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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Curtiss-Wright XP-71
Curtiss XP-71 wooden model.jpg
Model of the XP-71
Role Heavy escort fighter
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright Corporation
First flight n/a
Status Cancelled in 1943
Primary user United States Army Air Forces
Number built 0

The Curtiss XP-71 was a 1941 proposal for a United States advanced heavy escort fighter aircraft.

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Design and development

The proposed aircraft was to have a pressurized cockpit. Power would be provided by two Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radial engines each driving a set of pusher contra-rotating propellers.[1]

Based on studies of heavy, long-range fighters that had been undertaken prior to the American involvement in World War II, the United States Army Air Forces initially ordered two prototypes in November 1941.[2] The major role for the proposed aircraft was to act as an "escort" fighter to protect heavy bombers that would have to operate over occupied Europe even if Britain was conquered.[2]

Developed around two turbo-charged 3,450 hp (2,572 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-4360-13 "Wasp Major" pusher radials, the XP-71 would have been the largest fighter aircraft built in the war. The 28 cylinder four-row radial engines were still suffering teething problems; if the proposed engines did become available, their production was completely committed to other large aircraft programs including the B-29 Superfortress and F2G Corsair. The troublesome engine development eventually led to the B-29 using Wright R-3350 powerplants.

The final XP-71 design would have been larger than the contemporary B-25 Mitchell medium bomber and was considered a complex industrial project that would have taxed the resources of the Curtiss company as it was evident that development time would stretch out well beyond the projected need for the type.

At the time, Curtiss facilities were completely committed to producing existing aircraft; due to the need to keep their production lines open for the current types on order and with shifting combat requirements, the USAAF reconsidered the need for the project before prototype construction had begun. As conditions changed and it was clear that Britain would continue to be available for forward bases, the requirement for the advanced fighter project led to the cancellation of the XP-71 in early 1942.[2]

Specifications (XP-71, as designed)

XP-71 illustration by Curtiss-Wright engineer G. L. Flanders
XP-71 illustration by Curtiss-Wright engineer G. L. Flanders

Data from[citation needed]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 61 ft 10 in (18.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 82 ft 3 in (25.07 m) ->
  • Height: 19 ft 0 in (5.79 m)
  • Wing area: 602 sq ft (55.9 m2)
  • Empty weight: 31,060 lb (14,089 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 46,950 lb (21,296 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-4360-13 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 3,450 hp (2,570 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 428 mph (689 km/h; 372 kn) at 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
  • Range: 3,000 mi (2,607 nmi; 4,828 km)
  • Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,000 m)
  • Time to altitude: 25,000 ft (7,600 m) in 12 minutes 30 seconds
  • Wing loading: 51.6 lb/sq ft (252 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.147 hp/lb (0.242 kW/kg)


  • Guns:
    • 1× 75 mm (2.95 in) cannon
    • 2× 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ Curtiss XP-71 Fact sheet Retrieved: 11 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Dorr and Donald 1990, p. 124
  • Dorr, Robert F. and Donald, David. Fighters of the United States Air Force. London: Temple, 1990. ISBN 0-600-55094-X.
  • Jones, Lloyd S. U.S. Fighters: Army-Air Force 1925 to 1980s. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1975. ISBN 0-8168-9200-8.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 April 2019, at 00:38
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