World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Curtiss XP-46

Curtiss XP-46 (USAF photo)
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright Corporation
Designer Don R. Berlin
First flight 15 February 1941
Primary user United States Army Air Corps (intended)
Number built 2
Developed from Curtiss P-40
Developed into Curtiss XP-53

The Curtiss XP-46 was a 1940s United States prototype fighter aircraft. It was a development of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in an effort to introduce the best features found in European fighter aircraft in 1939 into a fighter aircraft which could succeed the Curtiss P-40, then in production.

Design and development

A United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) specification based upon a Curtiss proposal was the basis for an order placed in September 1939 for the XP-46. The requirements called for a single-engine, low-wing aircraft, slightly smaller than the P-40, and with a wide-track, inward-retracting landing gear. The selected powerplant was an 1,150 hp (858 kW) Allison V-1710-39 V-12 engine. The planned armament included two .50 in (12.7 mm) synchronized machine guns in the forward fuselage and provisions for eight .30 in (7.62 mm) wing-mounted guns. The USAAC later added requirements for self-sealing fuel tanks and 65 lb (29 kg) of armor, the weights of which were to adversely affect performance.


Two prototype aircraft were delivered, designated XP-46A, with first flight occurring on 15 February 1941. However, the USAAC decided in July 1940 (while the XP-46s were under construction) to replace the XP-46 procurement effort with an upgraded P-40 which would use the planned XP-46 engine. In this manner, a serious disruption of the Curtiss production line would be avoided.

Subsequently, the performance during trials of the XP-46 was found inferior to the upgraded P-40 (designated P-40D).

A myth surrounding the origins of the P-51 Mustang is linked to the North American Aviation (NAA) purchase of test data on the P-40 and P-46. NAA paid $56,000 to Curtiss for technical aerodynamic data on the XP-46 and although there are certain design similarities in the radiator/oil-cooler configuration, the new NA-73X (the company designation for the future P-51) even in preliminary design had already progressed beyond the XP-46.[1] In addition, after the war, NAA engineers revealed that they had learned of a European study (before the US entry into World War II) which indicated the value of a well-designed embedded radiator, and were eager to apply that knowledge to a new design.

Specifications (Curtiss XP-46A)

Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947[2]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 355 mph (309 knots, 571 km/h) at 12,200 ft (3,720 m)
  • Range: 325 mi (283 nmi, 523 km)
  • Climb to 12,300 ft (3,750 m): 5 min
  • Guns:
    • 2 × .50 in (12.7 mm) synchronized machine guns in the forward fuselage
    • Provision for 8 × .30 in (7.62 mm) wing-mounted guns

See also


  • Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Four: Fighters. London: MacDonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1961 (Sixth impression 1969). ISBN 0-356-01448-7.
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: US Army Air Force Fighters, Part 1. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1977. ISBN 0-356-08218-0.

External links

  • Curtiss XP-46
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.