- Hawker Hunter
name = Hawker Hunter
type = Fighter and
national origin =
caption = Privately-owned Hunter T 7 “Blue Diamond”
first flight = 21 July 1951
introduced = 1956
retired = Still in combat roles with Lebanese AF
primary user =
Royal Air Force
more users =
Iraqi Air Force Indian Air Force Lebanese Air Force Swiss Air Force
number built = 1,972
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =
The Hawker Hunter was a jet
fighter aircraftof the 1950s and 1960s. The Hunter served for many years with the Royal Air Forceand was widely exported, serving with 19 air forces. A total of 1,972 Hunters were produced by Hawker Siddeleyand under licence.
The origins of the Hunter trace back to the
Hawker Sea Hawkstraight-wing carrier-based fighter. Seeking better performance and fulfillment of the Air MinistrySpecification E.38/46, Hawker Aircraft's chief designer Sydney Cammcreated 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 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.1081with swept tailplanes and revised fuselage, with a single jet exhaust at the rear. First flying on 19 June 1950, the P.1081 was promising enough to draw interest from the Royal Australian Air Forcebut development went no further and the sole prototype was lost in a crash in 1951.
Meanwhile, in 1946, the
Air Ministryissued Specification F.43/46 for a daytime jet-powered interceptor. Camm took the basic P.1052 design and adopted it for the upcoming Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet. The Avon's major advantage over the Rolls-Royce Nene, used in the Sea Hawk, was the axial compressor, which resulted in a much smaller engine diameter and better thrust. In March 1948, the Air Ministry issued Specification F.3/48, to cover development of the project. Initially fitted with a single air intake in the nose and a T-tail, the project rapidly evolved to the more familiar shape. The intakes were moved to the wing roots, to make room for weapons and radar in the nose. A more conventional tail arrangement was devised, as a result of stability concerns. The project number should have been the P.1066, but as it would have undoubtedly been called the "Hawker Hastings" and Handley-Pagealready had an aircraft with this name, Sydney Cammdecided to retire the 1066 project number without it ever being used.The P.1067 first flew from MoD Boscombe Downon 20 July 1951,Jackson 1982, p.11] powered by a 6,500 lbf (28.91 kN) Avon 103 engine from an English Electric Canberrabomber. The second prototype was fitted with production avionics, armament and a 7,550 lbf (33.58 kN) Avon 107 turbojet. It first flew on 5 May 1952. As a back-up, Hawker was asked to adapt the new fighter to another British axial turbojet. The third prototype with an 8,000 lbf (35.59 kN) Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire101 flew on 30 November 1952. The two Avon-engined aircraft were duck-egg green in color, while the Sapphire prototype was speed silver.
Ministry of Supplyordered the Hunter into production in March 1950, a year before the first flight. The first production Hunter F 1 with a 7,600 lbf (33.80 kN) Avon 113 turbojet flew on 16 March 1953. The first 20 aircraft were, in effect, a pre-production series and featured a number of "one-off" modifications such as blown flaps and area ruled fuselage. On 7 September 1953, a Hawker Hunter F 3 flown by Neville Dukebroke the world air speed record, achieving 727.63 mphover Littlehampton[http://www.speedrecordclub.com/records/outair.htm] . However, the record stood for less than three weeks before being broken by an RAF Supermarine Swifton 25 September 1953.
The Hunter was a conventional all-metal monoplane. The pilot sat on a
Martin-Baker2H or 3H ejector seat. The two seat trainer version used the Mk.4H ejection seats. The fuselage was of monocoqueconstruction, with a removable rear section for engine maintenance. The engine was fed through triangular air intakes in the wing roots and had a single jetpipe in the rear of the fuselage. The mid-mounted wings had a leading edge sweep of 35 degrees and slight anhedral. The tailplanes and fin were also swept. The controls were completely conventional. A single airbrake was fitted under the ventral rear fuselage. The aircraft had conventional retractable tricycle landing gear. A noteworthy feature of the single seat fighter version was the armament of four 30 mm ADEN cannon. The cannon and ammunition boxes were contained in a single pack that could be removed from the aircraft for rapid re-arming and maintenance. Interestingly, the barrels of the cannon remained in the aircraft when the pack was removed. In the two seat version, either a single ADEN cannon was carried or, in some export versions, two ADEN cannon, with a removable ammunition tank. A simple Ekco ranging radar was fitted in the nose. Later Marks (Mks) of Hunter had SNEB Pods fitted. These were 68 mm rockets in 18-round Matra pods, giving a strike capability against road convoys and trains.
