Curtiss Hawk III

The Curtiss Hawk III was the export version of the BF2C-1. It differed from the US Navy fighter-bomber in reverting to the wooden wing structure of the F11C-2 (spruce beams with plywood webs and spruce ribs) and having a Wright SR-1820F-53 Cyclone.
The first export of the Hawk was a single example to Turkey delivered in April 1935. Thailand started to receive Hawks from August 1935. In March 1936 the first of a total of 102 were delivered to China, 90 of these being assembled by the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) at Hangzhou. One other user was Argentina which started to take deliveries from May 1936. Argentina also purchased the sole example of the Hawk IV in July 1936; this using a Hawk III airframe with a full sliding canopy, carburettor heating and an exhaust collector ring for the SR-1820F-56. One civil demonstrator of the Hawk II was also built.

The Curtiss Hawk II saw combat in China and Siam.
In China they were used in the Sino-Japanese War from 1937 and until 1941 when they were relegated to second-line duties.
Four Siamese fighter squadrons were equipped with Hawk IIIs and one was operating Hawk IIs during late 1940 when France and Siam engaged in a short border war. The Hawks flew escort, interception and dive-bombing missions against French forces based in Indochina. The survivors of these fighters saw action on 7 December 1941, when Japanese forces invaded Thailand. This action was short-lived as peace talks led to a cease fire later that day. One Hawk III is preserved in Thailand as part of the Thai Air Force Museum at don Muang Air Base, near Bangkok.

The Curtiss Hawk III saw service in: Argentina (10 Hawk III and 1 Hawk IV), China (102), Siam (Thailand) (24), Turkey (1).

Total production: 139

Technical details Curtiss Hawk III
Span:____________9.60 m
Lenght:__________7.14 m
Engine:__________Wright SR-1820F-53 / 785 hp for take-off
Max speed:_______386 km/h at 3505 m
Service ceiling:_7864 m
Range:___________925 km
Armament:________2x0,3 in Browning machine guns in fuselage. Max bomb load 215 kg

Combat Aircraft of World War Two - Elke C. Weale, John A. Weale and Richard F. Barker, 1977 Lionel Leventhal Limited, ISBN 0-946495-43-2
Curtiss Navy Hawks in action – Peter Bowers, Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, ISBN 0-89747-342-6
The Complete Book of Fighters - William Green and Gordon Swanborough, Greenwich Editions, London, ISBN 0-86288-220-6

Curtiss Hawks in the Chinese Air Force

Last modified 02 March 2003