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.


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

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