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Curtiss-Wright Corporation
Company typePublic
S&P 400 Component
FoundedJuly 5, 1929 (1929-07-05) in Buffalo, New York, United States
Key people
RevenueDecrease US$2.391 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended 31 December 2020)[1]
Decrease US$288.848 Million (Fiscal Year Ended 31 December 2020)[1]
Decrease US$201.392 Million (Fiscal Year Ended 31 December 2020)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 4.083 Billion (September 30, 2021)[2][1]
Total equityIncrease US$1.787 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended 31 December 2020)[1]
Number of employees
9,000 (2019)

The Curtiss-Wright Corporation is a manufacturer and services provider headquartered in Davidson, North Carolina, with factories and operations in and outside the United States.[3] Created in 1929 from the consolidation of Curtiss, Wright, and various supplier companies, the company was immediately the country's largest aviation firm and built more than 142,000 aircraft engines for the U.S. military during World War II.

Today, it no longer makes aircraft but makes many related components, particularly actuators, aircraft controls, valves, and surface-treatment services. It supplies the commercial, industrial, defense, and energy markets. It makes parts for commercial and naval nuclear power systems, industrial vehicles, and oil- and gas-related machinery.


Merger and expansion

Curtiss-Wright formed on July 5, 1929, the result of a merger of 12 companies associated with Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company of Buffalo, New York, and Wright Aeronautical of Dayton, Ohio.[4] It was headquartered in Buffalo, New York. With $75 million in capital (equivalent to $13.31 billion in 2023), it became the largest aviation company in the United States.

Companies Merged[5] Owner
Wright Aeronautical Corp Hoyt
Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Co Keys
Curtiss Airports Corp. Keys
Curtiss Flying Service Keys
Curtiss Aeroplane Export Co. Keys
Curtiss-Caproni Corp. Keys
Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Mfg. Co. Keys
New York Air Terminals Hoyt
N.Y. & Suburban Airlines Hoyt
Keystone Aircraft Corp Hoyt

By September 1929, Curtiss-Wright had acquired the Moth Aircraft Corporation and Travel Air Manufacturing Company.[6][7]


There were three main divisions: the Curtiss-Wright Airplane Division, which manufactured airframes; the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, which produced aircraft engines; and the Curtiss-Wright Propeller Division, which manufactured propellers. After 1929, most engines produced by the new company were known as Wrights. Most aircraft were given the Curtiss name, with a few exceptions.

Pre-World War II

Throughout the 1930s, Curtiss-Wright designed and built aircraft for military, commercial, and private markets. It was the Wright engine division and the longstanding relationship with the U.S. military that helped the company through the difficult years of the Great Depression. In 1937, the company developed the P-36 fighter aircraft, resulting in the largest peacetime aircraft order ever given by the Army Air Corps. Curtiss-Wright also sold the P-36 abroad, where they were used in the early days of World War II.

War production

During World War II, Curtiss-Wright produced 142,840 aircraft engines, 146,468 electric propellers, and 29,269 airplanes.[4] Curtiss-Wright employed 180,000 workers, and ranked second among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts, behind only General Motors.[8][9]

The main building of the Curtiss-Wright company at Caldwell, New Jersey, 1941.
alt text
Curtiss-Wright: Biggest Aviation Company Expands Its Empire. This is an overall perspective of how Curtiss-Wright's business operations in the USA stretch from St. Louis to Buffalo and how its newly made products flow from the various factories for the U.S. aircraft industry at that time. The map gets several things and points wrong, particularly the location of production of the C-46 aircraft, which was actually built at Buffalo and not at St. Louis. This is from an article in Life Magazine on the 15th of September in 1941.[10]

Aircraft production included almost 14,000 P-40 fighters, made famous by their use by Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers in China, over 3,000 C-46 Commando transport aircraft, and later in the war, over 7,000 SB2C Helldivers. Its most visible success came with the P-40, variously known as the Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, and Warhawk, which were built between 1940 and 1944 at the main production facilities in Buffalo, New York. During the war, a second large plant was added at Buffalo, followed by new plants at Columbus, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; and Louisville, Kentucky. Engine and propeller production was at plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

