P-40 “Warhawk”

News, Plane of the Week June 27, 2017

Curtiss P-40N-5-CU “Warhawk”
S/N 42-105270

Crew:   One
Engine:   One Allison V-1710-81 inline reciprocating; 1,200 hp
Wingspan:   37 ft 4 in
Length:   33 ft 4 in
Height:   12 ft 4 in
Weight:   6,300 lbs empty; 8,850 lbs loaded
Speed:   350 mph at 16,400 feet; 290 mph cruise
Range:   750 miles
Ceiling:   31,000 ft
Armament:   Six .50 cal. machine guns; Up to 500 lbs of bombs
Cost:   $44,359 (actual)


In May 1939, following evaluation trials in competition with other pursuit prototypes, the XP-40 was declared the most acceptable. An order for 524 P-40s was placed. The production continued with the P-40B which is similar to the British Tomahawk II. The P-40B introduced armor protection for the pilot and doubled the wing firepower with four .30 caliber machine guns as well as two .50 caliber guns mounted on the engine bowling. Curtiss built 131 P-40Bs in 1941 before moving on to the P-40C, which had self-sealing fuel tanks.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, a few P-40s managed to take flight to fight against the Japanese aircraft. The P-40 did fall short on performance compared with other American fighters in the service at the outbreak of the war.

Curtiss produced a total of 13,783 P-40s, 5,219 of which were N models, in various configurations, such as the Warhawk, Kittyhawk, and the Tomahawk. These fighters served through the war on every front with no less than 28 Allied nations. No other fighter saw wider service.

Hill Air Force Base had the responsibility for the overhaul of the P-40 in the winder of 1941-1942. In August 1944 a production line was set up for the storage of various aircraft, Hill AFB stored 250 operational-ready P-40s during World War II.

The P-40N at the Hill Aerospace Museum is actually a composite of two aircraft. One is a fiberglass P-40E replica acquired by the Museum, and major parts from a P-40N that crashed in Alaska during World War II. The data plates on the crashed aircraft were unreadable, so the serial number of another 11th Air Force P-40N from the same base was chosen by the United States Air Force Museum for the air frame. The original aircraft was delivered to the 11th Air Force at Elmendorf AAF in July 1943. It was flown by the 11th Fighter Squadron until October 1944 when it was scrapped.

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