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The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, also known as the Curtiss A-25 Shrike, was a dive bomber developed by Curtiss-Wright during World War II. As a carrier-based bomber with the United States Navy (USN), in Pacific theaters, it supplemented and replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless. A few survivors are extant.
Initially poor handling characteristics and late modifications caused lengthy delays to production and deployment, to the extent that it was investigated by the Truman Committee, which turned in a scathing report. This contributed to the decline of Curtiss as a company. Neither pilots nor aircraft carrier skippers seemed to like it. Nevertheless, the type was faster than the Dauntless, and by the end of the Pacific War, the Helldiver had become the main dive bomber and attack aircraft on USN carriers.
The SB2C Helldiver has connections to Curtiss’ previous Navy dive bomber, the SBC, also called the Helldiver (the Curtiss company seemed fond of the name). The SBC was a biplane design that began in 1933 as a two-seat fighter with dive bombing capabilities (XF11C) and was subsequently revised to scout-bomber specifications. The SBC-3 entered Navy service in 1937 and was the last biplane combat aircraft to see Navy service.