SB2C-5 Helldiver of the 3F squadron in Indochina. (ECPA)
EMBARKED SINGLE-ENGINED DIVE BOMBER
It was built by Curtiss, and it first flew on December 18th 1940. The aircraft was the most effective of its type, that's why 7 200 were built between 1942 and 1945. The aircraft was first use from the deck of the USS Bunker Hill on November 11th 1943. The Helldiver retained an unenviable reputation "around the boat", with more aircraft being lost in deck landing accidents than to enemy action combat grimly joked that its designation (SB2C) stood for "Son of Bitch, 2nd Class". Although passionately disliked by many of the crews sent into combat flying it, the Helldiver was responsible for the destruction of more Japanese targets than any other US dive-bomber. Postwar, a small number of aircraft saw further use with the French, Italian, Greek and Portuguese Navies and the Royal Thai Air Force, whilst its US Navy career lingered on until the end of the 1940s. It was equipped with a Wright R-2600-8 Cyclone engine. It could accommodate one pilot and a rear-gunner.
The SB2C-5 version equipped with a R-2600-20 engine (1 900 hp) appeared in February 1945. This version was bought by France in order to arm the 3F and 9F squadrons embarked aboard CV Arromanches. They took part in many operations over Indochina. At the end of its career, it was used by the 1S, 2S and 54S squadrons as support aircraft.
It was equipped with :