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Curtiss P-40D-N Warhawk in U.S.A.A.F., French and Foreign Service (Aircam Aviation 7)
By Christopher Shores
Publisher: Osprey 1969 52 Pages
PDF 7 MB
When a developed version of the P-40C Tomahawk with a more powerful Allison V-1710-34 engine and increased armament of four .50 in. wing-mounted machine guns was produced by Curtiss as the Hawk 87A and ordered by the British Government, the U.S. Army Air Force was not long in taking an interest, and th:s aircraft was ordered as the P-40D. An early requirement for a further increase in armament was swiftly met, and after 22 P-40Ds had left the line, the first P-40E with six wing guns appeared. Orders for 2,320 of this version were placed, though 1,500 of these were purchased under Lend-Lease funds for export to Britain.
Deliveries to fighter groups began during middle and late 1941, but it was quickly evident from observation of the war in Europe that the Allison engine did not offer sufficient altitude performance for a first rate fighter, and in an effort to improve performance a Rolls Royce Merlin engine was installed in the basic airframe in November 1941. This version was put into production as the P-40F, powered by a licence-built Packard Merlin V-1650-1; the aircraft also featured a lengthened rear fuselage, and of 1,311 built the majority were retained by the Army Air Force, though 100 were released to Russia and some were later supplied to the French. Due to shortages of the Packard Merlin powerplant, production of Allison-engined variants continued, 600 P-40Ks being ordered in October 1941, originally for China. The outbreak of war changed these plans, and most were retained for U.S. service. A further 700 were ordered, and deliveries commenced in August 1942, most going to units in Alaska and the Aleutians, some being supplied to Canadian squadrons in the same area. Early models of the K featured the short fuselage of the E, while later models had the longer fuselage of the F.