Warhawk, Kittyhawk III
In 1943, the scarcity of Packard
Merlin engines necessitated that the Allison engine be reintroduced
yet again into the P-40 production line. The result was the
The P-40M was essentially similar
to the P-40K-20-CU, apart from the use of the Allison V-1710-18
engine, rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1125 hp at 17,300 feet.
The P-40M could be distinguished from the P-40K by the introduction
of a cooling grill forward of the exhaust stubs.
The P-40M was built solely for
Lend-Lease, the contract being approved on August 24, 1942.
The first P-40M appeared in November, 1942. Most of them went
to the RAF, the RAAF, and the RNZAF as the Kittyhawk III. The
type served with British Commonwealth forces in the Far East.
A number were operated in Italy by No. 5 Squadron of the South
African Air Force.
The differences between the
production blocks were as follows:
The P-40M-1-CU had reinforced
The P-40M-5-CU had improved
carburetor air filters and further aileron improvements.
The P-40M-10-CU had revised
undercarriage warning systems and fuel system changes
Serials of the P-40M were as
43-5403/5462 Curtiss P-40M-1-CU Warhawk
43-5463/5722 Curtiss P-40M-5-CU Warhawk
43-5723/6002 Curtiss P-40M-10-CU Warhawk
The RAF serials for the 264
P-40Ms supplied to the RAF as Kittyhawk IIIs were FR779/FR872
168 P-40Ms were supplied to
Australia as Kittyhawk IIIs under the serial numbers A29-300/389,
A29-400/414, A29-420/434, A29-442/460, and A29-473/502.
34 P-40Ms went to New Zealand
as serial numbers NZ3066/3073, NZ3075/3089, NZ3109/3119, and
The P-40M equipped the No. 5
Squadron of the South African Air Force serving in Italy.
19 P-40Ms were transferred to
War Planes of the Second World
War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion
United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough
and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.
Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute
The Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Ray Wagner, Aircraft in Profile,
Volume 2, Doubleday, 1965.