Would you like to see this aircraft in-game?
If so, which of the modernization versions would you like to see
- Unmodified (essentially a Hunter FGA.9 with no Sidewinders but improved air to ground loadout options including American bombs and SURA rockets)
- Beagle crisis modification (The same as the previous just with Shafrir 2 missile compatibility)
- Águila upgrade (includes compatibility with Shafrir 2 missiles, RWR, countermeasure pods and a modernized cockpit)
- All of them
- A couple of the versions but not all (please specify in a reply)
- I voted no
The Hawker Hunter FGA.71 was an export version of the Hunter based on the Hawker Hunter FGA.9 designated for export to the Chilean Air Force. While that fact alone may seem deceptively insignificant, the Chilean Hunters were used operationally multiple times and were modified over the years in order to expand their capabilities and service life. The Chilean Hawker Hunters were among the last to remain in service in any Air Force, being withdrawn from service only in 1995.
- The following suggestion is a sort of family suggestion of the Hunter FGA.71 containing multiple stages of it’s modifications over the years. despite this the suggestion also occasionally brings up a very similar model, the Hunter FR.71, as it saw a similar set of modifications and I only managed to get photos of it’s cockpit and not the FGA.71’s. It is important to note that any mentions of the Hunter FR.71 are only done to reference modifications of the Hunter FGA.71 I didn’t have photos for and it is not included in this suggestion.
In 1965 the Chilean Air Force found itself in a predicament as they were refused the purchase of then modern jet fighters from the United States. With this refusal Chile decided to turn to the UK on which it previously relied in order to acquire military jets to procure a new jet fighter for their air force. The Chilean Air Force was mainly drawn towards the Hawker Hunter, and an order for the first batch of 21 Hunters was placed on October of 1966 who became the first Hunter FGA.71s. Chile continued to procure more Hunters down the line, some second hand from the Belgian and Dutch air forces. Technically speaking not all of the Hunters acquired were exactly the same in terms of onboard tech, but for the sake of this suggestion the differences aren’t very noticeable and they were mostly brought up to the same standard over time. The Hunter FGA.71s saw service in the Chilean Air Force under air groups number 7, 8 and 9.
The first (controversial) use of the Hunters in conflict
The Hunter FGA.71 was first used in conflict in an incident which is considered to be rather controversial, as it involved their use in suppression of the nation’s own people. several Hunters of group number 7 were used on September 11th 1973 to strike targets within the capital Santiago including radio stations and the residence of the republic’s president as a part of a broader conflict which resulted in the overthrowing of the republic’s government.
The fist modification of the Hunters, born under conflict
In 1977 it became clear to the Chilean Air Force that a conflict with the neighboring country Argentina was imminent. This proved to be incredibly problematic as the most capable fighters Chile had access to then, the American F-5, lacked spare parts due to an American embargo. As a result of this the Maintenance Wing of the Chilean Air Force urgently modified 6 of group 9’s Hunter FGA.71s to carry Rafael Shafrir 2 missiles. The Shafrir 2 missiles were originally purchased from Israel with the intention of using them on the F-5s instead of AIM-9 Sidewinders due to the American embargo, but with the F-5s being in bad shape it was decided to use them on the Hunters instead. This is considered to be the first major modification of the Hunter FGA.71, and it was standardized on all of the Hunter FGA.71s of the Chilean Air Force in 1983. The 6 Hunters that were modified to carry Shafrir 2 missiles before 1978 were put on quick reaction alert in the Southern part of Chile during the Beagle crisis of 1978 against Argentina to be used in a defensive role.
The Águila program
During the early 80’s Chile commenced an upgrade program for the Hunter FGA.71s due to concerns regarding their usefulness in case of further conflict with Argentina. The program called “Águila” (Eagle in Spanish) included, as previously mentioned, a standardization of the capability to carry Shafrir 2 missiles which was done in 1983, but it wasn’t the only part of the modernization. The Electronics Department of the Chilean Airforce, which was later integrated into the national ENEAR company, was tasked with the development of various devices that would increase the combat effectiveness of the Chilean Hunters (this included more variants than just the FGA.71).
The main upgrade that was developed was an indigenous RWR system called the Caiquén. Not much is known about the original model (supposedly some Hunters had it for a short time), but the main version used ended up being the second model, the Caiquén II. The Caiquén II can be distinguished thanks to a set of 3 radars located at the tip of the vertical stabilizer and the tail bullet. The system weighs merely 10kg and gives the Hunter FGA.71 a full 360 degree warning coverage in azimuth +/- 40 degrees and is capable of identifying the direction of the received radar signal as well as the type of radar used to emit the signal. In addition to the AAMs and RWR the Águila program also included the development of a domestic countermeasure pod called Eclipse. This CM pod is capable of using MJU-7/B flares and RR-170 chaff charges. Each of the carried pods was capable of housing 60 total charges (reportedly). One of the more impressive capabilities of the Eclipse system is it’s full integration with the Caiquén II RWR, as the pilot can choose whether to use the Eclipse pods manually or have them be used automatically based on input from the RWR. Finally, the Águila program also included a modernization of the cockpit that, among other purposes, was also meant to standardize a similar cockpit layout for all Hunter versions in Chilean use (this includes the FGA.71, FR.71 and T.72). Some less notable upgrades were also included such as new communications and navigation equipment as well as a new motor ignition system.
While the original aim of the program was to upgrade the entire Hunter fleet, only about 20 Hunters were upgraded, of which only 13 were of the FGA.71 variant.
The end of service
over the years the Hunter fleet was reduced with group number 8 eventually becoming the only air group of the Chilean Air Force that still operated the aircraft. The modernized Águila airframes continued to be used in the 90’s in air patrols but in 1995 the Chilean Hunters finally retired, being among the longest serving Hawker Hunters in the world.
Country of origin: UK (Upgraded by Chile)
Type: Jet Fighter/Attacker
Length: 14 m
Height: 4 m
Wing span: 10.3 m
Wing surface area: 32.4 m^2
Powerplant: Rolls-Royce Avon 207 rated at 4,536 kgf of thrust
Max speed: 1,128 km/h
Max altitude: 15,850 m
Range: 715 km
Weight: Empty: 6,532 kg, Fully loaded: 11,158 kg
- Regular FGA.71: 4 x 30mm ADEN cannons with 150 rounds per gun, 32 x 81mm SURA P3 rockets, 72 x 68mm Matra SNEB rockets, Mk.81, 82 and 83 bombs in weights of up to 3,000 lbs, 4 x Cardoen CB-250-K cluster bombs, 2 x Cardoen CB-500-K cluster bombs, 2 x 230 Gallon external fuel tanks (drop tanks).
- Added capabilities with the beagle crisis and Águila upgrades: 2 x Shafrir 2 air to air missiles.
- With the Águila upgrade: Caiquén II RWR, 2 x Eclipse flare/chaff pods with 60 charges each.
Additional photos and media