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The Curtiss P-40

The Curtiss P-40 although not an exceptional aircraft, was the most important American fighter during the first two years of World War II. Its two strengths, during this time was its immediate availability for service, and its availability in large quantity. In fact from 1939, no fewer than 13,738 P-40ís came off the assembly line, a number that would place the fighter in third place for production behind such aircraft such as the Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt", and the North American P-51D "Mustang". Its operational service was extensive, and it was used on all fronts, in Europe, Africa, the Pacific, and Russia, bearing the insignia of almost all the Allied countries.

The P-40 project was started, in March 1937. It was based upon another Curtiss design the P-36A "Hawk". On October 14, 1938 the first P-40 took to the air with an Allison V-1710 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. It achieved overall good results, and on April 27, 1939, the War Department issued an order for construction of 524 P-40ís.

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