The Hunter F 1 entered service with the
Royal Air Forcein July 1954. It quickly became apparent that the new fighter had insufficient fuel capacity. In addition, incorrectly-designed air intakes produced disruptions in air flow to the engine, with resultant compressor stalls. The engine problems were compounded by ingestion of gas when the cannon were fired, which resulted in flameouts. The potential solutions of cutting fuel to the engine when the cannon fired and restricting the use of cannon to low speeds and altitudes were obviously unsatisfactory. The F 2 produced at the same time which used the Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphireengine did not suffer from flameouts.
Furthermore, ejected cannon ammunition links had a tendency to strike and damage the underside of the fuselage. The original split flap airbrakes caused adverse changes in pitch trim and were quickly replaced by a single ventral airbrake. Unfortunately, this meant the airbrake could not be used for landings. Finally, the canopy suffered from fogging and icing during rapid descents.
Its short range was crippling for the new British fighter, with a maximum flight endurance of about an hour. On 8 February 1956, a flight of eight Hunters was redirected to another airfield due to inclement weather. Six aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed, with one pilot killed. One of the aircraft that landed ran out of fuel while taxiing.Goebel, Greg. ' [http://www.vectorsite.net/avhunt.html 'The Hawker Hunter".] Air Vectors, 1 June 2005. Retrieved: 12 May 2006.] On the positive side, the aircraft possessed good handling characteristics and even the early F 1 version would exceed sonic speed in a 30°-40° dive at full throttle from 40,000 feet and above with comparatively minor trim changes. Neil Williams, former British test pilot and once vice world aerobatics champion (who was killed in an accident with a Spanish Heinkel), relates in his book how his repeated attempts to break the sound barrier all failed, even after diving the aircraft in full throttle and "full vertical" from over 35,000 ft but clearly this did not apply to production models.Fact|date=March 2008
The first Hunter prototype was fitted with an afterburning Avon RA.7R with 9,600 lbf (42.70 kN) of thrust and other aerodynamic refinements (most noticeably a pointed nose). Dubbed Hunter F 3, on 7 September 1953 it set a speed record of 628.1 knots (722.2 mph, 1,163.2 km/h) over a 1.62 nautical mile (1.86 mile, 3 kilometre) course.
To address the problem of range, a production Hunter F 1 was fitted with a new wing which featured fuel bladders in the leading edge and "wet" hardpoints. This increased the internal fuel capacity from 337 to 414
imperial gallons (404 to 497 US gal, 1533 to 1833 L). In addition, a single 100 imperial gallon (120 US gal, 454 L) external fuel tank could be carried under each wing. The resulting Hunter F 4 first flew on 20 October 1954, entering service in March 1955. A distinctive Hunter feature added on the F 4 was the pair of blisters under the nose, which collected spent ammunition links to prevent airframe damage. Crews dubbed them "Sabrinas" after the contemporary movie star. The Sapphire-powered version of the F 4 was designated the Hunter F 5. Although the Sapphire did not suffer from the flameout problems of the Avon and had better fuel economy, the RAF elected to persevere with the Avon in order to simplify supply and maintenance, since the same engine was also used by the Canberra bomber.
To deal with surging and flameout problems, Rolls-Royce fitted the Avon with a new automatic fuel system and redesigned compressor. The resulting Avon 203, producing 10,000 lbf (44.48 kN) of thrust, was fitted to Hawker P.1099, which became the definitive Hunter F 6. The other crucial revision on the F 6 was the new "Mod 228" wing, which had a larger area, a distinctive "dogtooth" leading edge notch to alleviate the
pitch-upproblem [The notch prevented spanwise flow of air] , and four "wet" hardpoints, finally giving the aircraft a good ferry range.
The Hunter F 6 was retired from its fighter role in the RAF in 1963, being replaced by the
English Electric Lightning. However, many F 6s were given a new lease of life in the close air supportrole, after being converted into the Hunter FGA.9 variant. This had a further strengthened wing and greater external fuel and weapons capability. The FGA.9 saw front-line use from 1960 to 1971, alongside the closely related FR.10 tactical reconnaissance variant.
Two-seat trainer versions of the Hunter, the T 7 and T 8 remained in use for training and secondary roles by the RAF and
Royal Navyuntil the early 1990s.
In December 2006. the Hunter re-entered RAF service with two ex-Swiss examples being leased from a private operator to act as targets for a surface to air missile program, and were allocated the RAF serials ZZ190 and ZZ191. This was followed by a two-seat aircraft in April 2007, which reverted to its original RAF serial XF995.
