One in a series of successful Curtiss dive bombers, the BFC-2 was developed from the XF11C-2 fighter, first flown in June 1932. Designed to carry a 500 lb. bomb on a centerline rack or four 112 lb. bombs under the wings, the Goshawk filled roles as both fighter and dive bomber. Delivered in February 1933 to Fighting Squadron (VF) 1B as F11C-2s, the aircraft were redesignated BFC-2 to indicate their dual roles. A later model, the F11C-3, had manually retracted landing gear, but served only a short time in 1934.
The success of Curtiss' F6C Hawk led to the development of the Light Bomber Program, in which the Navy sought an aircraft that could execute a 70 degree or steeper dive, survive a nine G pull-out, and deliver a 500 lb. bomb. The F6C-4, F7C and F8C influenced development of the new single-seat fighter for the Navy that would serve a dual role as fighter and dive-bomber. The Navy ordered two prototypes in April 1932, designated XF11C-1 and XF11C-2, the first powered by a 600 hp Wright R-1510 engine with three-blade prop, the second by a Wright R-1820 with two-blade prop. A single 500 lb. bomb could be carried on a center line bomb rack hinged to swing downward to release the bomb outside the propeller arc, or four wing stations could carry 112 lb. bombs. The fighter was armed with two forward-firing .50-caliber machine guns, and a 50 gallon drop tank also could be carried on the centerline in lieu of a bomb.
Trials for the XF11C-2 began in June 1932, followed later in the year by XF11C-1 tests. By October of that year, orders were placed for 28 F11C-2s with R-1820 engines and a modified cockpit. An unusual half-canopy was a unique feature, derived from pilots' dislike of closed canopies. Deliveries began in February 1933, with USS Saratoga's Fighting Squadron (VF) 1B, the only squadron to receive the new aircraft. In March 1934, the aircraft were redesignated BFC-2s to indicate their dual roles as fighter and dive-bomber. The BFC-2s remained operational in the fleet until 1938.
By May 1933, 27 F11C-2s had been completed. The rest of the aircraft in the contract were designated XF11C-3s, differentiated by manually retracted landing gear and a semi-enclosed cockpit. In February 1934, 27 of the new aircraft were ordered, with deliveries that October. The designation changed from F11C-3 to BF2C-1, and the aircraft were assigned to Bombing Squadron (VB) 5 aboard USS Ranger (CV-4). They served only a few months before landing gear difficulties led to their withdrawal.
|Powerplant:||One 700 hp Wright R-1820-78|
Length: 25 ft.
Empty: 3,037 lb.
Max Speed: 205 mph at 8,000 ft.
Two fixed, forward-firing .30-caliber machine guns; one 500 lb. bomb or four 112 lb. bombs