Tucker XP-57

Last revised September 6, 1999






The Tucker XP-57 was a proposal for a lightweight fighter, issued at a time when the trend was toward fighters of increasing weight and complexity.

In May of 1940, the Tucker Aviation Company of Detroit, Michigan issued a proposal to the USAAC for the construction of a lightweight fighter. Preliminary drawings showed a small single-seat aircraft built up around a small 720 hp Miller L-510 eight-cylinder inline engine mounted at mid-fuselage behind the pilot and driving a two-bladed propeller by means of an extension shaft. The all-wooden wing was low-mounted, and a retractable tricycle undercarriage was fitted. Loaded weight was estimated to be an amazingly light 3400 pounds.

Armament was to consist of three 0.50-inch machine guns or one 0.50-inch and two 20-mm cannon, all mounted in the nose. This was amazingly heavy armament for so small an airplane. Tucker had some rather optimistic estimates for the performance of their proposed fighter--they claimed that their airplane would be able to attain a speed of 308 mph and a range of up to 960 miles.

The USAAC found the Tucker proposal sufficiently interesting that they decided to order a single prototype under the designation XP-57. However, by February of 1941, before even any construction drawings had been completed, the Tucker company had gotten themselves into some severe financial difficulties, and the XP-57 project stalled. Since the trend was toward fighters of increasing weight and complexity, the XP-57 contract was allowed to lapse, and no prototype was ever completed.

Sources:

  1. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Enlarged Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.