;Switzerland and SingaporePerhaps the most enthusiastic Hunter users were Switzerland and Singapore, who used it from 1958 to 1994, both improving it in service and often choosing to retain it in lieu of newer aircraft.
The Swiss AF for some years ran a display team using Hawker Hunter Mk 58s which performed internationally. The aerobatic demonstration team of
Swiss Air Forceis the Patrouille Suisse, which now flies six Northrop F-5E Tiger II jets. Quite a number of the Hunters in private hands are ex-Swiss AF. Several get together to re-enact those earlier displays.
;in SwedenIn the early 1950s, the
Swedish Air Forcesaw the need for an interceptor that could reach enemy bombers at a higher altitude than the J 29 that formed the backbone of the fighter force. A contract for 120 Hawker Hunters was therefore signed in 1954 and the first one were delivered in August 1955. The model was designated J 34 and was assigned to the F 8 and F 18 wings that defended Stockholm. The J 34 was armed with four 30 mm cannons and two Sidewinders. The Swedish Air Force's aerobatic team Acro Hunters used five J 34s during the late 1950s. The J 34s were gradually replaced by supersonic J 35 Draken and re-assigned to less prominent air wings, F 9 in Gothenburg and F 10 in Ängelholm, during the 1960s. The last ones were retired in 1969.
A project to improve the performance of the J 34 by installing a Swedish-designed afterburner proved successful in 1958. However, the cost turned out to be prohibitive so the project was shelved without implementation.
Suez Crisisof 1956, Hunters of No. 1 and No. 34 Squadrons based at RAF Akrotiriin Cyprusflew escort for English Electric Canberrabombers on bombing missions into Egypt for just one day before being put on local air defence due to their lack of range.
In 1967 during the
Six-Day War, Hunters of the Iraqi air force gave a good account of themselves. While flying a Hunter from Iraqi Airbase H3, Flt. Lt. Saiful Azam of PAFshot down two Israeli jets including a Mach 2.2 Mirage IIIC. Some missions were also flown by the Jordanian AF, but most of the Jordanian Hunters were destroyed on the ground on the first day of the war. A total of 16 were lost in air-to-air battles. Iraqi Hunters flew from Egypt and Syria also but many were lost in combat.
Adenin May 1964 Hunter FGA.9s and FR.10s of No. 43 Squadron RAFand No. 8 Squadron RAFwere used extensively and effectively during the Radfan campaignagainst insurgents attempting to overthrow the Federation of South Arabia, predominantly using 3 inch high explosive rockets and 30mm Aden cannon. Both squadrons continued operations with their Hunters until the UK withdrew from Aden in November 1967.
Brunei Revolt and Borneo Confrontation
Brunei Revoltin 1962, the Royal Air Force deployed Hunters over Brunei to provide support for British ground forces. In one event, several Bruneian and Expatriatehostages were under threat of execution, however several Hunters overflew the rebel compound which prevented any executions from taking place. In the following Borneo Confrontation, Hunters were deployed along with other RAF aircraft in Borneoand Malaya.
Hunters played an important role in the military coup that overthrew the socialist president of
Chile, Salvador Allende, on 11 September 1973 Chilean coup d'état. Hunters of Squadron No 7 of the Chilean Air Forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende's house in Santiago, and radio stations loyal to the government.
The regime of
Siad Barreused Hunters for indiscriminate bombings during the civil war in Somaliain the late 1980s.
Rhodesians (now Zimbabwe) used their Hunter FGA.9s extensively against ZANU/ ZAPUinsurgents in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, including cross-border strikes.
Zimbabweused its Hunters (inherited from the Rhodesian Air Force) to support Laurent Kabiladuring the Second Congo Warand they were supposedly also involved in the fighting in Mozambique.
Lebanese Air Forceoperated Hawker Hunters from 1958. One was shot down on the first day of the Six-Day Warby the Israeli Air Force. They were used infrequently during the Lebanese Civil War, flying their last sorties in a period from 1 September to 15 September 1983.
On 20 August 2007, reports indicated that the Lebanese Armed Forces may restart using them after the conflict with Fatah al Islam militants in the Nahr el-Bared camp north of Tripoli [ [http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2007/09/the_victory_leb_1.php Helicopter bombs] ]
Further statements have since been made indicating that Lebanon is currently in the process of returning eight FGA 70 and T 66C Hunters to airworthy condition for operational combat sorties against guerillas, however the programme has been held up in recent times by lack of certain spares for the aircraft, most notably cartridges for the Martin-Baker ejection seats.
