Introduction: The Hunter T.7 was at first viewed as “unnecessary” by the Air Staf. Despite this, the twin-seat variants spawned by it lasted longer in service than any other Hunter variant, and became a very important part of the RAF’s training establishment for decades.
Development: The P.1101, what would eventually become the Hunter T.7 was first proposed for a requirement which stipulated the need for a trainer capable of at least Mach 1.0 flight, thus allowing it to train pilots for the next generation of fighters. As frontline aircraft got faster and more advanced, so too did the trainers. Oddly enough, the P.1101 was not deemed fully suitable, and was discarded, although none of the aircraft proposed truly met the requirement in full. Despite this, it was considered suitable for a role within Flying Training Command. This may have encourage Hawkers to continue development of the type privately. Apart from this, Hawker also had an eye on the export market, and understood that foreign operators would require a trainer anyway. Finally, the company also perceived the need for a new trainer for the RAF, since the Meteor T.7 suffered from numerous accidents and the Vampire T.11 was quickly becoming outdated. Both were becoming sorely out of date as technology rapidly advanced. In 1954, Specification T.157D was issued by the Air Ministry with the specific aim of introducing the P.1101 as the Hunter T.7 in service by 1958. The prototype was converted from a Hunter F.4, with a new cockpit section with side-by-side seating and a single ADEN cannon. Underwing hardpoints were retained for two 1000lb bombs, drop tanks and rocket projectiles. Development took time, with a number of aerodynamic problems with the canopy being found, requiring a new dorsal canopy fitting. A total of 45 new-build aircraft and 28 conversions from F.4s were produced.
Service: The T.7s were used to teach the necessary skills for air combat, against both air and surface targets. Students were trained in aerial combat manoeuvres in day or night and gunnery, with only the top students being chosen for air defence squadrons. The Hunter T.7 soon formed the backbone of the RAF’s training establishment, serving in No.1 TWU until July 1977 and No.2 TWU until 1981.
Armament: Primary Armament:
• 1x 30mm ADEN cannon
• 4x SNEB pods
• 24x RP-3
• 2x 1000lb Bombs
Powerplant: 7,425lb thrust Rolls-Royce RA.7 Avon 122
Max. Speed: 603 knots at sea level, 0.92 Mach
Service ceiling: 47,000ft
Empty Weight: 13,360lb
Max. Take-off Weight: 17,200lb
Wing Span: 33ft 8in
Wing Area: 349 sq ft
Length: 48ft 10in
Height: 13ft 2in
Number built: 93
Conclusion: I think that this would be an interesting addition to the game, hopefully in a folder behind a tentative addition of the FGA.9, maybe even in a dedicated strike line for the British tech tree.
“The Hawker Hunter in British Service” by Martin Derry and Neil Robinson