In May 1942, the U.S. government assigned Curtiss-Wright a defense production factory, for wartime aircraft construction at Louisville, Kentucky, to produce the C-76 Caravan cargo plane, which was constructed mostly of wood, a non-priority war material. After difficulties with the C-76, including a crash of a production model in mid-1943, as well as the realization that sufficient quantities of aluminum aircraft alloys would be available for war production, plans for large-scale C-76 production were rejected.[11]

The Louisville plant was converted to C-46 Commando production, delivering 438 Commandos to supplement the roughly 2,500 C-46s produced at Buffalo. The C-46 cargo plane was fitted with two powerful radial engines and could carry more cargo at higher altitudes than any other Allied aircraft. Consequently, it was used extensively in the China-Burma-India Theater.

Defective engines sold to U.S. military in World War II

From 1941 to 1943, the Curtiss Aeronautical plant in Lockland, Ohio, produced aircraft engines under wartime contract, destined for installation in U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft.[12][13] Wright officials at Lockland insisted on high engine production levels, resulting in a significant percentage of engines that did not meet Army Air Forces (AAF) inspection standards. These defective engines were nevertheless approved by inspectors for shipment and installation in U.S. military aircraft. After investigation, it was later revealed that Wright company officials at Lockland had conspired with civilian technical advisers and Army inspection officers to approve substandard or defective aircraft engines for military use.[12][13]

Post–World War II

Demise of aircraft production

Curtiss-Wright failed to make the transition to design and production of jet aircraft, despite several attempts. During the war, the company expended only small amounts on aircraft research and development, instead concentrating on incremental improvements in conventional aircraft already in wartime production. This was especially true in the first two years of the war. Curtiss' failure to research and develop more advanced wing and airframe designs provided an opening for North American, Bell, Lockheed, Northrop, and other U.S. aircraft manufacturers to submit newer and more advanced aircraft designs.

The P-60, the firm's last prop-driven fighter design, was merely an extrapolation of its 1930s P-36 Hawk, offering no advantage over other designs already in service. With the rapid development of jet engine technology and near-supersonic flight, this technological lag resulted in Curtiss losing a number of critical postwar military aircraft orders. The final nail in the coffin was the choice of the Northrop F-89 Scorpion over the XF-87 Blackhawk. After the F-87 was cancelled in October 1948, Curtiss-Wright shut down its entire Aeroplane Division and sold the assets to North American Aviation.

Flight research

While this marked Curtiss-Wright's departure from preeminence in the aviation industry, one notable spin-off involved Curtiss-Wright's flight research laboratory, founded in 1943 near the main plant at the Buffalo airport. During divestiture of the airframe division, the lab was given to Cornell University along with a cash gift to finish the construction of a transonic wind tunnel. Cornell Aeronautical Labs, or CAL as it was known, was eventually spun off from the university as a private company, Calspan Corporation, which has been responsible for many innovations in flight and safety research.

Engine development

After the government gave the development of the Whittle jet engine to GE, the company concentrated on reciprocating engines and propeller production for military transport and civilian airliners. With the approaching twilight of the big piston aircraft engine, Curtiss-Wright needed new design inspiration. in 1950, Curtiss-Wright licensed the Sapphire jet engine from Armstrong Siddeley in the U.K and manufactured it as the Wright J65. It powered models of the Martin B-57, and several other U.S. fighter planes. Subsequent derivative engines were late and did not find substantial markets.

For a brief time, Curtiss-Wright licensed rights to the Wankel rotary engine from NSU in 1958 as a possible aircraft power plant. For this major innovative engineering project, Curtiss-Wright relied extensively on the design leadership of NSU-Wankel engineer Max Bentele.

Flight simulators

In 1954, United Airlines bought four Curtiss-Wright flight simulators at a cost of $3 million. These simulators were like earlier ones produced in the late 1940s for airliners with the addition of visuals, sound, and movement. They were the first of today's modern flight simulators for commercial aircraft.[14]

A Curtiss-Wright Travel Air CW-12Q at Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, England

Business diversification

In 1956, financially strapped automaker Studebaker-Packard Corporation entered into a management agreement with Curtiss-Wright as a means for the nation's fifth-largest automobile manufacturer to avoid insolvency. The relationship lasted until 1959 at which time Curtiss-Wright withdrew from the agreement. The shift of civilian aircraft to jets left the company with little of its old business, and during the 1960s it shifted to components for aircraft and other types of equipment, such as nuclear submarines, a business that is still being conducted today.

