In 1938, chief engineer Willis Wells of the St Louis Airplane
Division of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation began
the development of a single-seat fighter based on the
A-19R tandem two-seat military basic trainer. Designated
CW-21, the fighter had a Wright R-1820-G5
Cyclone nine-cylinder radial engine rated at 1,000hp for take-off and 850hp at 1830m, and an allmetal
stressed-skin structure with a semi-monocoque
fuselage. Mainwheels retracted into clamshell-type
underwing fairings and armament consisted of two
synchronised 12.7mm machine guns. The
prototype CW-21 was flown on 22 September 1938, and
subsequently shipped to China for demonstration. The
prototype was purchased by the Chinese government
and a contract placed for three production aircraft and
27 sets of components for assembly by CAMCO. The
first production CW-21 was flown on 20 March 1940,
and provision was made to supplement the armament
with a pair of 7.62mm weapons. All three
CW-21s built by the parent company were lost as a result
of engine failures (undoubtedly dirty fuel) after
taking-off from Lashio while being ferried to Kunming.
Assembly of CW-21s by CAMCO at Loi-wing had
reached an advanced stage when it was decided to
evacuate and, on 1 May 1942, burn the factory to avoid
its capture by Japanese forces, the partly-assembled
Curtiss-Wright fighters also being destroyed.
In April 1939, Curtiss-Wright's St Louis Airplane Division
flew the prototype of the CW-23 basic combat
trainer which was essentially a tandem two-seat,
lower-powered derivative of the CW-21 single-seat
fighter. It introduced inward-retracting, fully-enclosed
main undercarriage members and hydraulically-actuated rather than manually-operated flaps, and
these features were adopted for a new version of the
single-seat fighter, the CW-21B. On 17 April 1940, the
Dutch government signed a contract for 24 CW-21B
fighters (of which there was no prototype) and the first
of these was flown the following mid-September. The
CW-21B retained the R-1820-G5 Cyclone of the earlier
CW-21 and armament comprised two 7.62mm
Colt machine guns mounted in the forward fuselage. The CW-21B fighters were shipped to Java during
October-December 1940, entering service with the MLKNIL,
but their light structure and lack of fuel tank protection
was to render them particularly vulnerable
when committed to operations against Japanese forces
in the early months of 1942, the last combat mission
being flown by a CW-21B on 5 March.
| Take-off weight||1896 kg||4180 lb|
| Empty weight||1428 kg||3148 lb|
| Wingspan||10.67 m||35 ft 0 in|
| Length||8.03 m||26 ft 4 in|
| Height||2.64 m||9 ft 8 in|
| Wing area||16.20 m2||174.38 sq ft|
| Max. speed||476 km/h||296 mph|
| Range||853 km||530 miles|
|A three-view drawing (1278 x 922)|
|TORBJÍRN KAMPE, 07.03.2015|
It would be fun to get to know more about CW-21. Flight Performance and more.
Too bad it does not exist as simmular model. So you really mean get to know what it can do in a dogfight.
I rem. a plane looking like the 21...but it was called a cw22..sitting in Brayton flying service hangar in St. Louis airport ...1941
This plane was marketed to foreign air forces in poorer nations (the Army Air Corps definitely wasn't interested) as an "interceptor-fighter", and was touted as the fastest-climbing fighter in the world. Unfortunately, however, to achieve that performance it was very lightly built. In addition, like most pre-war combat aircraft, it lacked armor protection for either the pilot or the fuel supply, and had a very light armament of only two .30 caliber machine guns. Faced with the superb Japanese Zero in Java, the CW-21 was simply outclassed.
Cool. Nice little story there. Thanks for passing it along.
|Bill Leavens, 31.12.2009|
Curtiss factory pilot, Bob Fausel, was able to shoot down a Japanese G4M Betty bomber in 1940 prior to the evacuation of Loi Wing when demonstrating the aircraft. Unfortunately, during that first pass his guns jammed and all of his ammunition was quickly spent. He was rewarded $1,000 by Chaing Kai Shek for his efforts.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?