Hawker Aircraft - British Aviation Heroes
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Hawker Woodcock - 1923 Single seat night interceptor. Two Vickers guns on side of nose
Hawker Duiker - July 1923 Reconnaissance aircraft to Air Ministry specification 7/22 One Vickers gun in nose with Lewis gun for gunner
Hawker Cygnet - 1924 Light aeroplane for the 1924 Light Aeroplane Competition
Hawker Hedgehog - February 1924 Fleet reconnaissance biplane to Air Ministry specificiation 37/22 One forward firing Vickers gun and one Lewis gun for observer .Crew of three. Pilot and observer in open cockpits under the wing with gunner in cockpit behind
Hawker Horsley - March 1925 Two seat day bomber or torpedo bomber. One forward firing Vickers gun and one Lewis gun on mount for gunner. One torpedo or up to 1,500 lb bombs
Hawker Heron - Mid 1925 Experimental single seat interceptor built as a private venture Two Vickers machine guns in front of cockpit
Hawker Hornbill - July 1925 Experimental single seat interceptor to specification 4/24 One forward firing Vickers gun
Hawker Danecock - 15 December 1925 Single seat interceptor for Danish Government based on Woodcock Two Madsen machine guns on side of nose.
Hawker Harrier - Early 1927 Experimental bomber to specification 23/25 One forward firing Vickers gun and one Lewis gun on mount for gunner. One torpedo or up to 1,000 lb bombs
Hawker Hawfinch - March 1927 Experimental single seat interceptor fighter Two forward firing Vickers machine guns
Hawker Hart - June 1928 Two seat trainer bomber and fighter
Hawker F.20/27 - August 1928 Prototype interceptor fighter to Air Ministry specification F.20/27 Two forward firing Vickers machine guns
Hawker Hoopoe - About October 1928 Experimental single seat naval interceptor fighter as a private venture Two forward firing Vickers machine guns
Hawker Tomtit - November 1928 Two seat elementary trainer
Hawker Honet - March 1929 Experimental interceptor fighter as private venture Two forward firing Vickers machine guns
Hawker Osprey - Before 1 June 1929 Two seat fleet fighter reconnaissance landplane or seaplane
Hawker Nimrod - Early 1930 Single seat naval interceptor fighter built to specification 16/30 Two fixed machine guns firing forward through the airscrew and one machine gun on a mounting in the gunners cockpit
Hawker Fury - 25 March 1931 Interceptor
Hawker Audax - 29 December 1931 Army co-operation aircraft One fixed forward firing Vickers and one Lewis on rear cockpit mounting. Racks for four 20 lb bombs under the wings
Hawker Demon - 10 February 1933 Two seat fighter biplane Two fixed machine guns firing forward through the airscrew and one machine gun on a mounting in the gunners cockpit
Hawker PV3 - 15 June 1934 Experimental single seat day and night fighter to meet specification F.7/30 Four forward firing machine guns grouped around the nose
Hawker Hardy - 7 September 1934 Two seat general purpose biplane for use in Near East and India Two machine guns, one firing forward through the airscrew and one on a mounting in the rear cockpit
Hawker Hind - 12 September 1934 Single engined high performance day bomber. Two Vickers guns, firing through airscrew, in troughs in sides of nose cowling, with mount for Lewis gun over back cockpit. Racks for two 250 lb bombs
Hawker PV4 - 6 December 1934 General purpose light bomber designed as private venture to meet specification G.4/31 One fixed forward firing Vickers and one Lewis on rear cockpit mounting. Up to 570 lb of bombs
Hawker Hartbees - 28 June 1935 Two seat ground support aircraft based on Audax for South Africa One fixed forward firing Vickers and one Lewis on rear cockpit mounting. Racks for light bombs under the wings
Hawker Hurricane - 6 November 1935 Single seater monoplane fighter to meet specifications F.36/34 It was produced at Hawker Aircraft, Kingston. When approved by the Air Ministry 1,944 Hawker Hurricanes Mk I were produced at Hawker Aircraft Ltd, 1,850 by Gloucester Aircraft Co. Ltd, Brockworth and 40 by Canadian Car & Foundry Corp, Canada 7,555 Hawker Hurricanes Mk II were produced at Hawker Aircraft Ltd, 900 by Gloucester Aircraft Co. Ltd, Brockworth and 300 by Austin Motor Co. Ltd, Longridge. 445 Hawker Hurricanes Mk IV were made by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. Only one Hawker Hurricanes Mk V was made by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. The Canadian Car & Foundry Corp, Canada made 490 Hawker Hurricanes Mk X, 150 Hawker Hurricanes Mk XI and 398 Hawker Hurricanes Mk XII
