Curtiss Kittyhawk III

This Curtiss Kittyhawk III was on display at RAF Cosford.

The Kittyhawk was the final development of the Curtiss Hawk line of monoplane fighters. During the Second World War it provided the Royal Air Force with valuable reinforcements in the Middle East at a time when British resources were overstretched. Over 3000 Kittyhawks were delivered to Commonwealth Air Forces.

First introduced into service in January 1942 a conversion programme began six months later to allow them to carry bombs.

The Royal Air Force continued to operate Kittyhawks in Italy until the summer of 1945 when they were finally replaced by North American Mustangs.

Known as the Warhawk in United States service, the British renamed the early P-40A, B and C models Tomahawks. In an effort to continue production the manufacturer fitted a more powerful Allison engine into a redesigned cowling and concentrated the gun armament in the wings; the resulting P-40D Warhawk was renamed Kittyhawk by the British.

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