Military Factory logo

Curtiss XF14C

United States (1944)
Picture of Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype
Picture of Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype Picture of Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype

The Curtiss XF14C carrier-based fighter existed in only one prototype form before seeing cancellation in 1945.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype.  Entry last updated on 5/16/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Curtiss Aircraft enjoyed success with its inline piston-engined P-40 "Warhawk" series of fighters which went on to serve in many air forces of the time, seeing combat service throughout all of World War 2 in theaters from North Africa to China. The type was produced in nearly 14,000 examples and made the Curtiss-Wright Corporation a household name. However, the Warhawk served with the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) and Curtiss sought to reclaim its relationship with the air arm of the United States Navy (USN), now largely allied to the competing Grumman Aircraft concern for their carrier-based fighter needs. In 1941, a new USN requirement came down for a well-armed, carrier-borne monoplane interceptor and - in a departure from the norm which largely restricted USN fighter designs to air-cooled radial piston engines in nature - the new design would carry the equally new high performance Lycoming XH-2470-4 series liquid-cooled inline piston engine. Curtiss-Wright was awarded a development contract on June 30th, 1941 for two complete prototypes under the designation of "XF14C".

As development began on the new mount - formally designated as the "XF14C-1" - it was shown that the Lycoming engine of choice would not be able to meet the demands of the USN requirement. The focus now shifted to the developmental Wright XR-3350 "Duplex-Cyclone" air-cooled radial piston engine and the USN suggested this type for the first incomplete Curtiss XF14C-1 airframe. Curtiss engineers then allied the powerplant with 2 x three-bladed contra-rotating propellers to produce the new "XF14C-2" prototype which achieved first flight in July of 1944.

The new fighter aircraft fitted the Wright XR-3350-16 18-cylinder, twin-row air-cooled radial piston engine developing 2,300 horsepower. This supplied the aircraft with a top speed of 424 miles per hour (296 mph cruise) at altitude with a range of 1,350 miles and a service ceiling of nearly 40,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 2,700 feet per minute. Outwardly, the Curtiss design was conventional with a forward-set engine mounting and a traditional empennage. The cockpit was centered along the length of the fuselage length with a heavily glazed canopy offering up limited vision. The air-cooled engine forced a very deep forward fuselage which made the aircraft take on a rather portly appearance. The engine drove a pair of three-bladed propellers in a "contra-rotating" fashion for maximum output from the single engine fitting. The wings were straight appendages and low-mounted along the fuselage sides while all wing surfaces were rounded at their tips for a very clean and elegant look. The undercarriage was retractable with two main landing gear legs held under each wing. Standard armament was to be 6 x 0.50 caliber Browning heavy machine guns or 4 x 20mm cannons, all mounted in the wings.

The XF14C-1 was formally cancelled in December of 1943 which allowed focus on the XF14C-2 design. Despite the different engine fitting and the use of contra-rotating propellers, performance of the type was still lacking when compared to her contemporaries and exceptional vibrations of the aircraft in flight were noted during testing. Additionally, the XR-3350 series engine consistently showcased teething issues that proved it unsuitable for the short term. Its availability in the long term was, also, questioned as these were slated for large-scale use in the new four-engined Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers required of the Pacific Theater. By this point in the war, the US Navy was already fielding the excellent Grumman F6F "Hellcat" and Vought F4U "Corsair" carrier-based fighters with tremendous success against Japanese airmen, further damning the XF14C program as the USN's new carrier-borne interceptor/fighter. As such, in the early part of 1945 the Curtiss XF14C program was officially cancelled by the USN, leaving just one completed prototype to show for the effort. Initial work on a version of the XF14C with a pressurized cockpit for high-altitude work was born as the "XF14C-3" but this design was never furthered.


Picture of the Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype
Picture of the Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype



Any available statistics for the Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Borne Fighter 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: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (418mph).

    Graph average of 375 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 XF14C-2'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
1
1


  * 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: 1944
Type: Carrier-Borne Fighter Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Curtiss-Wright Corporation - USA
Production: 1
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 XF14C-2 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
37.73 ft


Meters
11.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
46.00 ft


Meters
14.02 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
16.99 ft


Meters
5.18 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
10,531 lb


Kilograms
4,777 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
14,950 lb


Kilograms
6,781 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Wright XR-3350-16 18-cylinder, twin row, air-cooled radial piston engine developing 2,300 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
418 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
673 kph


Knots
363 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,530 mi


Kilometers
2,462 km


Nautical Miles
1,329 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
39,698 ft


Meters
12,100 m


Miles
7.52 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,700 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
823 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

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

PROPOSED:
6 x 0.50 caliber Browning heavy machine guns OR 4 x 20mm cannons in wings.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• XF14C - Base Project Model Designation
• XF14C-1 - Initial Prototype; fitted with Lycoming XH-2470-4 liquid-cooled inline piston engine.
• XF14C-2 - Revised Prototype; fitted with Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone radial piston engine with 2 x three-bladed contra-rotating propellers.
• XF14C-3 - Proposed high-altitude variant with pressurized cockpit.