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F11C Goshawk
XF11C-2 Goshawk, piloted by Curtiss test pilot William J. Crosswell, pictured during a test flight, 4 November 1932.
Role Carrier-borne Fighter & Fighter-Bomber
Manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
First flight September 1932
Introduction April 1932
Primary user United States Navy
Produced October 1932
Number built 28 plus 2 prototypes
For other uses of Goshawk, see Goshawk (disambiguation)

The Curtiss F11C Goshawk was a 1930s United States naval biplane fighter aircraft that saw limited success but was part of a long line of Curtiss Hawk airplanes built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company for the American military.

Design and development

In April 1932, when Curtiss was planning the Model 35B, the United States Navy contracted with the manufacturer for an improved derivative of the Model 34C, F6C as the F11C. It contained major changes that included the 600 hp (450 kW) Wright R-1510-98 radial engine, single-leg cantilever main landing-gear units, a slight increase in the interplane gap, metal- rather than fabric-covered control surfaces, and armament based on two .30 in (7.62 mm) fixed forward-firing machine guns supplemented by a hardpoint under the fuselage for the carriage of a 474 lb (215 kg) bomb, or an auxiliary fuel tank. Curtiss designed the type as the Model 64 Goshawk, with the U.S. Navy designation XF11C-1 (later XBFC-1 after the adoption of the BF for Bomber-Fighter category). The aircraft was of fabric-covered metal construction, used the wing cell structure of the dismantled YP-23, and was delivered in September 1932.[1]

Shortly before ordering the XF11C-1, the Navy had bought a company-owned Model 64A demonstrator. This had a Wright R-1820-78 Cyclone engine, slightly longer main landing-gear legs carrying wheels with low-pressure tires, a tailwheel in place of the tailskid, fabric-covered control surfaces on the tail, and external provision for underwing racks for light bombs as well as an under-fuselage hardpoint for either a 50 gal (189 l) fuel tank or the crutch that would swing a bomb clear of the propeller disc before release in a dive-bombing attack.[1]

Flight trials of this XF11C-2 (later redesignated as the XBFC-2) revealed the need for a small number of minor changes. After making the changes, the XF11C-2 came to be regarded as the prototype for the F11C-2, of which 28 examples were ordered as dual-role fighter-bombers in October 1932.[1]

From March 1934, the aircraft were revised with a semi-enclosed cockpit and a number of other modifications before they received the revised designation BFC-2 in recognition of their fighter-bomber or, as the Navy would have it, bomber-fighter role[1] The last aircraft in the XF11C-2 contract was converted to the prototype XF11C-3, that incorporated a more powerful R-1820-80 engine and a hand-operated retractable landing gear.[2]

XF11C-3 Goshawk in test flight

Operational history

The only U.S. Navy units to operate the F11C-2 were the Navy's famous "High Hat Squadron", VF-1B, aboard the carrier Saratoga, and VB-6 briefly assigned to Enterprise. In March 1934, when the aircraft were redesignated BFC-2, the "High Hat Squadron" squadron was renumbered VB-2B, and then VB-3B, and retained its BFC-2s until February 1938. VB-6 never actually embarked on Enterprise with the BFC bombers.[3]

The F11C-2 Goshawk was produced in two export versions as the Hawk I and Hawk II fighters. Essentially a modified XF11C-2, the Hawk II was fitted with a Wright R-1820F-3 Cyclone rated at 710 hp (530 kW) at 1,676 m (5,499 ft) and 356 l of fuel while the Hawk I had 189 l of internal fuel. Both versions carried the same armament as the production F11C-2. Only the Hawk II was exported in quantity with Turkey, the first customer taking delivery of 19 on August 30, 1932. Colombia placed an order at the end of October 1932, receiving an initial batch of four twin float-equipped Hawk IIs, the first of a total of 26 float fighters delivered by the end of July 1934. The Colombian Air Force used Hawk II and F11C-2 based in floats in the Colombia-Peru War in 1932-1933. Nine Hawk IIs were supplied to Bolivia, of which three had interchangeable wheel/float undercarriages; four were delivered to Chile, 52 to China,[4] four to Cuba, two to Germany, one to Norway and 12 to Thailand as Hawk IIIs.


