Pleased with the company's VE-7, in 1926 the Navy gave Vought a $459,709 contract for convertible land/sea 20 fighters. Vought already had a two-seat observation plane, the UO-1, basically a VE with additional fuselage streamlining and a Wright J-3 radial engine. This was made into a fighter simply by covering over the front cockpit of the observation plane, mounting machine guns in that area, and upgrading to a 220 hp Wright R-1790 Whirlwind with a supercharger. With the help of the supercharger, the newly-designated FU-1 was able to reach a speed of 147 mp at 13,000 ft.
The FU-1s were delivered to VF-2B based in San Diego, California. With their float gear mounted, one was assigned to each of the battleships of the Pacific Fleet, where they were launched from catapults. They spent 8 months in this role, but as the squadron went to aircraft carrier operations, the further-aft cockpit proved to a visibility problem when maneuvering around a carrier deck. In response, the forward cockpit was re-opened, the result being designated FU-2.
By this time they were no longer state-of-the-art, and the two-seaters primarily served as trainers and utility aircraft.
- Lloyd S. Jones, U.S. Naval Fighters (Fallbrook CA: Aero Publishers, 1977, ISBN 0-8168-9254-7), pp. 53-54