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Curtiss XA-40


Single-Seat, Single-Engine Light Bomber Proposal


United States | 1943



"Intended for the land-based light bombing role for the U.S. Army, the proposed Curtiss XA-40 attacker failed to evolve beyond the scale model mockup stage."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/22/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Beginning in the late 1930s, the USAAC (to become the USAAF during World War 2) was consistently on the lookout for a new tactical attack aircraft capable of delivering a serviceable war load over range. This led to a series of specifications being drawn up around ever-changing requirements that led the various aeroplane makers of the day to ply their trade and deliver a myriad of proposals in turn - many of which failed to see the light of day before, and during, the Second World War.

For the Curtiss Aeroplane Company (Curtiss), this led to a short-lived design known as the "XA-40", centered on a single-seat, single-engined light-class bomber of rather conventional overall configuration. The XA-40 existed as an outcropping of the "XBTC" program (detailed elsewhere on this site) of which two prototypes were built, and eventually flown, for the purpose of selling the American Navy on the product. The XA-40 was to become an Army offering built specifically for the land-based service.

The aircraft would fit its engine in the nose in the usual way and feature a single crewman under a framed canopy just aft. The smoothly-contoured fuselage tapered towards the tail unit which was capped by a single vertical tail fin and low-set horizontal planes - all of the tail surfaces being rounded at their tips. The mainplanes would be seated under the cockpit floor close to midships and a typical tail-dragger undercarriage was to provide the functionality needed for ground-running.

Structural dimensions included a wingspan of 48 feet with an overall running length of 36.3 feet.

Power was to stem from a Wright R-3350-8 "Duplex Cyclone" air-cooled radial piston engine developing between 2,200 and 3,200 horsepower while driving a four-bladed propeller unit behind a large spinner assembly. Estimated performance specs included a maximum speed of 358 miles-per-hour (under 20,000 feet).

Proposed fixed, standard armament was intended to be 6 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine guns or 4 x 20mm autocannons. In addition to this, the aircraft would be rated for a war load of 2,000lb to include the carrying of aerial torpedoes as well as conventional drop bombs.

The XA-40 never materialized beyond the mockup stage and eventually fell to aviation history - disappearing in October of 1943 as wartime requirements changed and interest moved on to other, more capable, products.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Curtiss XA-40 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Light Bomber Proposal.
1 x Wright R-3350-8 "Duplex Cyclone" air-cooled radial piston engine developing between 2,200 and 3,200 horsepower while driving a four-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
Propulsion
357 mph
575 kph | 310 kts
Max Speed
26,247 ft
8,000 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
1,864 miles
3,000 km | 1,620 nm
Operational Range
2,200 ft/min
671 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Curtiss XA-40 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Light Bomber Proposal.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
36.3 ft
11.05 m
O/A Length
48.1 ft
(14.65 m)
O/A Width
13.0 ft
(3.95 m)
O/A Height
12,125 lb
(5,500 kg)
Empty Weight
17,119 lb
(7,765 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Curtiss XA-40 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Light Bomber Proposal .
PROPOSED, FIXED, STANDARD:
6 x 0.50 caliber Browning M2 Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) OR 4 x 20mm Autocannons (presumably installed in the wings).

PROPOSED, OPTIONAL:
Up to 2,000lb of ordnance in the form of an aerial torpedo or conventional drop bombs.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Curtiss XA-40 family line.
XA-40 - Project Designation; scale mockup completed but little else.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Curtiss XA-40. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Curtiss Aeroplane Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (abandoned) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (357mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
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1 / 1
Image of the Curtiss XA-40
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
GROUND ATTACK
CLOSE-AIR SUPPORT
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Curtiss XA-40 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Light Bomber Proposal appears in the following collections:
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