Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships
HOME
AVIATION
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
WORLD WAR 2
X-PLANE


Curtiss XP-46


Fighter Aircraft Prototype


The Curtiss XP-46 fighter program would be doomed from the start, effectively dooming the Curtiss company itself.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 6/26/2017
National Flag Graphic

Specifications


Year: 1941
Manufacturer(s): Curtiss - USA
Production: 2
Capabilities: Fighter; X-Plane;
Crew: 1
Length: 30.18 ft (9.2 m)
Width: 34.45 ft (10.5 m)
Height: 12.99 ft (3.96 m)
Weight (Empty): 5,624 lb (2,551 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 7,663 lb (3,476 kg)
Power: 1 x Allison V-1710-39 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,150 horsepower.
Speed: 355 mph (571 kph; 308 kts)
Ceiling: 27,999 feet (8,534 m; 5.3 miles)
Range: 325 miles (523 km; 282 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,000 ft/min (610 m/min)
Operators: United States (cancelled)
The smallish XP-46 was to be the answer for the deficiencies encountered in the P-40 Warhawk platform. Unfortunately for Curtiss, the XP-46 would be doomed by underperformance and sluggish capabilities - essentially dooming the company itself form ever producing fighters for the military.

The XP-46 was to take everything right about the P-40 and make it better. Along the way, the drawbacks of the 1930s-era system would be ironed out. The result was to be a small nimble fighter capable of a dreamed-up speed of over 400 miles per hour and built in the same vein as the successful Bf 109 and the Supermarine Spitfires - a fighter the American forces could call upon to conduct most any type of operation on any front.

With production of the P-40 Warhawk in full swing, designers at Curtiss had sold the idea of a more powerful successor to the US Army Air Corps, to which two prototypes were ordered. The design called for the system to be powered by an Allison brand liquid-cooled engine capable of 1,150 horsepower fitted into a smallish frame. Armament - proposed but never fitted to either prototype - was consist of eight .30 caliber machine guns mounted in the wings with an additional two .50 caliber systems in the nose.

By the time the second prototype had flown as the XP-46A, the system was already showing clear signs of never really matching even the outdated P-40 it was to replace. Looking every bit like the P-40 itself, the XP-46 proved to be slow-responding for a fighter and the 400mph speed was never close to being reached. The samples were later scrapped and the Curtiss company was finished - leaving the P-40 Warhawk as the single symbol of their fighter-designing days of success behind.






Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun

Armament



PROPOSED:
8 x 7.62mm machine guns in wings
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose

Variants / Models



• XP-46 - S/N 40-3053; first prototype sans armament.
• XP-46A - S/N 40-3054; second prototype (flyable); no armament fitted.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map

www.MilitaryFactory.com. Site content ©2003- MilitaryFactory.com, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo