The Curtiss C-46 Commando was designed and manufactured by Curtiss-Wright as a twin-engine military transport aircraft developed from the CW-20 pressurized high-altitude aircraft. The aircraft was operated by the United States Army Air Force as a military transport in the Second World War, as well as the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. It first flew in March 1940 and was introduced in 1941. The C-46 Commando was produced from 1940 to 1945 with a total number of 3,181 aircraft built.
In 1937, the development of a C-46 prototype designated as CW-20 started. It was designed by the chief architect designer of Curtis-Wright, George A. Page Jr. On March 26, 1940, the prototype with the aircraft registration NX-19436 performed its maiden flight. It was operated by the test pilot Edmund T. “Eddie” Allen. In 1941, it entered into service. The aircraft was produced from 1940 to 1945 with a total number of 3,181 Commandos built.
The C-46A is a military transport that can carry four to five crew members and has a capacity for forty troops or thirty stretcher patients or 6,800 kg of cargo. It has an external length of 23.27 meters, an external height of 4.2 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 3.2 meters. It has a tail height of 6.63 meters and a wheelbase of 12.8 meters. The wingspan is 32.92 meters and the wing area is 126 square meters. The aircraft has an empty weight of 13,911 kg, a gross weight of 20,412 kg, and a fuel tank capacity of 1,406 US gal.
The aircraft is powered by twin Pratt and Whitney R-2800-51 Double Wasp engine. It is an eighteen-cylinder air-cooled twin-row radial piston engine with two poppet valves per cylinder, a variable-speed supercharger, one Stormberg injection carburetor, and an air-cooling system. It produces a maximum thrust of 2,000 hp and drives four-bladed Curtiss Electric constant-speed propellers. The C-46 has a maximum speed of 230 knots at 15,000 feet and a cruise speed of 150 knots. It has a travel range of 2,740 nautical miles at 150 knots and 870 nautical miles at 206 knots. The aircraft can fly up to 24,500 feet and can climb at a rate of 1,175 feet per minute. The takeoff and landing distances are 900 meters and 762 meters, respectively.