In the late twenties, the USN Bureau of Aeronautics began to take an interest in the development of a high-performance, two-seat fighter for use with the fleet. It was first thought the O2U could be adapted, but it proved impractical and a competition was announced. Curtiss entered the XF8C-1 while Vought offered the XF2U-1.
Vought’s second fighter attempt was a redesigned O2U-3. The Navy only bought one. Like most early Vought biplanes, it employed a strut between ailerons since only the lower aileron was connected to the pilot’s control stick.
Vought’s production success with the O2U series seemed to hamper the company’s ability to work on the XF2U-1. It wasn’t until 2 years after the first contract was signed that the XF2U-1 made its first flight (June 21, 1929). In the meantime, Curtiss had their plane flying and in the final stage of testing. They were already testing a subsequent design, the XF8C-2, which was impressive in its flight before official observers.
The XF2U-1 met all contract guarantees for performance and was a suitable aircraft for the mission. Unfortunately, it was based on the Corsair design while its competitor’s two airplanes were designed from the ground up for the specified mission. In the final showdown, the Vought model was rejected and the Navy went into quantity production with the Curtiss, which became the first of the famous “Helldivers.