The XP-55 Ascender is a premium rank II American fighter with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB), 4.0 (RB), and 3.0 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.31.
The XP-55 Ascender is unlike anything you will fly in the U.S. Tech Tree. Flying this aircraft effectively requires a dedication to Energy Fighting. The XP-55 excels greatly in the ability to climb and dive and this is your greatest advantage. The Ascender has decent maneuverability and best used in a Boom & Zoom function. All four of this aircraft's armament are packed tightly in the nose for devastating results.
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 5,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
| Wing-break speed
| Gear limit
| Combat flap
|Max Static G|
|< 463||< 460||< 520||> 250|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|4,724 m||1,125 hp||1,277 hp|
Survivability and armour
- 9.5 mm Steel - Armor plate behind pilot's headrest
While not a fully developed fighter aircraft, the XP-55 prototype initially only sported a 9.5 mm steel plate behind the pilot’s headrest. Without any other protection, the XP-55 was susceptible to machine gun and cannon fire from all directions. While the headrest armour and the engine protected the pilot from the rear, there was not much stopping bullets from the front, sides, bottom or top. Taking this fighter in a head-on with another aircraft is a mixed bag as the XP-55 has the perfect weapon configuration for it, however, the pilot is in an extremely vulnerable to inbound bullets. The aircraft’s manoeuvrability can enable it to get some shots off and then manoeuvre out of the way.
When attacking an XP-55, the rear end of the aircraft is the best place to target as that is where the engine is and is extremely exposed from behind. If you can manage to hit the wing-tips, you can take out one of the two rudders throwing off the balance of the aircraft causing it to spin out of control. Of course, without much armour protection, the pilot can be a target of choice as even small calibre machine gun fire can be enough to take him out. If needed, try to get the XP-55 to bleed its speed or get into a turn-fight where it will be more difficult for them to manoeuvre out of the way or take back the advantage.
The XP-55 is armed with:
- 2 x 20 mm AN/M2 cannons, nose-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, nose-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
Although the unconventional XP-55 has its engine and propeller installed at the rear of the aircraft, one bonus of this is that it leaves the entire nose section free to install guns and their associated ammunition. This is exactly what the Curtiss-Wright engineers did by mounting two 20 mm cannons and two 12.7 mm M2 machine guns. While provisions were made for an additional two guns, they were never added. The XP-55 pilot will need to be satisfied with the four guns which are installed and should have no problem wreaking havoc with them.
All four guns are centre mounted which eliminates the need to calculate for convergence and while the punching power of the bullets drops off after a while, there should be no issues when firing as close as 100 m or as far as +800 m if you are sniping aircraft. Even though the 12.7 mm and 20 mm rounds have slightly different velocities, it should not affect landing the lead on the target in the gun sight.
Usage in battles
Describe the tactics of playing in an aircraft, the features of using vehicles in a team and advice on tactics. Refrain from creating a "guide" - do not impose a single point of view, but instead, give the reader food for thought. Examine the most dangerous enemies and give recommendations on fighting them. If necessary, note the specifics of the game in different modes (AB, RB, SB).
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Separate||Not controllable||Not controllable|
|I||Fuselage Repair||Radiator||Offensive 12 mm|
|II||Compressor||Airframe||New 12 mm MGs|
|III||Wings Repair||Engine||Offensive 20 mm|
|IV||Engine Injection||Cover||New 20 mm Cannons|
Pros and cons
- Good high-speed manoeuvrability
- Excellent climb rate
- Insanely high dive speed, can reach Mach 0.75
- Insane acceleration in a dive
- Centre-lined, nose-mounted armament, cluster fire without the need for convergence
- Outstanding energy retention in level flight, after a dive
- Fantastic Boom & Zoom fighter
- Cannot snap-roll at all unless you want a stall spin
- Roll rate is somewhat lacking compared to most contemporaries
- Almost no armour, especially from the front. Head-ons and bomber hunting are not advised
- Poor low-speed manoeuvrability
- Engine in the rear of aircraft, susceptible to gunfire if being chased
- Fighter only, no options for suspended ordnance
The U.S. Army-sponsored three prototypes for a new pusher power-plant propelled fighter in 1941. Out of this was born the Vultee XP-54, Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet, and the Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender. Four airframes were built for testing the Ascender. The first aircraft was delivered on July 13, 1943. During its testing, they discovered it required a long take-off run for the nose-mounted elevator to become effective. Before the issue could be addressed the aircraft was lost on November 15th. The second and third XP-55 flew in the spring of 1944. The second aircraft was used as a testbed for armament.
On May 27, 1945, the third XP-55 took flight for public display over a crowd of 100,000 people. When the XP-55 crossed the airfield the pilot began to roll the aircraft. Without warning, the aircraft dove straight into the ground while being inverted. The pilot was thrown from the wreckage and suffered severe injuries. A nearby bystander was killed. After testing, the Ascender was judged to have poor performance and handling. The design was ultimately deemed too ineffective for a fighter. Although the XP-55 program was plagued with issues, it made numerous contributions to aircraft design. The second XP-55 is still on display today at the Smithsonian Institute's National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender single-engine army interceptor fighter prototype
The Curtiss-Wright XP-55 (company designation CW-24) prototype interceptor fighter was developed to meet the requirements of Proposal R-40C, issued by the United States Army Air Corps on November 27, 1939. It called for the creation of a fighter outperforming all existing models in speed, rate of climb, maneuverability, armament, and pilot visibility. In addition, it required that the new fighter would have small production and maintenance costs. The R-40C requirements specifically mentioned that the aircraft to be created should have an unconventional aerodynamic configuration.
The aircraft created by the Curtiss-Wright designers had a canard configuration with swept wings and a pusher propeller. The swept wings had ailerons and flaps, and small fins with rudders were fitted at the wingtips. The horizontal empennage was under the wings. The CW-24 had a tricycle landing gear with a nosewheel.
The Curtiss Company also proposed using the new, yet untested Pratt & Whitney X-1800 liquid-cooled engine, mounted behind the pilot and driving the pusher propeller.
On 10 July 1942, the US Army Air Corps ordered three prototype aircraft, which received the army designation of ХР-55.
Since there was much difficulty with the further development of the Pratt & Whitney X-1800 engine, the company's specialists decided to use an Allison V-1710-95 twelve-cylinder, V-type, liquid-cooled engine, which produced a takeoff power of 1,275 hp.
The aircraft's armament consisted of four 12.7 mm Colt-Browning AN-M2.5 machine guns with 200 rounds each. Two 20 mm Bendix-Hispano AN-M2C cannons, with 200 rounds each, were planned to be mounted on this series, as well.
The ХР-55 prototype (Ser No. 42-78845) performed its first flight on July 19, 1943, at Scott Field Air Force Base, not far from the Curtiss-Wright factory in St. Louis. The tests showed that the ХР-55 had satisfactory controllability when flying horizontally or gaining altitude, but the pilots experienced some inconveniences when landing or flying at low speeds, as they could not feel any load on the elevator. There were also some cooling problems with the Allison V-1710-95 engine, which was located in the rear section of the airframe.
The ХР-55's characteristics were not particularly outstanding, and even inferior to those of fighters of the classic conventional configuration already in service. Besides, it became quite evident by early 1944 that further fighter development would employ not piston but turbojet engines.
As a result, no order for full-scale production followed, and all work on the ХР-55 was discontinued.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
- other literature.
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