The Hurricane was the first monoplane fighter produced by Hawker, and was available in substantial numbers at the beginning of World War II. Hurricanes played a decisive role in the Battle of Britain when it equipped 26 RAF and 1 RCAF squadrons, and went on to fly on more fronts than any other British fighter. The Hurricane also earned distinction for being the most versatile of single seat warplanes to emerge from the Second World War. Later in the war, Sea Hurricanes were launched by catapult from ships at sea to defend convoys against air attack. A "tank buster" version with 40mm cannon was used in North Africa. The Hawker Hurricane was the work of Sydney Camm, who began its design in 1934. On 23 October,1935, the prototype fighter, bearing the serial number K5083, was moved from Kingston to Brooklands for its first flight on 6 November 1935 with PWS "George" Bulman, the company's chief test pilot, at the controls. Its tubular metal construction and fabric covering were similar to those of the earlier Fury fighter biplane, and many of its contours, particularly the tail surfaces, were characteristic of earlier Camm designs. The continued adherence to fabric covering was viewed with misgivings by some, and was, in fact, soon to be supplanted by metal skinning for the wings; but this seemingly dated feature was linked with what were for that time ultra-modern items such as a fully retractable under-carriage and a sliding cockpit canopy. For its first flight the fighter was powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin "C", the name that had earlier been bestowed upon the a powerful new engine, the PV-12, which drove a Watts two-bladed, fixed-pitch wooden propeller.
The initial production Hurricane I entered RAF service in December 1937, with 111 RAF Squadron. Powered by the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, it became the first RAF monoplane fighter with an enclosed cockpit and retractable undercarriage, its first fighter capable of a level speed in excess of 300 mph (483 km/h), and its first eight-gun fighter.
Squadrons were rapidly equipped with the Hurricane, thanks to the foresight of the Hawker Aircraft directors, and at the time war was declared, on 3 September, 1939, just short of 500 Hurricanes had been delivered and eighteen squadrons had been equipped. These were all of the Mark I type, armed with eight 0.303-in. machine-guns but having alternative propeller installations: a Merlin II engine driving a Watts two-blade fixed-pitch wooden propeller, or a Merlin III of similar power having a standardized shaft for de Havilland or Rotol three-blade metal propellers.
Hawker Sea Hurricane At the same time as the Hawker Hurricane was achieving its greatest fame during the Battle of Britain in the summer months of 1940, another serious threat to Britain’s survival was fast developing at sea; this was the increasing success of the German Navy’s U-boat and German maritime reconnaissance bomber aircraft attacks on British shipping conveys in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
”The only fighter cover was from the main fleet aircraft carriers but they were too few in number. As a stopgap temporary measure the Royal Navy converted some of their ships and 35 merchant ships to carry a single fighter aircraft launched by means of rocket assisted catapults. These were known as CAMs Catapult Aircraft merchantmen. If the aircraft was not within range of land it was a one way flight as the pilot had to ditch in the sea. The aircraft could not land back on the ship. These Fleet Air Arm Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IAs nicknamed “Hurricats” or ‘Catafighters’ were converted from RAF Hurricane Mk1s. They were armed with four .303 machineguns in each wing. They had a few notable successes in shooting down German long-range bombers. The first kill came on 3rd August 1941 when Lt RWH Everett in a Hurricat shotdown a Focke-Wulf FW 200 Condor. In August 1941 the CAM ships were fitted with more powerful catapults. This enabled the Sea Hurricanes to be fitted with heavy long-rang drop-tanks to give them extra range.
The Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk1B were given a V-frame arrester hook for use on the MAC-ships Merchant Aircraft Carrier ships, large merchant ships that were fitted with a small flight deck to enable better convey air protection. Early in 1942 the new Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk1Cs with their more potent 20mm cannons, two in each wing, catapult spools and arrester hooks arrived and operated from the new light aircraft carriers. The Mark 11Cs were fitted with the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin XX engine just in time for the intense air battles over Malta and Gibraltar in August 1942 during operation ‘Pedestal’. During three days of continuous attacks by German and Italian torpedo-bombers, bombers and fighters on British shipping convoys in the Mediterranean, 39 enemy aircraft were shot down for the loss of eight Fleet Air Arm navel fighters.
