The Seversky P-35 was an innovative aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps in that it was the first aircraft that they ordered that featured both a fully enclosed cockpit and a retractable undercarriage.
The P-35, at the time its specifications were issued, could be considered a fairly advanced design. It was an all-metal cantilevered monoplane design with an enclosed cockpit. The main landing gear retracted up into the wing, but only partially, which led to a loss of speed through drag. The armament of the P-35 fired through the large cowling of the plane and was considered obsolete by the point of service.
- P-35: Original production model.
- EP-1: Single seat export version. Unsold units were re-named P-35A when exports were banned.Fuselage lengthened to accommodate uprated Pratt and Whitney R-1830-45 Twin Wasp. This led to slight increases in top speed and altitude, but a consequent drop in range.
- 2PA-L: Two seat export version with Wright Cyclone engine.
In 1935 Seversky entered a tender to find a replacement for the P-26 Peashooter, firstly with the SEV-2XD, and then the SEV-1XP, then finally the SEV-7 which was accepted as the P-35 with an order of 77 airframes. These were delivered July 1937 and August 1938. Due to long delays filling this order, USAAC ordered 210 P-36 Hawks to fill the gap.
At the same time, the 2PA-L model was developed and 20 models were sold to Japan in secret. These were given the designation A8VI the the JNAF. Two were also sold to Russia along with a licence to manufacture more. It is not known if any were made in Russia.
Sweden ordered 120 EP-1 models, but only 60 had been developed by the time an embargo was placed on overseas sales. The remaining sixty were put into us in the USAAC.
40 P-35s were sent to the Philippines,though by December 1941, only 8 were usable, the rest either having been destroyed or put out of action by enemy fire. By the time the P-35 saw action, it was out-gunned by enemy airplanes that it could expect to face. It was also slower and the lack of armour was a large factor in its unsuitability.
It is not known if any of the units sent to Japan or Russia saw service. Swedish service EP-1 fighters served in the protection of Stockholm