XF11C-1 (Model 64)
First prototype derived from the Curtis F6C Hawk.
XF11C-2 (Model 64A)
Second prototype, redesignated XBFC-2.
F11C-2 (Model 64A)
Production version, redesignated BFC-2; 28 built.
XF11C-3 (Model 67)
One F11C-2 fitted with retractable undercarriage and a 700 hp (520 kW) R-1820-80.
XBFC-2 Hawk
The XF11C-2 prototype redesignated as a fighter-bomber.
BFC-2 Hawk
Redesignation of F11C-2.
BF2C-1 Goshawk (Model 67A)
Production version of the XF11C-3; 27 built.
Hawk II (Model 65)
Export version of XF11C-2, 126 built including 32 as floatplanes (for Bolivia, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Norway, Thailand and Turkey).
Hawk III
Export version of BF2C-1 with an 770 hp (570 kW) R-1820-F53 for Argentina, China, Thailand and Turkey; 137 built.
Hawk IV (Model 79)
Export version with an 790 hp (590 kW) R-1820-F56 engine; one demonstrator built.


Colombian Air Force Hawk II F11C,during the Güepí Campaign.

Udet's Curtiss Hawk II (D-IRIK) on display in the Polish Aviation Museum.


Bolivian Air Force


Chilean Air Force

 Republic of China

Chinese Nationalist Air Force


Cuban Air Force

  • Two aircraft were bought by Germany for evaluation, including D-3165 tested as floatplane.
  • One aircraft purchased for evaluation purposes.

Turkish Air Force

  • Three float-equipped aircraft purchased in March 1933. Four additional machines were brought in 1934.
 United States


Though not interested in politics, Ernst Udet joined the Nazi party in 1933 when Hermann Göring promised to buy him two new Curtiss Export Hawk II (D-3165 and D-IRIK). The aircraft were used for evaluation purposes and thus indirectly influenced the German idea of dive bombers, such as the Junkers Ju 87 (Stuka). Udet used D-IRIK in aerobatic exhibitions held during the 1936 Summer Olympics the aircraft survived the war, was eventually found in a field outside Kraków,[5] and is now on display in the Polish Aviation Museum.

A BFC-2 is in the National Museum of Naval Aviation on NAS Pensacola, Florida, USA.

A Hawk III, the only one existing, has been restored by the Royal Thai Air Force Museum. The aircraft on display is painted with (Hanuman, white body) insignia identifying it as belonging to Wing 4. The Hawk III served in the RTAF between 1934–1949.[6]

Specifications (F11C-2) & (BFC-2)

Data from "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft" [7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 22 ft 7 in (6.88 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 6 in (9.6 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 8.625 in (2.96 m)
  • Wing area: 262 ft² (24.34 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,037 lb (1,378 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 4,132 lb (1,874 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-1820-78 Cyclone Air-cooled radial engine, 700 hp (522 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 202 mph (325 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 150 mph (241 kp/h)
  • Service ceiling: 25,100 ft (7,650 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,300 ft/min (701 m/min)


  • 2 fixed .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns in the forward fuselage
  • 1 215 kg (474 lb) bomb on an under-fuselage hardpoint or 2 53 kg (117 lb) bombs carried one under each lower wing
  • References

    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Eden and Moeng 2002
    2. "Photograph - 'Photograph of F11C-3 Goshawk aircraft'." U.S. Navy Museum (Pensacola), 31 January 2000. Retrieved: 13 May 2009.
    3. Swanborough and Bowers 1976
    4. Gustavsson, Håkan. "Curtiss Hawks in the Chinese Air Force". Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
    5. Hitler's Generals: Udet (TV aeries)
    6. Trirat. "A Briefer History of the Royal Thai Air Force.", October 2007. Retrieved: 30 August 30, 2011.
    7. Eden and Moeng 2002, p. 514.

    External links

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