Military Transport Aircraft
The Curtiss C-46, which had great capabilities, was always in the shadow of the , compared to which it was larger, heavier and more expensive. In wartime, these factors worked against him. He made a name for himself in the Far East, Pacific Ocean and after the war, taking part in battles in Korea and even in Vietnam.
The creation by Curtiss-Wright of the CW-20, which later became the C-46, was at that time its most expensive project. Work began in 1936 under the direction of designer George A. Page. A new generation of airliners was to replace the Curtiss Condor and other biplanes. Although the Douglas DC-3 had already been operated by American Airways and other customers, the CW-20 looked competitive as a larger commercial ship with a longer range. It was powered by two 1650 hp Pratt-Whitney R-2800-17 R-2800-17 "Double Wasp" radial engines. To ensure maximum internal volume, the CW-20 section consisted of two circular segments intersecting in a common line chords, which gave the erroneous impression of a "double-deck vessel".
Production began at Curtiss factories in Buffalo and New York. The first C-46 (41-5159) was delivered to the Air Force on July 12, 1942. Other orders followed. The Model C-46A (CW-20B), starting with the 26th production aircraft, had a cargo door, cargo floor and folding seats along the sides of the cockpit. 1,491 aircraft were built in Buffalo, St. Louis and Louisville, Kentucky. The US Air Force planned to use a second manufacturer, Higins Industries Incorporated from New Orleans, to produce 500 C-46A and 500 C-76 Caravan from Curtiss. The S-76 had a mostly wooden structure: this could come in handy in case of a shortage of strategic materials. When it became clear that there would be enough metal, this car did not go into production. The Higgins company managed to build only two S-46A aircraft, the first copy (43-43339) was delivered on October 1, 1944. Total built 3,181 aircraft.