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Curtiss 84E Helldiver (SB2C-3)

This low wing tip cantilever monoplane replaced the fixed wing SBD.  

After a lengthy development period 1939-1942, and more than 880 major design changes the SB2C was complete.  

The SB2C-3 Helldiver was the last and most extensively built of all US Navy dive bombers.  The Army version, A-25 Shrike, had fixed wings.  

The first Helldiver entered combat along side Hellcats and Avengers, on November 11, 1943 over Rabaul.   Annihilating all Kate torpedo bombers and Val dive bombers from the Japanese air group, the Rabaul mission was considered an outstanding success.  

The SB2C-3 was built only by Curtiss, and remained in service until the 1950’s.  

Service History

  • Delivered: May 4, 1944
  • May 44 - VB-81
  • Oct 1944 - NAS CASU 4 Barbers Point, HI
  • Nov 1944 - VB-17
  • Jan 1945 - CASU 31
  • Feb 1945 - VB-88
  • Mar-Apr 1945 - CASU 31
  • May 1945 - VB-2
  • June 1945 - VB-95
  • July 1945 Pearl Harbor, HI, minor repairs
  • Aug 1945-AWT, San Diego, CA
  • Aug 1945-Pool, San Diego, CA until disposed
  • Stricken: Nov 31, 1945
MFG: Curtiss

First Produced: 1942

Powerplant: Wright R-2600-


Horsepower: 1,900 lbs

Prop: Curtiss 4-Blade C/S

Service Ceiling: 29,100 ft

Cruise: 254 mph

Top Speed: 295 mph

Range: 1,925 miles

Empty Weight: 10,400 lbs

Gross Weight: 16,616 lbs

Wing Span: 49’9”

Wing Area: 422 sq. ft

Length: 36’8”

Height: 13’2”

Armament: (2) 7.62 mm

machine guns in rear cockpit,

(2) 20 mm Canon wings,

2,000 lbs of bombs

Number Built: 7,200 total

2,054 SB2C-3s

Yanks acquired this aircraft in 1989. Previously owned by the Fox Movie Studios.