Curtiss BFC

The Curtiss BFC was the designation given to the early versions of the Curtiss F11C with fixed undercarriage in March 1934. The F11C-1 and F11C-3 were updated versions of the F6C, itself a Naval version of the Army's P-1 Hawk. The F11C differed from the contemporary Army P-6 mainly by using a Wright Cyclone radial engine in place of the inline Conqueror engine used on the P-6, as well as having special Naval equipment.

Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk of VF-1B, 1933-34
Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk
of VF-1B, 1933-34

Curtiss BFC-2 in Flight
Curtiss BFC-2 in Flight

Early in 1934 the F11C-2 fighter-bombers were modified in the field, using kits provided by Curtiss. They were given a new high turtleback rear deck, which lined up with a sliding canopy that covered the rear part of the open cockpit. In this new format they were re-designated as the BFC-2 (bomber-fighter, Curtiss).

In February 1933 the F11C-2s were issued to Navy Squadron VF-1B, which was serving on the USS Saratoga. In March 1934 the aircraft were re-designated as the BFC-2, although they remained with the same squadron. The squadron kept its BFC-2s until 1938, undergoing two changes of designation itself during this period. In 1934 it went from VF-1B to VB-3B, reflecting the change of designation in the aircraft (from a fighter to a bomber squadron). In 1937 all squadrons on the Saratoga were given her hull number, so VB-2B became VB-3. The five-year front line career of the BFC-2 was something of a record for the US Navy in the inter-war period, and contrasted with the very short and unsuccessful service career of the BF2C.

In January-February 1938 the squadron converted to the Vought SB2U0-1. Eleven of the BFC-2s were allocated to VB-6, a bomber squadron being formed for the new carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) but few of the aircraft actually made it onto the carrier. Most were transferred to other duties while several were scrapped or damaged. Three of the few that did reach the Enterprise were removed during her shakedown cruise and the entire fleet was grounded in December 1938.

F11C-2/ BFC-2
Engine: Wright R-1820-78 Cyclone single row radial
Power: 700hp
Crew: 1
Span: 31ft 6in
Length: 25ft 0in
Height: 10ft 7.25in
Empty weight: 3,037lb
Normal loaded weight: 4,120lb
Max speed: 205mph
Climb Rate: 2.6 mins to 5,000ft
Range: 560 miles
Armament: Two .3in Browning machine guns
Bomb load: One 500lb or four 112lb bombs

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 January 2013), Curtiss BFC , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_curtiss_BFC.html

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