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British Industrial History

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Hawker: Hunter

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1951. The Hawker P1067 Fighter.
1952. The Hawker P. 1067.
1952.
1953.
1953.
Sept 1953. WB 188.
1954.
1954.
1955. F.1's.No. 54 Squadron at Farnborough.
1955.

Note: This is a sub-section of Hawker

Type

  • Fighter and ground attack jet

Designers

Manufacturers

Production Dates

  • 1956-

Number produced

  • 1,972

Engines

The Hawker Hunter is a transonic British jet aircraft developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary roles with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy until the early 1990s.

At the end of the Second World War, it was apparent that jet propulsion would be the future of fighter development. Many companies were quick to come up with airframe designs for this new means of propulsion. Hawker Aviation's chief designer, Sydney Camm, proposed the Hawker: P.1040 for the RAF, but the demonstrator failed to interest them. Further modifications to the basic design resulted in the Hawker: Sea Hawk carrier-based fighter. The Sea Hawk had a straight wing and used the Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine, both features that rapidly became obsolete.

Seeking better performance and fulfilment of the Air Ministry Specification E.38/46, Sydney Camm designed the Hawker: P.1052, which was essentially a Sea Hawk with a 35-degree swept wing.

First flying in 1948, the P.1052 demonstrated good performance and conducted several carrier trials, but did not warrant further development into a production aircraft. As a private venture, Hawker converted the second P.1052 prototype into the Hawker P.1081 with swept tailplanes, a revised fuselage, and a single jet exhaust at the rear.

First flown on 19 June 1950, the P.1081 was promising enough to draw interest from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), but further development was stalled by difficulties with the engine reheat. The sole prototype was lost in a crash in 1951.

P.1067

In 1946, the Air Ministry issued Specification F.43/46 for a daytime jet-powered interceptor. Camm prepared a new design for a swept-winged fighter powered by the upcoming Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet. The Avon's major advantage over the Rolls-Royce Nene, used in the earlier Sea Hawk, was the axial compressor, which allowed for a much smaller engine diameter and provided greater thrust; this single engine gave roughly the same power as the two Rolls-Royce Derwents of the Gloster Meteors that would be replaced by the new fighter.

In March 1948, the Air Ministry issued a revised Specification F.3/48, which demanded a speed of 629 mph (1,010 km/h) at 45,000 ft (13,700 m) and a high rate of climb, while carrying an armament of four 20 mm (0.79 in) or two 30 mm (1.18 in) cannon (rather than the large-calibre gun demanded by earlier specifications). Initially fitted with a single air intake in the nose and a T-tail, the project rapidly evolved into the more familiar Hunter shape.

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