Curtiss license production of P-47

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Pasted from Wikipedia: "Consequently, work on the P-60A was stopped on 20 December 1941, when the USAAC recommended that Curtiss concentrate on licence production of Republic P-47 Thunderbolts."

    Maybe Curtiss would have been better directed to producing the P-51 under license?
    The technology is closer to what they were already manufacturing (the P-40) and the P-51 was a good candidate to supplant the P-40. If Curtiss production of P-51's had gone well, they could have gradually increased P-51 production while phasing out the P-40.
     
  2. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    I think Curtiss would have been better off producing the P-51 rather than the P-47, or even being allowed to go ahead with production of the P-60. From what I’ve read their P-47s were plagued with problems and I don’t believe that any were used in combat. The Thunderbolt had a very complicated structure and many systems that were complicated for the time, miles ahead of the P-40. I know the AAC didn’t want the P-60, but it might have had more room for development than the P-40 which had its design origins back with the P-36 around 1935. By 1944 the basic structure design was almost ten years old during a period of fast advancement. The airframe had been developed as much as it possibly could and all that had resulted by the time of the P-40Q was a sub-standard fighter compared to what was already flying at the time.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #3 FLYBOYJ, Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
    Folks, Curtiss more than likely didn't have a choice in the matter.

    I'd like someone to show documented evidence from the AAF (not from some so-called aviation author/ historian) that there was anything wrong with Curtiss built P-47s (P-47Gs)

    Curtiss Built P-47s did see combat. One that was assigned to the 356th FG, 361st FS 42-25271 was shot down 24 April 44 - Lt. William B Ingram POW MACR322.
     
  4. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    At the time
    that Curtiss-Wright were instructed to take on P-47 manufacture, Lockheed, Republic and North American lines were not yet developed enough to produce enough of their fighters to compensate for the expected drop in Curtiss fighters while Curtiss tooled for P-47 production.

    The P-47 was a complex beast and the simple act of tooling up was complicated; the P-40 was just about the only fighter the USAAC/USAAF had at the outbreak of WWII and it wasn't only in big demand at home, foreign air forces were clamouring for it too. The P-40's ace-in-the-hole was that it was available.

    Tooling for the Republic fighter took too much time away from actually cranking out Curtiss fighters for too little gain at a time when the Allies just needed a fighter/any fighter and Curtiss's P-47 lines were eventually abandoned. Time is an near non-existent luxury during war emergency.
     
  5. billswagger

    billswagger Member

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    My laymans opinion is that the P-60 was mostly developmental and being designed in conjunction with the P-47.

    Utilizing the R-2800 on the small airframe probably would've run into similar difficulties found in such prototypes as the P-44.
    Rather than repeating the task of what had already been discovered it may have been suggested to just focus efforts on an airframe better suited for that engine and could operate more safely beyond level flight.

    I think the retooling for the production of the P-47 was done as a managerial effort to phase out the P-40 and replace them with more modern designs. Curtiss not really having shown a decent replacement probably could afford to contribute a factory or two to the efforts of the P-47. After all it was a war and planes were needed and production would've been an all inclusive task.

    Bill
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    when deciding which planes to make the supply of engines has to be taken into consideration. Please take a look at the ill starred P-60s history, How many different engines did they try to use in it as one engine after another dropped out?
    It can take a year or more to get a factory set up and running to produce engines in quantity and not just a few "ceremonial" roll out engines. In Dec. of 1941 there were several factories either producing R-2800s or in the middle of tooling up to make them in ADDITION to P&W. Some companies did very well producing aircraft engines and others made rather a hash of it.

    Please note that the -10 and -53 versions of the R-2800 were essentially the same engines used in the Hellcat with t e-53 modified to use contra-rotating propellers.

    While lighter the P-60 wasn't that much smaller than a P-47. About 2 feet shorter but with a longer wing span and only 25 sq ft less wing area. about 8.3%.
     
  7. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #7 Colin1, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
    Correct
    and guess what was available in numbers. The P-51A would eventually receive an order for around 300 aircraft in mid-1942 and that had the same altitude constraints as the P-40; it would be mid-1943 before the P-51B even flew and late 1943 before its Dallas sibling, the C, flew. The P-38 entered service around the same time as the P-51 order was made but the shortcomings of the early versions in the ETO are well documented. The J would not see service until mid-1944. The P-47D with hydromatic airscrew and water injection would not enter service until roughly a year after the P-51 order, mid-1943.

    There was nothing doing in the US procurement program, at the time, that could take up the slack from reduced P-40 production because nothing was 'ready enough'.

    You're right about one point, Curtiss-Wright's advantage was having something available in quantity up until, say, 1943. Their undoing was having nothing to replace it.
     
  8. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Good analysis, Colin. And to carry it one step further, Bell - which like Curtiss had available product - shifted its expansion efforts to building B-29's rather than "further improved" P-39's. The P-63 really was just for the Soviets.

    MM
     
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