Curtiss SNC Falcon / Curtiss-Wright CW-22

The Curtiss SNC Falcon/ Model CW-22 was a basic trainer and light attack aircraft that saw combat against the Japanese with the Dutch, but that was only used as a trainer by the US Navy.

The CW-22 was developed in 1940 as a basic trainer and light attack aircraft. It was developed from the earlier Curtiss-Wright CW-19B, and was an all-metal two-seater, with the crew sitting in tandem under a sliding cockpit canopy. It was powered by a 420hp Wright R-975 Whirlwind, ad was armed with one fixed forward firing machine gun and one flexibly mounted gun for the observer. It used the same retractable undercarriage as the first model of the Curtiss-Wright CW-21 fighter, with the main wheels retracting backwards then being covered by a clamshell fairing that jutted out below the wings.


The first export version of the aircraft was CW-22. This was armed with one fixed and one flexibly mounted .30in machine gun, and powered by the Wright R-975-28 Whirlwind. Thirty six of these were purchased by the Dutch early in 1940 (alongside a batch of Curtiss CW-21 fighters), but the country was overrun by the Germans soon afterwards. The aircraft were then diverted to the Dutch East Indies. The CW-21s arrived in time to take part in the defence of Java, where they were all lost. The CW-22s had to be delivered to Australia, arriving in March 1942 after the fall of Java. These aircraft saw combat against the Japanese, with some operating alongside the US 49th Pursuit Group. Some of them were captured by Japanese, who put them into use.


This was followed by the improved CW-22B (although the details of the improvements have been hard to track down!). This version carried the same armament as the original CW-22. The Dutch ordered another twenty five, bringing their total up to sixty-one. These aircraft joined the forces in Australia, and saw combat against the Japanese.

The biggest customer for the CW-22B was Turkey, which ordered fifty aircraft. Another twenty-five went to various countries in South American.  Ten went to Bolivia, where they arrived in November 1942.

One CW-22 reached China in 1940 when it was imported by Inter-Continental as a demonstrator. However this aircraft probably never flew in China, and was sold to the Burma Volunteer Group in July 1941. It may have been aircraft 22-57 (NX-16417), a converted CW-A19R. This aircraft was used by the Command Flight at Dum Dum until September 1943 when it went to 1 SFTS at Ambala. It survived the war, and was scrapped in March 1946.

SNC-1 Falcon

The main production version of the CW-22 was the Navy’s SNC-1 Falcon (SN standing for Scout Trainer). A first batch of 150 aircraft was ordered in November 1940 (serial numbers 05085-05234). A second order for 150 aircraft (6290-6439) and a third for 155 (05095-05234 and 32987-32991) followed, giving a total of 455 aircraft (the first batch is sometimes missed in counts of the serial numbers). The aircraft in the third batch were given a modified cockpit with a higher canopy. After the war many were sold to private owners.

Engine: Wright R-975-28 Whirlwind
Power: 420hp
Crew: 2
Span: 35ft 0in
Length: 27ft 0in
Height: 9ft 11in
Empty weight: 2,736lb
Maximum take-off weight: 3,788lb
Max speed: 198mph 
Climb Rate:
Service ceiling: 21,800ft
Range: 780 miles
Armament: Two 0.3in machine guns
Bomb load:

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 June 2020), Curtiss SNC Falcon / CW-22 ,

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