In 1948, the Air Force was looking for a replacement for the Northrop P-61 Black Widow. Curtiss-Wright proposed the XF-87 Blackhawk. Initially conceived as an all-weather attack aircraft, the Air Force changed the requirement to an all-weather fighter. Curtiss made some changes, and built the four-engine Blackhawk. When it lost out to the F-89 Scorpion, it spelled the end for Curtiss-Wright, a name that goes back to the earliest days of aviation. Curtiss was at one time the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States. Its assets were sold to North American Aviation.


Although technically a fighter, the F-89 Scorpion was a very large aircraft. It was America's first jet-powered aircraft designated as an interceptor, was among the first to be armed with guided missiles, and the first armed with unguided air-to-air nuclear rockets. The wingtip pods could be used for fuel or rockets, and AIM-4 Falcon missiles could also be attached to the pods. The Scorpion was retired in 1969.