Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
The USA's most important fighter at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Curtiss P-40 continued to give valuable service for the remainder of the war, though it never matched the excellence of the famous P-38/ P-47/P-51 trio. It had, after all, first flown as the X17Y (later the P-36 with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial) and been re-engined as the XP-40 with supercharged Allison V-1710 V-12 engine in October 1938. Large orders followed, but most P-40A aircraft went to the RAF (as the Tomahawk Mk I). The P-40B followed with cockpit armour and an armament of two 12.7-mm (0.5in) and four 7.62-mm (0.3-in) guns (the Tomahawk Mk IIA in the RAF). The P-40C (Tomahawk Mk IIB) featured self-sealing fuel tanks. The P-40D introduced a slightly shortened nose with radiator moved forward and deepened, this marked change in appearance being identified by a change of name to Kittyhawk in the RAF (all P-40s in American service being termed Warhawk); the P-40D corresponded with the Kittyhawk Mk I in RAF service. The first major USAAF version was the P-40E (Kittyhawk Mk IA), with six 12.7-mm (0.5-in) wing guns, 2,320 being built.
A Packardbuilt Rolls-Royce Merlin powered the P-40F (Kittyhawk Mk II). Mostproduced version was the P-40N (of which 5,219 were built), this version reverting to the Allison V-1710 engine and featuring shackles for up to 680 kg (1,500 lb) of bombs; in RAF service it became the Kittyhawk Mk IV. The majority of USAAF P-40s served in the Pacific, although many served in the Mediterranean theatre alongside the Commonwealth Tomahawks and Kittyhawks. Total USAAF production was 12,014, 1,182 Tomahawks and 3,342 Kittyhawks being built on British contracts.
Specification Curtiss P-40N-20 Warhawk (Kittyhawk MklV)
Type: single-seat fighter/fighterbomber
Powerplant: one 1015-kW (1,360-hp) Allison V-1710-81V-12 piston engine
Performance: maximum speed 609 km/h (378 mph) at 3200 m (10,500 ft); climb to 4570 m (15,000 ft) in 6.7 minutes; service ceiling 11580 m (38,000 ft); range 386 km (240 miles)
Weights: empty 2722 kg (6,000 lb); maximum take-off 5171 kg (11,400 lb)
Dimensions: span 11.38 m (37 ft 4 in); length 10.16 m (33 ft 4 in); height 3.76 m (12 ft 4 in); wingarea 21.92 m2 (236.0 sq ft)
Armament: six 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-guns in the wings, plus a bombloadof up to three 227-kg (500-lb) bombs