Military Wiki
F7C-1 Seahawk
The Curtiss XF7C-1 in June 1929
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
First flight 28 February 1927
Retired 1933
Primary user United States Marine Corps
Number built 17

The Curtiss F7C Seahawk was a carrier-capable biplane fighter aircraft of the United States Navy Marine Corps in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Design and development

Curtiss' Model 43 was their first aircraft designed expressly for the Navy, rather than a modified Army type. While clearly a descendant of the P-1 Hawk, its wings were constant-chord rather than tapered, and the upper wing had a slight sweepback. The engine was a 450 hp (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B Wasp radial. Entirely fabric-covered, the top wing was framed with spruce, while the fuselage was built from a combination of aluminum and steel tubing, sufficiently strong to serve as a dive bomber as well as a fighter.

Operational history

The prototype XF7C-1 first flew on 28 February 1927. After some modification demanded by the Navy (such as the wing sweepback), 16 production aircraft F7C-1 Seahawks were built, and entered service in the USMC's VF-5M at Quantico. In 1930 VF-9M organized the Marine's first aerobatic stunt team, "The Red Devils", with F7Cs featuring red painted noses.[1][2] They continued in service until 1933.


The XF7C-1 as a seaplane without the cowling.

  • XF7C-1: Prototype aircraft; one built.
  • F7C-1 Seahawk: Singe-seat fighter aircraft, main production version; 17 built.
  • XF7C-2: Single F7C-1 conversion for evaluation with the 575 hp (429 kW) Wright R-1820-1 radial engine and large-span full-span flaps.
  • XF7C-3: A demonstration prototype for China with an armament of four .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns, I-type interplane struts, and ailerons on both the upper and lower wings rather than on just the upper wing. The type was superseded by the Model 64, F11C Goshawk.


United States

Specifications (F7C-1)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 22.6 ft (6.88 m)
  • Wingspan: 32.67 ft (9.34 m)
  • Height: 9.71 ft (2.96 m)
  • Wing area: 275 ft² (25.55 m²)
  • Empty weight: 2,053 lb (931 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,782 lb (1,262 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B Wasp radial engine, 450 hp (336 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 155 mph (249 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 150 mph (241 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 22,100 ft (6735 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,860 ft/min (9.45 m/s)



  1. Skyways, July 2001, p. 60.
  2. Barrow 1981, p. 49.

External links

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