Having a semi-monocoque stressed-skin fuselage with fabric-covered metal wings, the XFJ-1 single-seat experimental shipboard fighter featured an upper wing faired into the fuselage which was strut-braced above the lower wing. Proposed armament comprised two 0.3 in (7.62 mm) synchronized machine guns and power was provided by a 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340C Wasp nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engine.
The XFJ-1 was ordered on May 16, 1929, and flown for the first time in May 1930, but evinced extremely poor landing characteristics and was damaged in a landing accident at Anacostia early in its flight program. It was returned to the Berliner-Joyce Corporation in November 1930 for reconstruction and modification.
After the reconstruction the dihedral was eliminated from the upper wing, which was given gull configuration, the vertical tail surfaces were enlarged and a 500 hp R-1340D Wasp engine was installed, this being enclosed by a Townend ring and fitted with a spinner.
Redesignated XFJ-2, the aircraft resumed its flight test program at Anacostia on May 22, 1931. The XFJ-2 displayed no improvement in landing characteristics by comparison with the XFJ-1 and proved unstable, and after testing by the USN was discarded as unsatisfactory.