In 2002, Curtiss-Wright acquired Penny & Giles, a supplier of black boxes and sensing devices (Hybrid linear, hybrid rotary and VRVT sensors).[15]

In 2003, Curtiss-Wright acquired Systran Corporation, a supplier of highly specialized, high-performance data communications products for real-time systems, primarily for the aerospace and defense, industrial automation and medical image markets.[16] The acquisition also reintroduced Curtiss-Wright to Dayton, Ohio.

In 2010, Curtiss-Wright acquired Hybricon Corporation for $19 million in cash. Hybricon is a supplier of electronic packaging for the aerospace, defense, and commercial markets, and provides electronic subsystem integration.[17]

In 2011, Curtiss-Wright acquired Ireland-based Acra Control for $61 million in cash. Acra Control is a supplier of data acquisition systems and networks, data recorders, and telemetry ground stations for both defense and commercial aerospace markets.[18]

At the beginning of 2013, Curtiss-Wright acquired Exlar Corporation for $85 million in cash. Exlar, a private company, is a designer and manufacturer of highly engineered electric actuators used in motion control solutions in industrial and military markets. The acquired business will operate within Curtiss-Wright's Motion Control segment.[19] In October 2013, Curtiss-Wright completed the acquisition of the Parvus Corporation, a business unit of Eurotech S.p.A., for $38 million. Parvus is a leading designer and manufacturer of rugged small form factor computers and communications subsystems for the aerospace, defense, homeland security, and industrial markets.[20]

Curtiss-Wright acquired military communications equipment supplier Pacific Star Communications for $400 million, on November 2, 2020.[21][22]

Curtiss-Wright Corporation successfully finalized the acquisition of 901D Holdings, LLC (901D) for $132 million in cash. Renowned for designing and manufacturing mission-critical integrated electronic systems, subsystems, and ruggedized shipboard enclosure solutions, 901D is a key contributor to major U.S. Navy shipbuilding programs. This acquisition broadens Curtiss-Wright's spectrum of instrumentation and controls systems technologies, significantly enhancing its involvement in crucial U.S. Navy shipbuilding initiatives. The integration of 901D's established expertise with Curtiss-Wright's cutting-edge electronic systems and software capabilities positions the company to deliver shipboard solutions for both nuclear and non-nuclear powered vessels.[23]

This strategic move ensures Curtiss-Wright's readiness to capitalize on the ongoing expansion of the U.S. naval fleet. Operating under Curtiss-Wright's Defense segment, the acquisition aligns with the company's long-term financial goals, emphasizing increased sales growth, margin expansion, and robust free cash flow generation. Anticipated to contribute positively to Curtiss-Wright's 2020 adjusted diluted earnings per share, excluding initial purchase accounting costs, the acquisition is expected to achieve a free cash flow conversion rate exceeding 100%.[23]

In February 2020, Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE: CW) completed the acquisition of Dyna-Flo Control Valve Services Ltd. ("Dyna-Flo") for $81 million in cash.[24]

In January 2022, Curtiss-Wright Corporation (CW) announced an agreement to acquire assets from Safran Aerosystems Arresting Company (SAA), a move aimed at expanding its presence in the military aircraft emergency arresting systems sector. SAA, a subsidiary of Safran Aerosystems, specializes in designing and manufacturing aircraft emergency arresting systems and will operate within Curtiss-Wright's Naval & Power segment post-acquisition. The completion of the acquisition, valued at $240 million, is contingent on regulatory approval and other closing conditions, with expectations for finalization in the third quarter of 2022. The strategic acquisition of SAA is part of Curtiss-Wright's efforts to enhance growth prospects and diversify its product portfolio. With an anticipated positive impact on CW's earnings, the $240 million transaction is projected to contribute to a robust free cash flow conversion rate exceeding 100%, signaling a favorable liquidity position for the company in the future.[25]

In November 2022, CW has finalized the acquisition of Keronite Group Limited, involving a cash transaction of $35 million. This strategic move is expected to enhance Curtiss-Wright's capabilities in Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation ("PEO") surface treatment services. Operating within Curtiss-Wright's Aerospace & Industrial segment, the acquisition is projected to have a neutral impact on the company's earnings in the initial year. It is anticipated to yield a 100% free cash flow conversion rate, underscoring the robust liquidity position. This strengthened financial position can be leveraged for profitable and revenue-generating strategies.[26]

Multinational divisions

As of 31 December 2012, the firm had several divisions:[27]



Model name First flight Number built Type
Curtiss Bleeker SX-5-1 Helicopter 1926 1 Experimental single engine helicopter
Curtiss Teal 2 Single engine monoplane flying boat
Curtiss-Wright Junior 1930 ~270 Single engine monoplane sport airplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-3 Duckling 1931 3 Single engine monoplane flying boat
Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk 1931 7+ Single engine biplane parasite fighter
Curtiss A-8 1931 13 Single engine monoplane attack airplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-15 1931 15 Single engine cabin monoplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-16 22 or 23 Single engine biplane trainer
Curtiss-Wright CW-17 N/A 0 Single engine biplane
Curtiss O-40 Raven 1932 5 Single engine biplane observation airplane
Curtiss F11C Goshawk 1932 30 Single engine biplane fighter
Curtiss XP-31 Swift 1932 1 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss YA-10 Shrike 1932 2 Prototype single engine monoplane attack airplane
Curtiss T-32 Condor II 1933 45 Twin engine biplane airliner
Curtiss BF2C Goshawk 166 Single engine biplane fighter
Curtiss-Wright CW-6 8 Single engine cabin monoplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-12 40 or 41 Single engine biplane trainer
Curtiss-Wright CW-14 Osprey 38+ Single engine biplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-19 ~43 Single engine monoplane attack airplane
Curtiss XF13C 1934 3 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss SOC Seagull 1934 258 Single engine biplane scout floatplane
Curtiss-Wright CA-1 1935 3 Single engine biplane flying boat
Curtiss P-36 Hawk 1935 1115 Single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss A-12 Shrike 46 Single engine monoplane attack airplane
Curtiss XA-14 1935 1 Prototype twin engine monoplane attack airplane
Curtiss A-18 Shrike 1935 13 Twin engine attack monoplane airplane
Curtiss SBC Helldiver 1935 257 Single engine biplane dive bomber
Curtiss P-37 1937 14 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss-Wright CW-21 1938 62 Single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk 1938 13738 Single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss XP-42 1939 1 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss SO3C Seamew 1939 795 Single engine monoplane scout floatplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-22 1940 ~442 Single engine monoplane trainer
Curtiss-Wright CW-23 1 Prototype single engine monoplane trainer
Curtiss C-46 Commando 1940 3181 Twin engine monoplane cargo airplane
Curtiss O-52 Owl 1940 203 Single engine monoplane observation airplane
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver 1940 7140 Single engine monoplane dive bomber
Curtiss AT-9 1941 792 Twin engine monoplane trainer
Curtiss XP-46 1941 2 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss P-60 1941 4 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss-Wright C-76 Caravan 1943 25 Twin engine monoplane cargo airplane
Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender 1943 3 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss XP-62 1943 1 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss SC Seahawk 1944 577 Single engine monoplane scout floatplane
Curtiss XF14C 1944 1 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss XBTC 1945 2 Prototype single engine monoplane torpedo bomber
Curtiss XF15C 1945 3 Prototype mixed propulsion monoplane fighter
Curtiss XBT2C 1945 9 Prototype single engine monoplane torpedo bomber
Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk 1948 2 Four engine jet monoplane fighter
Curtiss-Wright X-19 1963 2 Experimental twin engine tiltrotor airplane
Curtiss-Wright VZ-7 2 Experimental single engine helicopter
Curtiss-Wright CW-2 N/A 0 Unbuilt two-seat monoplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-5 N/A 0 Unbuilt cargo airplane
Curtiss-Wright CW-18 N/A 0 Unbuilt two-seat trainer
Curtiss XP-53 N/A 2 Prototype single engine monoplane fighter
Curtiss XP-71 N/A 0 Unbuilt twin engine monoplane heavy fighter
Curtiss XSB3C N/A 0 Unbuilt single engine monoplane dive bomber
Curtiss KD2C Skeet 1947 Target drone
Curtiss CW-32 N/A 0 Unbuilt four-engine transport[29][failed verification]

Curtiss Electric propellers

As well as manufacturing engines, a range of electrically actuated constant speed three- and four-bladed propellers were manufactured under the name Curtiss Electric.[30]

Albert Kahn

Albert Kahn Associates designed several industrial buildings for the Curtiss Wright Corporation,[31] including plants in Beaver, PA; Buffalo, NY; Caldwell, NJ; Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Kenmore, NY; Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO. Albert Kahn's personal working library, the Albert Kahn Library Collection, is housed at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan.

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e "Curtiss-Wright Corporation 2020 Annual Report" (PDF). Curtiss-Wright. 31 December 2020. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  2. ^ Form 10-Q. CURTISS WRIGHT CORP[permanent dead link].
  3. ^ "EDGAR Filing Documents for 0000930413-13-000998".
  4. ^ a b "History". Curtiss-Wright. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  5. ^ Williams, Keith (8 September 2017). "The Bronx Airport That Never Was". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2024.
  6. ^ Grover, T. Allen (September 1929). "The Monthly Financial Review". Aeronautics. Vol. 5, no. 3. Chicago, Illinois: Aeronautical Publications. pp. 75, 86. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Travel Air to Merge with Curtiss-Wright". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. AP. 7 August 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  8. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  9. ^ Herman, Arthur. Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, p. 312, Random House, New York, NY, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  10. ^ "Life Magazine, September 15, 1941". Google Books (LIFE Magazine Archive). 1941-09-15. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Factory". The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. 2000. ISBN 0813128900. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
  12. ^ a b Meyers, Jeffrey, The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-03544-9 (2009), pp. 92–93
  13. ^ a b Clausen, Henry C., and Lee, Bruce, Pearl Harbor: Final Judgment, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-81035-2 (2001), pp. 56–58
  14. ^ "Airline Pilots Fly Anywhere in the world – Without Leaving the Ground." Popular Mechanics, August 1954, p. 87.
  15. ^ PR Newswire. (1 April 2002) "Curtiss-Wright Complete Acquisition of Spirent's Sensor and Control Assets". Curtiss-Wright Company Website. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Curtiss-Wright Acquires Systran Corporation". Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  17. ^ Curtiss-Wright Corporation. (27 May 2010) "Curtiss-Wright to acquire Hybricon Corporation". Curtiss-Wright Company Website. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  18. ^ Ryan, Jim (28 July 2011) "Curtiss-Wright Acquires Acra Control LTD" Curtiss Wright Company Website. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  19. ^ Ryan, Jim (2 January 2013) "Curtiss-Wright Acquires Exlar Corporation" Curtiss Wright Company Website. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  20. ^ GlobeNewswire (2013-10-01). "Curtiss-Wright Acquires Parvus Corporation". TheStreet. Archived from the original on 2018-08-16. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  21. ^ Davidson, N.C. (November 2, 2020). "Curtiss-Wright Completes Acquisition of Pacific Star Communications, Inc". Nasdaq. Business Wire. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  22. ^ "Curtiss-Wright to buy communications firm PacStar". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  23. ^ a b "Curtiss-Wright Completes Acquisition of 901D Holdings, LLC". Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  25. ^ "Curtiss-Wright (CW) to Buy Safran Aerosystems' Arm for $240M". Yahoo Finance. 2022-01-26. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  26. ^ "Curtiss-Wright (CW) Completes the Acquisition of Keronite Group". Yahoo Finance. 2022-11-17. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  27. ^ "Exhibit 21 Subsidiaries of the Registrant".
  28. ^ "DY4 SYSTEMS". Rochester Avionic Archives. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Curtiss-Wright Plans New Cargo Transport". Aviation News. Vol. 6, no. 22. 24 November 1946. p. 10. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  30. ^ "Curtiss Electric Propeller". Archived from the original on November 5, 2007.
  31. ^ Albert Kahn Associated Architects and Engineers, Inc. (1948). Architecture. New York: Architectural Catalog Company, Inc. p. 159.


  • Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.
  • Eltscher, Louis R. and Young, Edward M. Curtiss-Wright – Greatness and Decline. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1998. ISBN 0-8057-9829-3.
  • Gunston, Bill (2006). World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines, 5th Edition. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, England, UK: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-4479-X.