Hyper Engine - Request For Data R40-C

Request For Data R40-C

As 1938 came to an end, the war in Europe heated to its boiling point. At this point, European aircraft had greatly surpassed US designs. The two top USAAC fighters, the Seversky P-35 and the Curtiss P-36A, were just able to hit 300 mph (480 km/h). Against the 340+ mph Messerschmitt Bf 109 they would be completely outclassed. The twin-engined Lockheed XP-38 was entering an extended test program.

Although the XP-38 was able to fly at speeds in excess of 413 mph, it was big and heavy, and was therefore not as maneuverable as its stablemates. The XP-38 also had a newly introduced liquid-cooled engine, the Allison V-1710. The Allison's in-line vee cylinder arrangement allowed for a narrow aerodynamic shape that had much less drag than the air-cooled radial engine fighters that predominated America at the time.

The fighter aircraft procurement program for FY 1940 was contained in a document that was approved by Assistant Secretary of War Louis K. Johnson on 9 June 1939. That document was the "Request for Data R40-C", and unlike previous aircraft procurement requests, it was sent to only a limited number of aircraft manufacturers. The original document was to be sent to:

  • Bell Aircraft Corporation
  • Consolidated Aircraft Corporation
  • Curtiss-Wright Corporation Curtiss Airplane Division
  • Curtiss-Wright Corporation, St. Louis Airplane Division
  • Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation
  • Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
  • Republic Aviation Corporation
  • Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division, United Aircraft Corporation
  • Vultee Aircraft Division, Aviation Manufacturing Corporation

After final review and approval as Air Corps Type Specification XC-622, a further four manufacturers were added to the distribution:

  • Hughes Aircraft Corporation
  • McDonnell Aircraft Company
  • Boeing Aircraft Company
  • Northrop Aircraft, Incorporated

These companies had only ten days to agree to the terms of the document, and only 30 days to submit their designs.

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