Curtiss XP-71

Last revised September 19, 1999

The Curtiss XP-71 was the result of a 1941 proposal to the Army by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri for a large escort fighter. The Curtiss design called for a high-wing monoplane with a tricycle landing gear. It was to be powered by a pair of turbosupercharged 3450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360-13 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radials. The engines were to be situated in underwing-mounted nacelles and were each to drive a pair of contrarotating propellers in a pusher arrangement. The pressurized cockpit was to have had two crew members seated in tandem. The proposed armament consisted of two 37-mm cannon and one 75-mm (!) cannon mounted in the nose.

Estimated maximum speed of the XP-71 was 428 mph at 25,000 feet. Service ceiling was to have been 40,000 feet, and an altitude of 25,000 feet was to be reached in 12.5 minutes. Estimated weights were 31,060 pounds empty, 39,950 pounds gross, and 46,950 pounds maximum. The dimensions were wingspan 82 feet 3 inches, length 61 feet 10 inches, height 19 feet 0 inches, and wing area 602 square feet.

The USAAF ordered two XP-71s, but later had doubts that such a large and heavy warplane would ever be viable, and the project never reached the prototype state. It was officially canceled on August 26, 1943.


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

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