Aviation of World War II

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P-40 A, B, C "Tomahawk"



P-40 Warhawk

The R-1830 engine, reliable and powerful for aircraft of the 30s, had become outdated by the beginning of the next decade, so the V-1710 V-engine was chosen for the new aircraft based on the Model 75. The installation of this engine on a revised version of the R-36A led to the appearance of the Model 81 aircraft, which first flew in October 1940 under the designation XP-40. The first serial modification of the new aircraft was the R-40 fighter. The first production P-40 fighters were equipped with the Allison V-1710-33 engine with a capacity of 1055 hp.

Engine 12-cylinder V-shaped in-line liquid cooled Allison V-1710-33 (c15) with a volume of 1710 cubic inches (28,022 cc) manufactured by Allison Division of General Motors ... Instead of a turbocharger, the motor was equipped with a conventional drive single-speed single-stage centrifugal supercharger and therefore had a relatively low altitude (3650 m). This was in line with the views of American military specialists, who intended to use the aircraft mainly for the defense of the US coast and ground attacks. And to carry out tasks of this kind, the fighter did not need excessive altitude.

Starting engine power 1040 hp / 777 kW at 2800 rpm.

Working power at an altitude of 4600 m 960 hp / 716 kW at 2600 rpm.

Combat power at the same altitude is 1090 hp / 813 kW at 3000 rpm.

The engine was equipped with a Curtiss Electric three-blade variable pitch propeller with a diameter of 3.36 m.

Armament On the P-40 there are two Colt Browning M2 machine guns of 12.7 mm, installed under the hood above the cylinder block (235 rounds of ammunition per barrel) and two Colt Browning machine guns of 7.62 mm in wings. On the P-40A, P-40B and P-40C two 12.7 mm Colt Browning M2 machine guns installed under the hood above the cylinder block (235 rounds of ammunition per barrel) and four 7.62 mm Colt Browning machine guns in the wings (by 500 rounds per barrel for internal machine guns and 480 rounds per barrel for external machine guns).

A 500-pound (227 kg) bomb could be hung under the fuselage. Under the wings, it was possible to carry two 100-pound (45 kg) bombs or six 10-kg bombs (M-42 or T-7) or six 13.6-kg bombs (M-5).

There was no armor protection of the vehicle, the fuel tanks were not protected.

By the end of 1940, 199 of these aircraft were built for the US Air Corps.

After the surrender of France, all 142 fighters manufactured for France were handed over to Great Britain, where they were given a new designation - "Tomahawk" Mk I.

In January 1941, the factories switched to the production of the P-40V, on which they installed the frontal armored glass of the cockpit canopy, the armored back of the pilot's seat, protected gas tanks and two additional wing-mounted machine guns of 7.62 mm caliber. The weight of the aircraft increased by 200 kg, but its flight performance deteriorated slightly. The British government also became interested in this modification, placing an order in America for 110 fighters, designated "Tomahawk" Mk II and Mk IIА (their difference was only in the radio station of the American or British model). At the request of the customer, the American wing-mounted machine guns were replaced with British 7.69 mm caliber.

The P-40C, produced since March 1941, had a slightly modified fuel system, so that an additional fuel tank with a capacity of 197 liters could be suspended under the aircraft fuselage. Bomb holders with a total weight of up to 227 kg appeared under the wing. The newly increased takeoff weight led to a decrease in the fighter's top speed to 555 km / h. A total of 193 P-40Cs were delivered to US Air Force units, and 328 aircraft of this type under the designation "Tomahawk" Mk IIB were intended for the RAF. (49 of them were later transferred to the USSR. Another 100 Tomahawk Mk. IIB (sometimes referred to as H-81A-3) were transferred to China. There they were used as part of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) led by General Claire Lee Chenno. "Flying Tigers").

Although imported vehicles had little combat value, England was in such conditions when there was no choice. However, soon after the "Battle of England" ended, it became possible to replace the American planes with English ones. The production of the Hurricane and Spitfire fighters grew and fully satisfied the army's need for aircraft. The battered Tomahawks were handed over to the USSR, Turkey and Egypt. In total, the Soviet Union received 146 vehicles from England and 49 directly from the United States.

«Tomahawk» Specification
XP-40 P-40 P-40B P-40C
Tomahawk - Mk. I Mk. II Mk. IIB
Crew 1
Length, m 9.67
Height, m 2.79 3.22 3.22 3.22
Wing span, m 11.35
Wing area, m ² 21.92
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 2356 2439 2559 2636
Loaded weight 2849 3079 3323 3424
Maximum takeoff weight 3116 3273 3468 3655
PE Allison V-1710- 19 33 33 33
Power, hp 1160 1055 1055 1055
Speed, km/h Maximum 526 575 566 555
at altitude, m 3468 4572 4572 4572
Climb, min min 3.2 5.3 5.1 5.7
to altitude, m 3658 4572 4572 4572
Ceiling, m 9449 9982 9906 8992
Range, km 740 1529 1175 1287
Maximum range, km 1899 2253 1979 2173
Photo Description
Drawing Curtiss Tomahawk IIA

Drawing Curtiss Tomahawk IIA

Curtiss P-40 (39-184)

Curtiss P-40 (39-184).

Curtiss P-40B

Curtiss P-40B.


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "American Warplanes of World War II" /under cor. David Donald/
  • "Famous planes and helicopters" /Tony Holms/
  • "Air war" /№ 52, 53, 54,55/