Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: leading hall panorama (P-40 et al)
Image by Chris Devers
See more photos of the, as well as the Wikipedia article.
Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air plus Space Museum | Curtiss P-40E Warhawk (Kittyhawk IA):
Whether recognised as the Warhawk, Tomahawk, or Kittyhawk, the Curtiss P-40 proven to be a lucrative, flexible fighter throughout the initially half of World War II. The shark-mouthed Tomahawks which Gen. Claire Chennault’s "Flying Tigers" flew inside China from the Japanese stay amidst the best airplanes of the war. P-40E pilot Lt. Boyd D. Wagner became the initial American ace of World War II whenever he shot down six Japanese aircraft inside the Philippines inside mid-December 1941.
Curtiss-Wright built this airplane because Model 87-A3 plus delivered it to Canada because a Kittyhawk I inside 1941. It served till 1946 inside No. 111 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. U.S. Air Force personnel at Andrews Air Force Base restored it inside 1975 to represent an aircraft of the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, 14th Air Force.
Donated by the Exchange Club inside Memory of Kellis Forbes.
Curtiss Aircraft Company
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Overall: 330 x 970cm, 2686kg, 1140cm (10ft 9 15/16in. x 31ft 9 7/8in., 5921.6lb., 37ft 4 13/16in.)
Single engine, single seat, fighter aircraft.
Whether it was the Tomahawk, Warhawk, or Kittyhawk, the Curtiss P-40 had been a effective plus versatile fighter aircraft throughout the initial half of World War II. The shark-mouthed Tomahawks which General Claire Chennault led from the Japanese stay amidst the best airplanes of the war. In the Phillipines, Lt. Boyd D. Wagner became the initially American ace of World War II when flying a P-40E whenever he shot down six Japanese aircraft throughout mid-December 1941. P-40s were first-line Army Air Corps fighters at the begin of the war even so they shortly gave method to more advanced designs like the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt as well as the Lockheed P-38 Lightning (see NASM collection for both aircraft). The P-40 is not rated amidst the greatest total fighters of the war nevertheless it had been a tough, efficient shape obtainable in big numbers early inside the war whenever America plus her allies urgently necessary them. The P-40 stayed inside manufacturing from 1939 to the finish of 1944 along with a total of 13, 737 were built.
Design engineer Dr. Donovan R. Berlin layed the foundation for the P-40 inside 1935 whenever he tailored the agile, however, lightly-armed, P-36 fighter built with a radial, air-cooled engine. The Curtiss-Wright Corporation earned a creation contract for 210 P-36 airplanes inside 1937-the biggest Army airplane contract granted because World War I. Worldwide, fighter aircraft designs matured quickly throughout the late 1930s plus it was shortly apparent which the P-36 was no match for new European designs. High altitude performance inside specific became a priceless commodity. Berlin tried to better the P-36 by redesigning it into accommodate a turbo-supercharged Allison V-1710-11 inline, liquid-cooled engine. The new aircraft was designated the XP-37 however proven unpopular with pilots. The turbo-supercharger wasn’t reliable plus Berlin had located the cockpit too far back found on the fuselage, restricting the view to the front of the fighter. However, whenever the engine wasn’t providing trouble, the more-streamlined XP-37 was much quicker than the P-36.
Curtiss tried again inside 1938. Berlin had modified another P-36 with a new Allison V-1710-19 engine. It was designated the XP-40 plus initially flew about October 14, 1938. The XP-40 looked promising plus Curtiss offered it to Army Air Corps leaders that evaluated the airplane at Wright Field, Ohio, inside 1939, together with many alternative fighter proposals. The P-40 claimed the competition, following several modifications, plus Curtiss received an purchase for 540. At this time, the armament package consisted of 2 .50 caliber machine guns inside the fuselage plus 4 .25 caliber machine guns inside the wings.
After creation started inside March 1940, France ordered 140 P-40s however the British took delivery of these airplanes whenever Paris surrendered. The British called the aircraft Tomahawks nevertheless found they conducted improperly inside high-altitude fight over northern Europe plus relegated those to low-altitude operations inside North Africa. The Russians purchased over 2,000 P-40s however details of their operational history stay unknown.
Whenever the United States announced war, P-40s equipped most Army Air Corps’s front line fighter units. The plucky fighter eventually saw fight inside virtually each theatre of operations being the best inside the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater. Of all of the CBI groups which gained the many notoriety of the whole war, plus remains to the day synonymous with all the P-40, is the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or the Flying Tigers. The device was organized following the Chinese gave past U. S. Army Air Corps Captain Claire Lee Chennault virtually 9 million $ inside 1940 to purchase aircraft plus recruit pilots to fly up against the Japanese. Chennault’s most crucial help in the Chinese government came from Madam Chiang Kai-shek, a Lt. Colonel in the Chinese Air Force as well as for a time, the service’s total commander.
The cash from China diverted an purchase located by the British Royal Air Force for 100 Curtiss-Wright P-40B Tomahawks nevertheless ordering airplanes was just 1 significant step inside creating a fighting air device. Trained pilots were required, plus instantly, because tensions over the Pacific escalated. On April 15, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt quietly finalized an Executive Order permitting Chennault to recruit straight within the ranks of American military reserve pilots. Within a some months, 350 flyers joined from pursuit (fighter), bomber, plus patrol squadrons. In all, regarding half the pilots inside the Flying Tigers came within the U. S. Navy plus Marine Corps whilst the Army Air Corps provided one-third. Factory test pilots at Bell, Consolidated, plus additional firms, plus commercial airline pilots, filled the remaining slots.
