Curtis Wright P2 Warhawk

The Curtiss-Wright P2 Warhawk—the first combat aircraft produced within the Empire State—first saw service in 1932. The Warhawk was designed to carry significant weapons payloads and operate over long distances, to fulfill its role as a light bomber. Many pilots consider the Warhawk to be somewhat out-of-date, though the craft is still quite capable, particularly when precision strikes at long-distance targets are required.

The Warhawk’s unusual design reflects the craft’s mission: it carries three Wright R-1350 radial engines (one in the fuselage and one at each wingtip), each capable of delivering 736 horsepower. This unusual arrangement helps improve the craft’s stability during bombing runs, with the wingtip engines acting as counterweights that hold the Warhawk level. Unfortunately, this engine configuration tends to result in poor handling in a dogfight. To alleviate this handling problem, Curtiss-Wright replaced the traditional tail assembly with wingtip rudders, with limited success.

Despite the Warhawk’s unusual appearance, unconventional design and handling difficulties, it can carry an awesome array of weaponry. The cannons (mounted on the wing) are of several different calibers, making the craft a versatile gunship. Poor maneuverability can limit the usefulness of these weapons, though a good pilot can more than make up for this deficiency.

The Warhawk is a product of Curtiss-Wright’s Empire State arm, and the majority of the five hundred built to date came out of the Buffalo factory.

The remainder were built at the Louisville plant in Appalachia, which was constructed to take advantage of that country’s lower wages. Curtiss-Wright uses Appalachia’s semi-neutral status to facilitate sales to third parties and avoid the Empire State’s restrictions on trade with hostile powers. However, the market for the Warhawk has steadily declined as more modern craft enter service, and reports from the Buffalo plant suggest that production of the plane may soon be suspended in favor of an as-yet unannounced design. Warhawk manufacturing at the Louisville plant looks set to continue, probably with a view to sales in less discerning and more price-conscious nations such as Utah, Free Colorado and Arixo.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License