They also played an important part in operation ‘Tourch’ landings in North Africa in November 1942. With the introduction of the more powerful Corsair, Hellcat and Supermarine Spitfire navel carrier conversion Seafire the hawker Sea Hurricane was relegated to serving aboard numerous small escort carriers and shore training establishments for the rest of the war. Amongst the last operational machines were the 835 Squadron Sea Hurricanes 11Cs aboard HMS Nairana on convoy duties to Russian artic regions and southwards to Gibraltar during the summer months of 1944. Fleet Air Arm Sea Hurricanes were also went hunting for German U-boat submarines. On 22nd August 1944 three Hawker Sea Hurricane from FAA 825 squadron attacked a U-boat. The next day 825 Squadron Sea Hurricanes attacked two different U-boats.
Hawker Hector - 14 February 1936 Two seat army cooperation biplane Two machine guns, one firing forward through the airscrew and one on a mounting in the rear cockpit
Hawker Henley - 10 March 1937 Two seat target towing monoplane Low wing cantilever monoplane. All metal structure with metal skins
Hawker Hotspur - 14 June 1938 Turret fighter to specification F.9/35 based on Henley design No guns fitted but provision for single forward firing Vickers in nose with four Browning machine guns in turret
Hawker Tornado - 6 October 1939 Experimental single seat interceptor fighter Low wing cantilever monoplane. Two spar all metal structure. Only 3 prototypes ever built
Hawker Typhoon - The Hawker Typhoon is best remembered for the contribution it made during Operation Overlord the invasion of France on the D-Day Beaches of Normandy. During the build up squadrons of Typhoons would fly low level missions attack and destroy over France shooting at trains, German tank and amoured vehicles. They would strafe supply shipments and do anything they could to disrupt enemy movement on the land or water. After the allied troops had landed the Typhoons ran flying standing patrols over the battle zone known as "cab ranks", awaiting a call from ground forces for an immediate strike against German targets.
It was originally designed as a replacement for the aging Hawker Hurricane. It was the first 400mph (640km/h) fighter in the Royal Air Force. The Hawker Typhoon or ‘Tiffy’, nearly did not make it into production. The British Air Ministry issued guidance in Specification F.18/37 that it wanted a big powerful fighter aircraft. The untried Vulture and Sabre engines were used for the prototypes rather than the trusted Griffon and Centaurus engines. Development of the Typhoon was held back six months because of the urgent need for Hurricane Fighters for the Battle of Britain.
The first flight of the Typhoon was in February 1940 Production of the Hawker designed Typhoon was awarded to the Gloster Aircraft Company on 27th May 1941. RAF Duxford Squadrons Nos 56 and 609 were the first ones issued with this new big monster of a fighter. The Saber engine had a poor rate of climb and performance at height was very disappointing. The engine was unreliable and the most disturbing characteristic of the plan was that the rear fuselage kept on coming apart. There was a lot of talk about scrapping the program but luckily for the Allies the problems were gradually ironed out.
The Typhoon demonstrated that it could now catch and destroy the fastest Luftwaffe fighter bombers. It became the weapon of choice for the new phase of the war. The Allies were now taking the war to the Germans in Mainland Europe. In 1943 squadrons of Typhoons were sent over to Northern France, Belgium and Holland with instructions to blast and shoot up any military target that moved. Tanks, trains, military supply convoys, gun emplacements, airfields and boats were all targeted by Hawker Typhoons.
Its Armament was 12 0.303in Browning machine guns in the Hawker Typhoon Mark 1A and four 20mm Hispano cannon in outer wings and racks for eight rockets or two 500lb or later 1,000lb bomb. Post D-Day they operated from rough forward airstrips and provided ground support for the advancing infantry. They sent hundreds and thousands of rockets, cannon shells and bombs into German ground Forces. The Typhoon is credited in knocking out 175 tanks in one day in the Falaise Gap during the break out from the D-Day Beachhead.
