the CW-20A model.
• CW-20B - US Army Air Corps militarized order production model of the CW-20A/C-55 evaluation model; redesignated to the C-46.
• C-46 - Curtiss Model CW-20B based on the CW-20B.
• C-46A - Improved and definitive C-46 model; 1,493 produced; fitted with R-2800-51 radial engines; reinforced fuselage flooring; accommodations for up to 50 troops; large port-side loading/unloading door.
• XC-46B - Stepped windshield
• XC-46C - Became C-46G, then XC-113
• C-46D - Improved C-46A; troop transport; double-door model with modified nose assembly.
• C-46E - Single Door Model; 17 produced.
• C-46F - Improved C-46A; utility transport; 234 produced.
• C-46G - XC-46C model
• XC-113 - C-46G model
• R5C - United States Navy Model
• R5C-1 - United States Marine Corps Model; 160 produced.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando Twin-Engine Long-Range Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The United States Air Force utilized the C-46 Commando series as their primary transport workhorse in the Pacific Theater of War during the Second World War. The system was initiated to replace the Douglas series of DC-3 transports and first appeared in prototype form in March of 1940 as the twin-rudder CW-20T. Design specifications called for the Commando to feature a pressurized cabin for up to 36 combat-ready troops, longer range than anything available to the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) and an above average cruising speed.

The CW-20T prototype later evolved into the CW-20A that featured a revised tail in the form of the more recognizable single rudder assembly. Later development focused in on the requirements as put forth by the United States Army Air Corps which put the CW-20A under trials with the designation of C-55, which consequently ordered a production version of the model now designated as the CW-20B.

The CW-20B was redesignated to the more familiar C-46 identification. Final trial models were provisioned to fit up to 45 combat-ready troops and fitted with two Pratt & Whitney-brand R-2800-51 radial engines. The C-46 entered service with the plain designation of simply "C-46" in the Pacific Theater - and used almost exclusively there up until about March of 1945, to which the Commando would be seen across the European Theater as well. From its initial acceptance into service with the USAAF, the C-46 system would become the heaviest aircraft in that branch of service and make a name for itself as a true warrior workhorse, transplanting troops and cargo alike, across battlefields and beyond.

Variants abound with the C-46 Commando. The United States Navy utilized a designation of R5C for their own Commando version with 160 models of the R5C-1 going to the United States Marine Corps. Specialized utility and troop models would be produced from the hundreds to the thousands. The C-46A Commando itself could carry up to 50 infantrymen and load/unload cargo through a large cargo door on the port side of the aircraft.

The C-46 was officially retired from service in 1968, replaced by the equally effective C-130 series of transports.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (270mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
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LDN
 
  PAR
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  BER
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  MSK
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  TKY
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  SYD
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Curtiss-Wright C-46A's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
3181
3181

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
In the Cockpit...
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.