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"APACHE" | AH-64A Peten
General characteristics
1 personCrew
1.896 tTake-off weight
1.43 kg/sBurst mass
Flight characteristics
10800 mCeiling
Wright R-1820-G5Engine
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
735 km/hStructural
290 km/hGear
Offensive armament
2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gunWeapon 1
400 roundsAmmunition
750 shots/minFire rate
2 x 7.62 mm Browning machine gunWeapon 2
1000 roundsAmmunition
1001 shots/minFire rate
4000 Rp icon.pngResearch
2100 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png1000 / 1265/1100 / 1391/380 / 480Repair
600 Sl icon.pngCrew training
2100 Sl icon.pngExperts
40 Ge icon.pngAces
100 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
60 % Sl icon.png40 % Sl icon.png20 % Sl icon.png


GarageImage CW-21.jpg

The CW-21 is a rank I Chinese fighter with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".

A unique and capable fighter, the CW-21 will be a surprise to pilots stepping into the Chinese tech tree. Its appearance is unusual but elegant: the spindly wings, highly tapered fuselage, and bulbous nose hint at its high-flying capabilities. The first few Chinese aircraft can be a struggle to fly and master, however, the CW-21 picks up the slack the moment it gets airborne. The CW-21 begins lifting off when reaching 145 kph (90 mph), and climbs like a rocket, leaving all other planes at its rank in the dust. While speaking of speed, the CW will quickly outrun and outpace most of the competition, leading to a lot of the primary biplane opposition simply being unable to catch up and get within firing distance.

When it comes to firepower, this bird has talons and easily uses its 2 x .50 calibre M2s plus 2 x .30 calibre M1919s to decimate any plane that crosses its path. While it can punch hard with its guns, it cannot take any beating in return due to its complete lack of protection. Not that it will be getting hit much, as a competent pilot will tell you manoeuvrability is key and an agile plane it is. The turn time is easily competitive with most if not all biplanes, except possibly the I-153 that intrinsically trumps all other aircraft when it comes to turning and turn fighting. All in all, the CW-21 is a powerhouse, ready to ascend to great heights and deliver death from above.

General info

Flight performance

Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.

Max Speed
(km/h at 3,700 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
480 465 10800 14.2 15.0 13.4 13.4 343
Max Speed
(km/h at 3,700 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
533 505 10800 13.8 14.0 24.6 18.2 343


The sleek CW-21 in flight.
Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flaps
Max Static G
+ -
380 ~10 ~5
Optimal velocities
< 280 < 260 < 450 > 250
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
1,829 m 850 hp 1,000 hp
Setting 2
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
4,633 m 750 hp 882 hp

Survivability and armour

The CW-21 is about as fragile as it looks as far as combat damage is concerned. It does not have any sort of armour protection whatsoever, a historical design decision to minimize weight and maximize its rate of climb. While the resulting flight performance is nothing short of spectacular, it renders the pilot very vulnerable to being knocked out, even by low-calibre machine guns. For this reason, head-ons should be avoided, and when being tailed by an enemy, evasive manoeuvres are very important. The fuel tanks are located in the wings and are at the very least self-sealing.

Upon its initial release, the CW-21 was quite infamous for having literally unbreakable wings that would stay intact after suffering critical damage, but this has since been patched. Attempting to use the wings as a melee weapon is no longer recommended.


Offensive armament

The CW-21 is armed with:

  • 2 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, nose-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
  • 2 x 7.62 mm Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (500 rpg = 1,000 total)

Usage in battles

The CW-21 should be mainly used as a fighter. Excelling in turns, acceleration, and hard-hitting guns, it is very easy to dogfight other planes at its battle rating. Your main composition will sometimes be bi-planes and some bi-planes can out turn you. However, the CW-21 against monoplanes is where it really shines. It can easily out turn other planes like the He-100 or even the He-112 which is crucial in a dogfight. The CW-21 does not have any close air support potential other than knocking out light targets like anti-aircraft artillery and armoured vehicles, so the main targets will be other planes.

The CW-21 can outclimb practically any other fighter on the battlefield. While it is a good dogfighter, it excels in diving attacks, where enemies can be eliminated in a pass or two, and if not, the extra energy advantage makes the ensuing dogfights much easier. Cruise at high altitude, pick out a target and swoop down to begin the engagement, using the great handling to stay on the target's tail. If the fight is not going as well as expected, it is not difficult to disengage and climb back to safety, though it pays to fly carefully and watch out for bullets coming in from behind.

