Curtiss Hawk II or Goshawk

The Curtiss Hawk II (or Goshawk) was an export version of the Hawk biplane fighter that sold in significant numbers, as well as being the basis for the Navy's F11C Hawk.

The Hawk II was developed from the P-6E. It was given a single-strut cantilever undercarriage and was powered by a Wright Cyclone radial engine, replacing the Curtiss Conqueror inline engine of the P-6E.

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

One Hawk II demonstrator was sold the US Navy, where it became the XF11C-2. This aircraft competed against the XF11C-1, which was a similar Curtiss aircraft but with all-metal construction in place of the mixed construction of the Hawk II/ XF11C-2. The Navy preferred the mixed construction of the XF11C-2 and ordered it into production as the F11C-2. Their apparent conservatism would be justified later when the metal wings of the BF2C-1 (a redesignated version of the F11C) caused great problems.

The Hawk II went on sale in 1932 and immediately gained customers. Turkey was the first customer, buying nineteen aircraft that were delivered in August-September 1932. Bolivia also received the first of its eventual twenty-six Hawk IIs late in 1932, although the last wasn't delivered until July 1934. These aircraft were used as float planes.

Most sales came during 1933. China was the biggest customer, buying fifty. Bolivia ordered nine, with the first appearing late in 1933. Cuba bought four during the year,

Perhaps the most significant of the Hawk IIs were the pair bought by the German Air Ministry in 1933 at the bidding of Ernst Udet. He had seen the Gulfhawk I demonstrate dive-bombing at the National Air Races and decided to investigate the technique in Germany. The first German Hawk was delivered early in 1934, and the two aircraft were used to help prove that dive bombing was an effective method of attack.

After 1933 sales of the Hawk II fell away. Thailand ordered twelve during 1934 and Chile bought four in 1935 (building more in Chile). By then Curtiss has sold a total of 127 Model 35 Hawk IIs.

Curtiss also sold a single Model 47 Hawk II, which was an improved aircraft that had originally been built as a company demonstrator. This aircraft was sold to Norway in July 1934.

Country

Number

Dates

Bolivia

9

December 1933-June 1934

Chile

4

January 1935

China

50

March-September 1933

Colombia

26

October 1932-March 1934

Cuba

4

January 1933

Germany

2

October 1933

Thailand

12

August-September 1934

Turkey

19

August-September 1932

Service Record

The Hawk II was used in combat by Bolivia, China and Thailand and possibly by Peru.

Bolivia ordered eight Hawk IIs and three Sea Hawk IIs, but only nine of these eleven aircraft were delivered before an arms embargo imposed after the outbreak of the Chaco War. The first four were delivered on 19 December 1932. Two more arrived on 3 -4 August 1933 and the only Sea Hawk to arrive was delivered on 18 June 1934. The last two Hawk IIs were delivered on 18 July 1934. The last two Sea Hawks were seized by US Customs officials. The Sea Hawks were set up to use floats or wheels, but in service all nine aircraft were used with wheels. These aircraft thus arrived during the second half of the period of open hostility between Bolivia and Paraguay, but fairly soon after the start of the most intense period of conflict in 193, with the last aircraft arriving towards the end of the conflict.

The Bolivians used their Hawk IIs in a wide range of roles, but mainly to provide ground support (carrying under-wing bombs) and reconnaissance. There was some air-to-air combat, but it wasn’t their primary role. The first Hawk was probably engaged in combat in January 1933, and the aircraft were in near-constant action from then until the end of the war. Only one, the first to be delivered, was lost to enemy action (on 26 December 1934). The Hawk also claimed one aerial victory, when two Hawks shot down a Paraguayan Potez 25 on 11 December 1934. Five of the nine Hawk IIs survived the war. They performed an aerobatic performance in Peru during 1937 and were still officially on hand in March 1943.

Although no Hawk IIs were officially produced for Peru, at least three reached that country. Two of them might have been the Bolivian Sea Hawks that were seized before they could be delivered, although they may have been some of the four aircraft ordered by Chile. Some of these aircraft were used against Columbia during the Leticia Incident of 1932-33, supporting the idea that they came from Chile (the Bolivian aircraft would have arrived too late).

See the Hawk III for the combat record of the Chinese and Thai Hawks.

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: 202-205mph
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 (14 January 2013), Curtiss Hawk II or Goshawk , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_curtiss_hawk_II.html

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