The fighter was based on a Boeing project, called Model 248. It had an open cockpit and a fixed undercarriage. The USAAC ordered three prototypes, which were called XP-936. The first flight took place on 20th March 1932.
After that, Boeing received a contract to build 111 Model 266 aircraft, which were named P-26A by the USAAC. This variant had more aerodynamic wings and was equipped with radio systems. The first flight of the P-26A was on 10th January 1934. 25 additional P-26B, powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1340-33-engines, followed later. The P-26C was modified on its carburettor and the fuel systems, 23 were built.
Eleven additional Model 281 configuration fighters were built and exported to China and Spain