While intercepting bombers is easy, even the weakest of defensive armaments can do a serious number on the CW-21, possibly ending the engagement abruptly with a pilot snipe. Study the layout of enemy bombers and only approach from angles that are not covered by turrets, or alternatively wait for a teammate to join in and distract the opponent's fire. Note that bringing down large aircraft can use up a large amount of the CW-21's limited ammunition supply.

Something to note is that the CW-21's incredibly lightweight (it weighs less than an I-16!) means that the energy retention after dives leaves something to be desired. The climb rate compensates for the mediocre top speed somewhat since altitude can be converted into speed, but this bonus will be quickly lost. Avoid prolonged chases against faster aircraft, otherwise one may be both unable to catch up and drained of energy.

Perhaps the only other opponent capable of giving the CW-21 a run for its money in terms of performance is the German He 100 D-1. The Heinkel also has a very good climb rate and enjoys superior speed, though it has worse manoeuvrability and inferior armament. While the CW-21 still has a better climb rate, He 100 pilots can build up speed in level flight and zoom climb to catch up, and the three 7.92 mm machine guns are still more than enough to dispatch the CW-21. Watch He 100s warily, be prepared to dodge them, and try to land a few hits - the He 100 is incredibly fragile and even a stray bullet can ruin its cooling system, forcing the pilot to return to base or burn up.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Not auto controlled
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Separate Controllable
2 gears
Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Offensive 7 mm
II Compressor Airframe Offensive 12 mm
III Wings repair Engine New 7 mm MGs
IV Engine injection Cover New 12 mm MGs

Pros and cons


  • Respectable firepower for the rank
  • Turn rate is on par with the early Spitfires and even A6Ms
  • Climb rate is very good for its rank
  • Good dive characteristics - difficult to induce compression, wings will not readily break


  • Mediocre energy retention
  • Not very fast
  • No armour
  • Ammo can run out fast with poor trigger discipline


The Curtiss-Wright 21 was a lightweight fighter-interceptor based on the CW-19. CW-21 designer, George A. Page, only emphasized the plane to have an incredible rate of climb and to not dogfight. It would climb away from a dogfight instead of dog-fighting. The U.S. wouldn't adopt the plane as they wanted a plane with low-level dogfight capability, and to not only excel solely in climbing. George A. Page knew this and designed the plane mainly for exporting.

Intrigued by the CW-21's performance, China looked into the CW-21 furthermore with a prototype being delivered to China. During a discussion about the CW-21, a prototype CW-21 shot down an Italian BR.20. China decided to buy some with China receiving 3 completely built CW-21's and 27 kits. Another three CW-21's were delivered to China and sent to the "Flying Tigers" group. They intended to use the CW-21 for attacking Japanese reconnaissance but ended up crashing due to poor visibility.

Meanwhile, Curtiss-Wright was developing the CW-21B. The CW-21B had inward retractable gears, instead of the gears being retracted into the fairings beneath each wing. The CW-21B also sported hydraulic control surfaces. The CW-21B did end up having a lower climb rate but did have a higher top speed. The Dutch ordered 24 CW-21B's in an effort to obtain modern aircraft, however, it was too late to receive them as they surrendered to the Germans. The Dutch ended up giving the CW-21B's to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). After assembling the newly acquired CW-21B's, they started using them. They later ended up finding cracks on some of their CW-21B's and grounded them. This was due to the very lightweight construction of the CW-21B. These CW-21B's were easy prey to Japanese planes and most were destroyed on the ground as well as the few which were able to fly.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.

Curtiss-Wright Corporation
Fighters  P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · P-36G
  P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40F-10
Bombers  SB2C-1c · SB2C-4
Experimental  XP-55
Export  H-75A-1 · H-75A-4 · H-81A-2 · ▂P-40E-1 · ␗P-40E-1 · ▄P-40F-5 Lafayette · CW-21 · Hawk III
Captured  ▀Hawk H-75A-2

China fighters
British  ␗Gladiator Mk I
Japanese  ␗A6M2 · ␗Ki-27 otsu · ␗Ki-43-III ko · ␗Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · Ki-84 ko
American  CW-21 · Hawk III · P-66 · ␗P-40E-1 · H-81A-2 · ␗P-43A-1 · ␗P-47D-28 · ␗P-51D-20 · ␗P-51K
Soviet  ␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · I-16 Chung 28 · ␗I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗La-9