Curtiss CT

The Curtiss CT was a twin engined torpedo bomber, produced by Curtiss to a Navy design but that never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

The CT was built to an unusual design that had been produced by the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics. Curtiss was given the contract to produce the type, although sources disagree on when, and on how many, with dates of 1920 and 1923 and either eight or nine aircraft given. Nine seems most likely, as this matches the known serial numbers A5890-A5898. The aircraft was designated as the CT or Curtiss, Torpedo. The first aircraft was ordered to take part in a competitive evaluation, competing with the Stout ST-1, Fokker FT-1 and Blackburn Swift. None of these four aircraft entered US service (although the Swift was used by the Royal Navy). Instead the contract for a new torpedo bomber eventually went to the Douglas DT, a single engine design that had proved to be superior to all four of its rivals.

The CT had an unusual layout. It was built around a large cantilevered wing, which carried the two engines in streamlined nacelles and the three man crew in a short central pod that jutted slightly in front of the leading edge of the wings, but didn’t even reach the training edge. The twin floats were mounted directly below the engines, while the single torpedo was carried below the crew pod. The twin tail was connected to the rest of the aircraft by booms, two on each side – one from the back of the float and one from the top of the engine nacelles. The tail had two vertical surfaces, level with the floats and engines, connected by two horizontal surfaces – the main one mounted where the booms met, the smaller one towards the top of the vertical surfaces.

The CT was originally powered by two 300hp Wright-Hispano H engines, and was delivered to the Rockaway Naval Air Station on 1 May 1921. It would appear to have been underpowered when using these engines, which quickly overheated in flight.

It was returned to Curtiss in March 1922 to be given two 435 Curtiss D-12 engines. The new engines increased its empty weight around 1,200lb, but its gross weight by 1,350lb, so slightly increased its carrying capacity. Speed went up by 7mph. Other performance figures for the Wright-Hispano powered version don’t appear to have survived.

Even with the new engine the CT didn’t interest the navy. The other eight aircraft were cancelled, and A5890 was struck off charge on 9 November 1923.

Engine: Two Wright-Hispano H
Power: 300hp each
Crew: 3
Span: 65ft
Length: 46ft
Height: 14ft 6in
Empty weight: 6,489lb
Gross weight: 9,884lb
Max speed:  100mph
Range: 350 miles
Armament: one or two .303in Lewis machine guns
Bomb load: One torpedo

Engine: Two Curtiss D-12Wright-Hispano H
Power: 435hp each
Crew: 3
Span: 65ft
Length: 46ft
Height: 14ft 6in
Empty weight: 7,684lb
Gross weight: 11,208lb
Max speed:  107mph
Climb Rate: 10min to 2,600ft
Service ceiling: 5,200ft
Range: 350 miles
Armament: one or two .303in Lewis machine guns
Bomb load: One torpedo

Air War Index - Air War Links - Air War Books

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 May 2021), Curtiss CT , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_curtiss_CT.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies