|Designer||B. Douglas Thomas|
|Primary user||United States Army Air Service|
The XP-13 Viper was a prototype biplane fighter aircraft designed by the American company Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation. The airplane was delivered to the United States Army in 1929, but they did not adopt it.
This aircraft was one of several B. Douglas Thomas designs built in hopes of a production contract from the Army, following the successful Thomas-Morse MB-3 of 1919. Financed by the company, and named the "Viper", it was officially purchased by the Army in June 1929 and designated "XP-13".
The XP-13 fuselage had a corrugated aluminum skin built over a metal frame; the flying surfaces were also metal-framed, but covered with the traditional fabric. While designed to use the 600 hp Curtiss H-1640-1 Chieftain engine, (a novel 12-cylinder two-row air-cooled radial with the rear cylinders directly behind the front cylinders rather than staggered as normal in a two-row radial) for which the XP-13 incorporated a complex system of baffles to direct cooling air over the engine, the engine simply would not stay cool enough, and in September 1930 it was replaced with a Pratt & Whitney SR1340C Wasp of 450 hp. Ironically, the lower-power engine actually resulted in a speed increase of 15 mph, at least partly because of the weight savings.
In the end, the Army decided against production, Thomas-Morse was acquired by Consolidated Aircraft, and the prototype was lost to an inflight fire.
Data from William Green; Gordon Swanborough (1994). The Complete Book of Fighters: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Every Fighter Aircraft Built and Flown. Salamander. ISBN 978-0-86101-643-3.