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P-3 Hawk

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The Curtiss P-3 Hawk was a United States biplane fighter of the late 1920s, similar to the P-1 Hawk but with a radial R-1340-3 Wasp engine. Six were built in all.

The first of the type, designated XP-3A, was the last P-1A (serial 26-300). Originally intended to be powered by a 390 hp Curtiss R-1454, the engine was deemed unsatisfactory and the 410 hp Pratt & Whitney engine substituted. A second "XP-3A" (serial 28-189) included a cowling and spinner to reduce the drag due to the radial engine; entered in the National Air Races of 1929, its speed of 186.84 mph gave it second place in the Thompson trophy race.

The remaining four craft were production P-3As, but primarily used to service test the Wasp engine. In addition to the significant increase in drag, the radial engine also interfered with the pilot's view. Addition of a Thompson ring cowling worsened the visibility problem, and had only a limited effect on speed.

As a further experiment, the two XP-3As were refitted with 300 hp R-985 Wasp Jr. and confusingly designated "XP-21".

The name Hawk was used by many other aircraft in 1924 to 1948 USAAC naming system. In the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system P was used for maritime patrol, and the P-3 designation was used on the P-3 Orion.


  • Lloyd S. Jones, U.S. Fighters (Aero Publishers, Inc., 1975) pp. 17-19 ISBN 0-8168-9200-8

See also

Comparable aircraft

Performance Designation sequence

Related lists