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Curtiss XP-46


Fighter Aircraft Prototype


United States | 1941



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



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/26/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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second prototype had flown as the XP-46A, the system was already showing clear signs of never really matching even the outdated P-40 it was to replace.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.

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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 XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype.
1 x Allison V-1710-39 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,150 horsepower.
Propulsion
355 mph
571 kph | 308 kts
Max Speed
27,999 ft
8,534 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
325 miles
523 km | 282 nm
Operational Range
2,000 ft/min
610 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 XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
30.2 ft
9.20 m
O/A Length
34.4 ft
(10.50 m)
O/A Width
13.0 ft
(3.96 m)
O/A Height
5,624 lb
(2,551 kg)
Empty Weight
7,663 lb
(3,476 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 XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype .
PROPOSED:
8 x 7.62mm machine guns in wings
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Curtiss XP-46 family line.
XP-46 - S/N 40-3053; first prototype sans armament.
XP-46A - S/N 40-3054; second prototype (flyable); no armament fitted.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Curtiss XP-46. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

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

[ United States (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (355mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
2
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
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
Aviation Timeline
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1 / 2
Image of the Curtiss XP-46
2 / 2
Image of the Curtiss XP-46

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
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 XP-46 Fighter Aircraft Prototype appears in the following collections:
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