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Hunters attacked Pakistani armoured units, destroying many Patton tanks. The aircraft proved invaluable in a ground attack role, destroying several tanks in the famous Battle of Asal Uttar. By the second day of the war, in the air-to-air combat, the PAFwith its Sabres proved its supremacy from day one resulting in a frantic decision by the Indian Air Command to pull back their remaining Hunters to safer Southeren Air Bases and thus out of the conflict. The reason for the unimpressive results in the air-to-air combat is attributed to the fact that the Hunters were bomb-laden and operating at extreme ranges. To add to the problems, the Indian Air Force(IAF) did not field any air-to-air guided missiles at that time. By comparison the Sabres did carry air-to-air missiles. Another handicap for the IAF was that in comparison the PAF, most of the Indian pilots were newer recruits. Further all IAF fighter pilots relied on the use of unguided rockets, cannons or gunpacks. [ [http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/hunter/history.html Thunder and Lightnings] ]
;1971Four Hunters of the IAF destroyed dozens of
Pakistani T-59 and Sherman tanks in the Battle of Longewala. The Hunters destroyed nearly 100 different vehicles of the Pakistan Armyin the same battle.
Hunters were also involved in attacks against
strategic objectives, attacking oil installations at Karachion 4 December 1971, and the Mangla Damthe next day, crippling its Hydel power project. A week later, four Hunters from Jaisalmercarried out rocket attacks on the Sui gas plantin Northern Sindh, setting the plant on fire. In East Pakistan(present-day Bangladesh), Hunters along with Canberras, MiGs and An-12s attacked the Joydebpur Ordnance factoryand severely damaged it. The Hunters also engaged Pakistan Air Forceaircraft in the skies over Dhakadestroying seven F-86 Sabres. [ [http://www.stratmag.com/issue2Dec-15/page07.htm Pakistan] ] [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/hunter.htm Globalsecurity.org] ] Aided by other aircraft of the IAF, the Hunters soon destroyed the eastern wing of PAF and were instrumental in gaining air superiorityfor the IAF in the 71 war.
Belgiumand Netherlandsproduced the Hunter under license, through Avions Faireyand Fokkerrespectively
;Hunter Flying Ltd.
Exeter International Airportin England, Hunter Flying Ltd maintain over fifteen privately owned examples of the Hunter. [ [http://www.hunterflying.co.uk/ Hunter Flying] ]
*Delta Jets who operate from
Kemble Airfieldnear Cirencester, England, have three operational Hunters. [ [http://www.deltajets.com/ Delta Jets] ]
*On 16 July 2006 in Hillsboro,
Oregon, USA, a Mk 58 Hawker Hunter owned by lawyer Robert Guilford [ [http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/attorneys/robertguilford.htm Robert Guilford] ] crashed into a residential area when it failed to gain full power upon takeoff, killing the pilot and causing damage to some properties.King, Connie. [http://www.kgw.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.kgw.com/071606_AirshowPresser.wmv "Authorities release details of crash and house fires."] "Hillsboro Fire Department" Windows Media File. Retrieved: 16 July 2006.] The crash is still being investigated by the FAA and the NTSB. The Hunter had been part of the static display on the ground and not an active participant in the airshow [Callaway, Steve. [http://www.kgw.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.kgw.com/071606_AirshowPresser.wmv "Authorities release details of crash and house fires."] "Oregon Air Show" Windows Media File. Retrieved: 16 July 2006.] Witnesses said that the takeoff of the Hawker Hunter appeared to be slower than normal.
;Thunder CityA total of seven Hunters are based at Thunder City at
Cape TownInternational Airport in South Africa:
*Hunter F 6A, XE653 (ZU-AUJ), ex-RAF 111 Squadron Black Arrows
*Hunter GA 11, XF368 (used for spares), ex-Fleet Air Arm
*Hunter T 8B, XF967 (Buccaneer instruments) (ZU-CTN), ex-RAF
*Hunter T 8C XL598 (ZU-ATH), ex-Fleet Air Arm
*Hunter T 7, XL613 (ZU-LEE), ex-RAF
*Hunter F 58, J-4059 (ZU-AVC), ex-Swiss Air Force
*Hunter T 68, J-4202 (ZU-HUN), ex-Swiss Air Force
The latter two aircraft belong to Johannesburg lawyer Ron Wheeldon. [ [http://www.thundercity.com Thundercity.com Thunder City] ]
;Northern Lights Combat Air SupportThis company, based in
Quebec City, Canada, owns and operates 12 Hunters (mainly ex-Swiss F 58 variants) for a range of military co-operation duties such as FAC training, radar calibration, radar target facilities and missile simulation. [ [http://www.nlcas.ca/content.cfm?PageID=4 Northern Lights Combat Air Support] ]
There are a large number of surviving Hunters in private and museum collections. [ [http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/hunter/survivors.html Listing at Thunder and Lightnings] Retrieved: 26 September 2007.]
