Curtiss P-36 Hawk

The Curtiss P-36 Hawk was designed as part of a competition to replace the P-26 Peashooter. In that competition the P-36 actually lost out to the Seversky P-35, but was nevertheless ordered in limited quantities as insurance against a failure of the P-35 project. In the end the P-36 was actually ordered in greater numbers than the P-35.

The P-36 was one of a wave of modern, all-metal monoplane fighters that appeared in the mid-1930s. It featured fully retractable landing gear (a feature deleted from some export models like the Hawk 75M). It had a powerful R-1830 engine that delivered over 1,000hp, giving the ‘Hawk’ a top speed of 300mph. Armament was rather weak for the time, with one .30cal and one .50cal machine gun, although this was increased with the addition of another pair of .30cals in the P-36C.

The P-36 saw the most action in its various export guises, equipping Chinese, Thai, British and French squadrons. In US service a handful of P-36s got airborne during the attack on Pearl Harbor, where they shot down several Japanese aircraft. That was the sole combat action of the Hawk in American hands, as the replacement P-40 took up most of burden during the next 12 months of the war.

Specifications:

Curtiss P-36A Hawk
RoleFighter
Crew1
Powerplant1x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-17 Twin Wasp, 1,050hp
Speed270mph (cruise)
313mph (max)
Ceiling32,700ft
Range748 miles
Armament1x .30cal machine gun, 1x .50cal machine gun
Ordnance
Dimensions28ft 6in (length)
37ft 4in (wingspan)
8ft 5in (height)
Wing Area236 sq.ft.
Weight4,567lb (empty)
5,650lb (gross)
6,010lb (max)
Number produced210
In service withUSAAF
Curtiss P-36C Hawk
RoleFighter
Crew1
Powerplant1x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-17 Twin Wasp, 1,200hp
Speed311mph (max)
Ceiling33,700ft
Range600 miles
Armament3x .30cal machine gun, 1x .50cal machine gun
Ordnance
Dimensions28ft 6in (length)
37ft 4in (wingspan)
8ft 5in (height)
Wing Area236 sq.ft.
Weight4,620lb (empty)
5,734lb (gross)
6,010lb (max)
Number produced30
In service withUSAAF

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