Over 3,330 Typhoons were produced. Gloster Aircraft Co built 3,315. The final delivery of the last batch of Hawker Typhoons to the RAF was in November 1945. The early Typhoons had a heavy metal framed cockpit hood and a car type door on each side. The later 3,000 had a sliding clear bubble hood canopy for greater visibility. It had a maximum speed of 412mph and an initial climb rate of 3,000 feet per minute. It had a service ceiling of 35,000ft and a range with bombs of 510 miles. If drop tanks were fitted it had a range of 980 miles. With the end of World War Two the need for a specialised ground attack role ended and there was no longer a need for the Typhoon. It was withdrawn from Squadron service.
Hawker Tempest - The replacement for the Hawker Typhoon was the Hawker Tempest Single seat fighter and fighter-bomber designed to conform with the British Government new aircraft specifications F.10/41. Because of the amount of changes this aircraft was not called the Hawker Typhoon Mark II but given a different designation, the Hawker Tempest. It had four 20mm British Hispano cannon completely buried in the wings. In addition, eight rocket projectiles or two 1,000 lb bombs may be carried under the wings. This bomb load was double that carried under the Hawker Typhoon. It had a max speed 426 mph at 18,500 ft. The first flight of the Hawker Tempest was on 2nd September 1942. Only one Mk1 Hawker Tempest was made compared with 304 Hawker Tempest by Hawker Aircraft Ltd and 50 by Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd. Hawker made 800 of the Hawker Tempest MkV and 142 of the Hawker Tempest Mark VI.
The Typhoon had a thick wing and it was believed that this caused the aircraft to have erratic flight qualities at very high speed. This was later found to be due to local air flow over the Typhoon wing exceeding the speed of Sound. To deal with this problem Hawker’s design team redesigned the wing making it much more elliptical and slimmer than the original Hawker Typhoon wing. With less space inside the wing the Tempest’s fuselage had to be lengthened to accommodate the large fuel tanks that were now holding the fuel that had been stored in the Wing fuel tanks on the Typhoon. The Tempest was at first powered by the Sabre engine and after the war it was fitted with the Centaurus engine. The RAF shot down 1,771 V1 Flying bombs. The Hawker Tempest was fast enough to catch these rocket powered doodle bugs and was responsible for 638 of that number.
Hawker Sea Fury - The Hawker Sea Fury Single seat naval fighter or photographic reconnaissance monoplane first flew on 1st September 1944. Its armourment was four 20 mm British Hispano Mk.5 cannon mounted two in each wing. Racks below wings for two 500 lb bombs, or twelve 3 in or 5 in rocket projectiles. It had hinged wings to enable it to be stored on aircraft carriers.
Hawker Hunter - After World War Two Hawker’s Sydney Camm took advantage of the power of the new jet engines by developing the Hawker Hunter fighter-bomber. It first flew on 20th July 1951. Its Armament was Four 30 mm Aden guns in self contained removable package in underside of fuselage nose. Four underwing pylons. A world speed record of 728 miles per hour (1,172 kilometers per hour) was set by the test pilot of a Hawker hunter in 1953. Over 2,000 Hawker Hunter ground attack jet fighters were built by 1960. It remained in service until 1980 even though there were faster fighters being developed between 1960 and 1980. The Hawker Hunter did not require supersonic speed for attacking ground targets and could be refuelled and rearmed in five minutes
Hawker Sea Hawk - The Hawker Sea hawk Single seat naval jet fighter took over from the Hawker Sea Fury. It first flew on 2nd September 1947. Its armourment was Four 20 mm cannon mounted in lower portion of fuselage nose. Provision for bombs or rocket projectiles on underwing racks. It had hinged wings to enable it to be stored on aircraft carriers.
Hawker Harrier - The Hawker Harrier jump jet that amazed the world and would assist the British Armed Forces take back the Falkland Islands. The Harrier was the worlds first vertical take off and landing ground attack jet fighter. Hawker’s Ralph Hooper, a senior manager, was very interested in the new Bristol Aircraft Pegasus engine with nozzles that could swivel in any direction. The engine could direct its thrust downward to take off and land vertically, to hover, to stop in midair, and to manoeuvre in flight. Hooper was given approval from Hawker Siddeley to build an experimental airplane, the P.1127, which first flew in 1960. The British ministry of Defence purchased Harriers for both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Harrier jump jets first entered operational service in 1968. The American Government was so impressed when they inspected the Harrier that they ordered their own harriers to equip the U.S. Marines. This lead to Hawker Siddeley forming a partnership with American firm McDonnell Douglas. This enabled the continued development of the of the Harrier allowing it to have an operational life of over 40 years.
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