The Flying Tigers flew their initial mission about December 20. The unit’s name was produced within the ferocious fangs plus teeth painted found on the nose of AVG P-40s at either side of the distinctive, big radiator air consumption. The idea is mentioned to originate from photos inside a magazine which showed Royal Air Force Tomahawks of No. 112 Squadron, working inside the western desert of North Africa, decorated with fangs plus teeth painted about their air intakes. The Flying Tigers were the initially real opposition the Japanese military encountered. In lower than 7 months of action, AVG pilots ruined regarding 115 Japanese aircraft plus lost just 11 planes inside air-to-air fight. The AVG disbanded about July 4, 1942, as well as its assets, including a some pilots, became a piece of the U. S. Army Air Forces (AAF) 23rd Fighter Group inside the newly triggered 14th Air Force. Chennault, today a Brigadier General, assumed control of the 14th AF plus by war’s end, the 23rd was among the highest-scoring Army fighter groups.
As wartime experience inside the P-40 installed, Curtiss produced several modifications. Engineers added armor plate, better self-sealing gas tanks, plus more effective machines. They modified the cockpit to boost exposure plus changed the armament package to six, wing-mounted, .50 caliber machine guns. The P-40E Kittyhawk was the initial model with this weapon package plus it entered service inside time to serve inside the AVG. The last model produced inside amount was the P-40N, the lightest P-40 integrated number, plus much quicker than past models. Curtiss built a single P-40Q. It was the quickest P-40 to fly (679 kph/422 mph) nevertheless it couldn’t match the performance of the P-47 Thunderbolt as well as the P-51 Mustang thus Curtiss ended development of the P-40 series with this model. Additionally to the AAF, countless Allied countries purchased plus flew P-40s including England, France, China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, plus Turkey.
The Smithsonian P-40E didn’t serve inside the U. S. military. Curtiss-Wright built it inside Buffalo, NY, because Model 87-A3 plus delivered it to Canada because a Kittyhawk IA about March 11, 1941. It served inside No. 111 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Whenever the Japanese navy moved to attack Midway, they delivered a diversionary battle group to menace the Aleutian Islands. Canada moved No. 111 Squadron to Alaska to aid protect the area. After the Japanese danger diminished, the device returned to Canada plus eventually moved to England without its P-40s. The RCAF announced the NASM Kittyhawk IA excess about July 27, 1946, as well as the aircraft eventually returned to the United States. It had many owners before ending up with all the Explorer Scouts youth group inside Meridian, Mississippi. During the early 1960s, the Smithsonian started looking for a P-40 with a recorded history of service inside the AVG nevertheless found none. In 1964, the Exchange Club inside Meridian donated the Kittyhawk IA to the National Aeronautical Collection, inside memory of Mr. Kellis Forbes, a neighborhood guy dedicated to Boys Club escapades. A U. S. Air Force Reserve team airlifted the fighter to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, about March 13, 1964. Andrews personnel restored the airplane inside 1975 plus painted it to represent an aircraft of the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, 14th Air Force.
• • •
Quoting from Wikipedia | Curtiss P-40 Warhawk:
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter plus ground attack aircraft which initial flew inside 1938. It was chosen by the air forces of 28 countries, including those of many Allied powers throughout World War II, plus stayed inside front line service till the finish of the war. It was the 3rd most-produced American fighter, following the P-51 plus P-47; by November 1944, whenever manufacturing of the P-40 ceased, 13,738 had been built, all at Curtiss-Wright Corporation‘s leading manufacturing center at Buffalo, New York.
The P-40 shape became a modification of the past Curtiss P-36; this reduced development time plus enabled a fast entry into manufacturing plus operational service.
Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps adopted for all models, generating it the official name inside the United States for all P-40s. The British Commonwealth plus Soviet air forces utilized the name Tomahawk for models equal to the P-40B plus P-40C, as well as the name Kittyhawk for models similar to the P-40D plus all later variants.
The P-40’s shortage of the two-stage supercharger created it inferior to Luftwaffe fighters including the Messerschmitt Bf 109 or the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 inside high-altitude fight plus it was seldom employed inside operations inside Northwest Europe. Between 1941 plus 1944, yet, the P-40 played a important character with Allied air forces inside 3 main theaters: North Africa, the Southwest Pacific plus China. It moreover had a extensive character inside the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Alaska plus Italy. The P-40’s performance at excellent altitudes wasn’t because important inside those theaters, where it served because an air superiority fighter, bomber escort plus fighter bomber.
P-40s initially saw fight with all the British Commonwealth squadrons of the Desert Air Force (DAF) inside the Middle East plus North African advertisments, throughout June 1941. The Royal Air Force‘s No. 112 Squadron was amidst the initially to work Tomahawks, inside North Africa, as well as the device was the initial to feature the "shark mouth" logo, copying synonymous markings about several Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine fighters. [N 1]
Although it gained a post-war standing because a mediocre shape, appropriate just for close air support, more latest analysis including scrutiny of the records of individual Allied squadrons indicates which the P-40 conducted amazingly perfectly because an air superiority fighter, sometimes suffering serious losses, and taking a fairly thick toll about enemy aircraft. The P-40 offered the more benefit of cheap, that kept it inside manufacturing because a ground-attack fighter lengthy following it was obsolete inside the air superiority part.
As of 2008, 19 P-40s were airworthy.
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