Flown by Roland Rholfs, the 18T achieved a world speed record of 163 mph in August 1918 carrying a full military load of 1,076 lb.
The Model 18T-2 was an improved version of its predecessor, boosting 50 additional horsepower. The wings of the new model were swept back. It was also 5 ft (150 cm) longer with a 9 ft longer two-bay wing, though its flight ceiling was 2,000 ft lower.
After World War I, it was employed as a racing plane: an 18T-2 nearly won the Curtiss Marine Trophy Race in 1922 (limited to U.S. Navy pilots), but pilot Sandy Sanderson ran out of fuel just before the finish line.
Curtiss Engineering followed the success of the Model 18T with the launch of the Model 18B, unofficially known as the "Hornet", built to otherwise similar specifications.