Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk.I: So Much Better It's Actually A New Aircraft

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Curtiss H-87A-1 Kittyhawk Mk.I

Hello and welcome to my suggestion for the first iteration of the Curtiss H-87 (aka P-40) in RAF service dubbed the Kittyhawk Mk.I, I feel this could come to game as a heavy fighter around 2.3 to help diversify the British Tree and provide a Multirole fighter with a different playstyle to the Hurricanes and spitfires.

History

Spoiler

Following the successful service of the earlier Tomahawk Mk.IIB variant, the RAF began looking at the P-40s successor, the XP-46, for its next order, however due to the design delays Curtiss was ordered to make an improved version of the P-40 for the USAF. This new variant, the P-40D actually ended up being a lot better than the XP-46 prototype and thus both the USAF and the RAF switched their orders from the P-46 to the P-40 variant, with the Kittyhawk Name originally reserved for the RAFs P-46s being reused on these new and Improved P-40s.

The new P-40s incorporated several design upgrades over the previous generation, The main one being the armament, before the P-40 and Tomahawks had used a mix of 2 x 12.7mm guns in the nose and 2 - 4 7.62/7.7mm guns in the Wings, however due to the inclusion of the more powerful Allison V-1710-39 engine and larger Radiators, there was no room left for the Nose mounted 12.7mms, therefore the decision was made to upgrade the wing mounted machine guns to 12.7mm.

This is where the US and UK designs begin to differ, most of the production for the new aircraft (Being dubbed the P-40D in US service and Kittyhawk Mk.I with the RAF) went to Britain due to the large order of 560 aircraft being ordered, this left the US with only a small number of early P-40Ds armed with 4 x 12.7mm guns, The RAF also received this version with the first 20 units also featuring the same 4 x 12.7mm gun config of the US variant, however from the 21st aircraft on they were refitted with 6 x 12.7mm making them almost identical to the later P-40E variants in US service with most of these upgraded versions being redirected to other Commonwealth nations such as South Africa and Australia.

The First Kittyhawks reached North Africa in december 1941 and by 1942 made up the main force of the Desert air forces fighting against the advancing German Forces. it was not all good though, like the previous Tomahawk before it, the Kittyhawk was outclassed by the Bf 109F models, especially the newer F4 variants specially modified for desert operations, however these were not available in large numbers and the Kittyhawk was more than capable of dealing with the worse Bf 109Es or most Italian aircraft.

With the american entry into the war the Kittyhawks were also complimented by the US P-40s and through sheer numbers they wore the Axis air forces down, with their role shifting more towards ground attack by 1943, gaining over 420 victories over Axis forces in this time.

Images

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image

A Kittyhawk Mk.I armed with a 250lbs bomb

image

A Colourised photo of a Kittyhawk taxiing with a RAF ground crewmember on its wing

A Kittyhawk Mk.I being loaded up with bombs by ground crew

several Kittyhawk Mk.Is flying in formation over the North African desert

A crashed Kittyhawk Mk.I after being shot down over North Africa

Specs/armament

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General characteristics

Crew: One
Length: 31 ft 8.5 in (9.665 m)
Wingspan: 37 ft 3.5 in (11.367 m)
Height: 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
Wing area: 236 sq ft (21.9 m2)
Airfoil: root: NACA2215; tip :NACA2209
Empty weight: 5,922 lb (2,686 kg)
Gross weight: 8,515 lb (3,862 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Allison V-1710-39 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 1,240 hp (920 kW)
Propellers: 3-bladed Curtiss-Wright electric constant-speed propeller

Performance

Maximum speed: 361 mph (581 km/h, 314 kn) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
Cruise speed: 308 mph (496 km/h, 268 kn)
Range: 716 mi (1,152 km, 622 nmi) at 70% power
Service ceiling: 29,100 ft (8,900 m)
Time to altitude: 15,000 ft (4,600 m) in 6 minutes 15 seconds
Wing loading: 35.1 lb/sq ft (171 kg/m2)
Power/mass: 0.14 hp/lb (0.23 kW/kg)

Armament

Guns:

  • 4 or 6 × 12.7mm (.50 cal) M2 Browning machine guns in the wings

Bombs:

  • 250 to 1,000 lb (110 to 450 kg) bombs to a total of 2,000 lb (910 kg) on hardpoints under the fuselage and two underwing

Place in game

Spoiler

I would propose this to come in its early configuration with 4 x 12.7mm guns potentially at 2.3 to give Britain a heavier alternative to the Early Spitfires and Hurricanes around that BR, In terms of gameplay it would be a Boom and Zoom fighter in Air battles but in ground battles would also find use with its fairly potent ground attack load and its 12.7mm machine guns that are still fairly potent against light vehicles at that BR range

Sources

Spoiler

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk - Wikipedia
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk variants - Wikipedia
Curtiss Kittyhawk
https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235138013-kittyhawk-mk-i-special-hobby-172-rfi/

2 Likes

I’ve always thought that the P-40 is a fabulous fighter. It often gets overshadowed by the P-51, but it deserves attention too! All of these variants you’ve posted as additions for the UK would be excellent. +1

3 Likes

A +1 from me, we honestly need more P-40 variants in game

2 Likes

+1 the various Hawks were extensively used by the RAF and deserve more visibility. These are very justified copy-pastes.

2 Likes

+1, the Kittyhawk deserves its place in this game, as it is an icon of the North African campaign

1 Like

+1

1 Like