Curtiss XP-60A 3/4 front view taken on Oct. 14, 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Curtiss XP-60A

 

 

Despite the first failures with the XP-60, the army aviation was not going to abandon plans to build the P-60. Back in November 1941, a contract was signed for the production of 1950 fighters modification R-60A,though with significant changes. By then, the Americans had great doubts about the reliability of the supply of British engines, while the U.S. will deploy their licensed production. In other words, the company was again required to develop a variant with the American engine Allison V-1710-75 (1425 hp), and on November 17 of the same year was proposed to work out several other modifications with alternative engines, in case Allison also fails to collect the right number of engines.

It would seem that the P-60 will be produced serially at least in some version, but the war with Japan, which began on December 7, 1941, has fundamentally destroyed these plans. On January 2, 1942, USAAC approved a new plan for the construction of aircraft in which the R-60A did not find a place at all. Instead, the focus was on the production of The Curtiss R-40K/R-40L and Republic P-47G-CU (this modification was built at Curtiss plants), thus fully loading industrial capacity. When the heat went, the army returned to the P-60 program, sensing reasonably that prototypes should be built anyway. Three modifications were chosen for the pilot construction:

The XP-60A (Model 95A, serial number 42-79423) was powered by an Allison V-1710-75 engine and a General Electric V-14 turbocharger

THE XP-60B (serial number 42-79425), equipped with the same engine, but with a turbocharger Wright SU-504-2

The XP-60S (serial number 42-794240, later designated Model 95C) was equipped with an experimental 16-cylinder Chrysler XIV-2220 engine.

The first of these was built HR-60A. From the design of the fighter XP-60, from which the whole series began, there were only some elements. By and large it was a new aircraft with heavily modified contours and a lightweight weapon composition. Ground testing of the prototype began at the end of October 1942 and soon ended in a fire in the engine due to insufficient cooling. The reason was found in the shortcomings of the turbocharger, which absorbed too much air and negatively affected the operation of the engine itself. This equipment had to be removed, and at the same time to modernize the cooling system. In the modified form of the HR-60A first took to the air on November 11, 1942 and at tests showed mediocre characteristics. Its estimated speed was 675 km/h at an altitude of 8,839 meters and 521 km/h at sea level at a take-off weight of 4,361 kg, which in principle met the requirements of USAAC, but it was not actually achieved. In 1943, the aircraft was disassembled into metal, using parts of it during the assembly of the XP-60S and XP-60E.

In November 1942, the army signed a contract to build 500 P-60A-1-CU fighters, but the first 26 aircraft were planned to be produced as part of pre-production and were designated YP-60A (serial numbers 43-32762 – 43-32787).

Credits

Joe Bauer.com

Curtiss-Wright Corporation

Encyclopedia of American Military Aircraft.

Specifications

Wingspan   12.59m
Length   10.26m
Height   3.77m
Wing area   25.56m2
Weight  
empty plane   3544kg
normal take-off   4366kg
Engine type 1 PD Allison V-1710-75
Power 1 x 1425hp
Top speed   676km/h
Cruise speed   578km/h
Practical range   1200km
Maximum speed   1524m/min
Practical ceiling   9906m
Crew   1
Weapons:

6 x 12.7 mm machine guns mounted in the wing.

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