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Curtiss XP-46

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The Curtiss XP-46 was a prototype US fighter aircraft. It was a development of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation to introduce the best features found in European fighter aircraft in 1939 into a successor fighter to the Curtiss P-40 then in production. A US Army Air Corps 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, with a wide-track, inward-retracting landing gear. The selected engine was an Allison V-1710-39 rated at 1,150 hp. The planned armament included two 0.5 inch synchronized machine guns in the forward fuselage and provisions for eight 0.3 inch wing mounted guns. The A.A.C. later added requirements for self-sealing fuel tanks and 65 lb of armor, that were to adversely affect performance.

Two prototype aircraft were delivered, designated XP-46A, with first flight occurring on February 15, 1941. However, the A.A.C. decided, while the XP-46s were under construction, to replace the procurement with the similarly powered development of the P-40. By the decision of July 1940 disruption of the Curtiss production line for new airframe was avoided. Subsequently, the performance during trials of the XP-46 was found inferior to the P-40 development, the P-40D.

Specifications (Curtiss XP-46A)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 30 ft 2 in (9.20 m)
  • Wingspan: 34 ft 4 in (10.47 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
  • Wing area: 208 ft² (19.3 m²)
  • Empty: 5,625 lb (2,551 kg)
  • Loaded: 7,322 lb (3,321 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff: 7,665 lb (3,477 kg)
  • Powerplant:Allison V-1710-39 twelve cylinder vee, 1,150 hp (858 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 355 mph (571 km/h)
  • Range: 325 mi (523 km)
  • Service ceiling: 29,500 ft (9,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: ft/min ( m/min)
  • Wing loading: 35 lb/ft² (171 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (0.26 kW/kg)


  • 2× .50 in (12.7 mm) synchronized machine guns in the forward fuselage
  • provisions for 8× .30 in (7.6 mm) wing-mounted guns.


  • Green, William (1961). War Planes of the Second World War - Fighters (Vol 4). London: Macdonald.

Related content

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Comparable aircraft:

Designation sequence: P-43 - P-44 - XP-45 - XP-46 - P-47 - XP-48 - XP-49

pl:Curtiss XP-46