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Curtiss XP-46

United States (1941)
Picture of Curtiss XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype
Picture of Curtiss XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype

The Curtiss XP-46 fighter program would be doomed from the start, effectively dooming the Curtiss company itself.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Curtiss XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype.  Entry last updated on 6/26/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

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second prototype had flown as the XP-46A, the system was already showing clear signs of never really matching even the outdated P-40 it was to replace.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.

Any available statistics for the Curtiss XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (355mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Curtiss XP-46's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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
2
2


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 1941
Type: Fighter Aircraft Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Curtiss - USA
Production: 2
Global Operators:
United States (cancelled)
Historical 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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Curtiss XP-46 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
30.18 ft


Meters
9.2 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
34.45 ft


Meters
10.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.99 ft


Meters
3.96 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
5,624 lb


Kilograms
2,551 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
7,663 lb


Kilograms
3,476 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Allison V-1710-39 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,150 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
355 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
571 kph


Knots
308 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
325 mi


Kilometers
523 km


Nautical Miles
282 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
27,999 ft


Meters
8,534 m


Miles
5.30 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
610 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
8 x 7.62mm machine guns in wings
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XP-46 - S/N 40-3053; first prototype sans armament.
• XP-46A - S/N 40-3054; second prototype (flyable); no armament fitted.