pecifications (Hunter F 6)
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
ref=The Great Book of Fighters [Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. "The Great Book of Fighters". St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.]
length main=45 ft 11 in
length alt=14.00 m
span main=33 ft 8 in
span alt=10.26 m
height main=13 ft 2 in
height alt=4.01 m
area main=349 ft²
area alt=32.42 m²
empty weight main=14,122 lb
empty weight alt=6,405 kg
loaded weight main=17,750 lb
loaded weight alt=8050 kg
max takeoff weight main=24,600 lb
max takeoff weight alt=11,158 kg
type of jet=
number of jets=1
thrust main=10,145 lbf
thrust alt=45.13 kN
max speed main=Mach 0.94, 620 knots
max speed alt=715 mph, 1,150 km/h
max speed more=at sea level
combat range main=385 nm
combat range alt=445 mi, 715 km
ferry range main=1,650 nm
ferry range alt=1,900 mi, 3,060 km
ferry range more=with external fuel
ceiling main=50,000 ft
ceiling alt=15,240 m
climb rate main=17,200 ft/min
climb rate alt=87.4 m/s
loading main=51.6 lb/ft²
loading alt=251.9 kg/m²
guns=4× 30 mm
ADEN cannons in a removable gun pack with 150 rounds per gun
rockets=4× Matra rocket pods with 18×
SNEB68 mm rockets each "or" 24× Hispano SURA R80 80mm rockets
AIM-9 Sidewinders, 2× AGM-65 Maverick
bombs=7,400 lb (3,400 kg) of payload on four external
hardpoints (Singapore Hunters had a centreline hardpoint), including a variety of bombs "or" Drop tanks for extended range.
Finnish Air ForceHawker Hunter can be seen in the final scene of the horror movie " 28 Days Later", apparently on a "recce" mission above the British countryside. The Hunter's appearance also hints the possibility of the existence of survivors outside British soil (which would be confirmed in the sequel " 28 Weeks Later").
Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident
Q-5 Fantan(earliest versions)
Dassault Super Mystère
F-100 Super Sabre
* Deacon, Ray. "Hawker Hunter - 50 Golden Years". Feltham,, UK: Vogelsang Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-9540666-0-X.
* Griffin, David. "Hawker Hunter 1951 to 2007". Tacoma, WA: Lulu Enterprises, www.Lulu.com, 2007. ISBN 1-4303-0593-4.
* Hannah, Donald. "Hawker FlyPast Reference Library". Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK: Key Publishing Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-946219-01-X.
* Jackson, Robert. "Modern Combat Aircraft 15, Hawker Hunter". Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Cromwell Books, 1982, ISBN 0-7110-1216-4.
* James, Derek N. "Hawker: Aircraft Album No. 5". New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1973 (First published in the UK by Ian Allan in 1972). ISBN 0-668-02699-5.
* Mason, Francis K. "Hawker Aircraft since 1920." London: Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0-85177-839-9
* Winchester, Jim, ed. "Hawker Hunter." "Military Aircraft of the Cold War" (The Aviation Factfile). London: Grange Books plc, 2006. ISBN 1-84013-929-3.
* [http://www.fradu-hunters.co.uk/ The FRADU Hunters web-site]
* [http://www.hawkerhunter.co.uk/ The Official WV322 and XF995 Web Site]
* [http://www.spyflight.co.uk/fr10.htm Article on Gütersloh Hunters]
* [http://www.hunterflyingltd.co.uk/ Hunter Flying Ltd]
* [http://www.deltajets.com/ Delta Jets]
* [http://www.hunterteam.com/ Hawker Hunter Aviation]
* [http://www.heritageaviation.com "Miss Demeanour"] , a (now famous) former RAF Hunter F 4
* [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Hawker-Hunter-1951to2007/ "Hawker-Hunter-1951to2007"] Yahoo Group featuring hundreds of Hunter photos
* [http://www.warbirdalley.com/hunter.htm Warbird Alley's Hunter information page]
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