Jets45 Histories

Curtiss XA-43/XP-87 "Blackhawk"

The Model 29A (XP-87)

    Engine: 4x Westinghouse J-34-WE-7 turbojets
    Wing Span: 60'
    Length: 62' 10''
    Height: 20'
    Weight: Empty 25,930 lb / Loaded 49,900 lb
    Maximum Speed: 600 mph
    Ceiling: 41,000'
    Range: 1,000 miles
    Crew: 2
    Armament: N/A
The XP-87 "Blackhawk" was Curtiss's only all jet powered aircraft, as well as the last aircraft produced by the Curtiss company. Known by Curtiss as Model 29A, the XP-87 was first ordered by the USAAF at the beginning of 1945 with a contract for two prototypes, designed specifically for the attack roll under the designation XA-43 (Model 29). In March that year the USAAF announced a competition for a jet engineered replacement for the Northrop P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter, Curtiss proposed adapting the XA-43 specifically for the roll with the company designation of Model 29A. The Army initially favored the 29A ordered two prototypes. The XA-43 was canceled and all funds as well as the serial numbers for the two prototypes were transferred to the Model 29A with the designation of XP-87 and name "Blackhawk".

A large number of design changes relating to the armament were under taken, initially it was to have been fitted with two automtaically-operated nose and tail turrets armed with 2x 0.50 machine guns and internally mounted rockets (Model 29) this was then changed to a novel nose turret fitted with 4x 20mm cannons which would allow firing angles of zero to 90 degrees (Model 29A)

Finally the first prototype was ready in 1948! taking to the air on 4/3/1948 with the second soon afterwards, but time did not wait for Curtiss and the contract was canceled on the 10/10/1948 in favor of the newer and more potential Northrop F-89 "Scorpion". This was the end of the line for Curtiss Company's aeroplane division with all the assets being sold to North American Aviation.

The first XP-87
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