The XP-53 was the second attempt to produce a successor to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Unlike the first attempt, the XP-46, this aircraft never flew. It was to have been powered by a new engine – the Continental XIV-1430 inline engine, which was hoped to produce 1,600 hp. Two prototypes were ordered in 1940, but the engine program was not a success. The XP-53 program merged into the XP-60 series, which began as an attempt to fit a Rolls Royce Merlin 28 to the improved airframe of the XP-53.