Hawker P.1052: Sea Hawk gets new Wings

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Introduction: The Hawker P.1052 is an aircraft which is often forgotten, but is an important stepping stone in the lead-up to the Hunter, a stepping stone between it and the Sea Hawk that came before it. Not only did it help create this link, but it also gained valuable information for the Hunter program that would effect its overall design.


Description: The P.1052 started out life in a brochure presented by Hawker on 13th June, 1946, describing the need for a high-speed aircraft, capable of researching the prospects of swept-wings. This aircraft was also to be made quickly, thus necessitating it to be based off of a current type, with minimal modifications. The Air Ministry confirmed its approval on the 27th August of that same year, and the project started in earnest. A fuel crisis suspended works on the prototype between the 10th and 28th February of 1947, but work continued rapidly, with a contract being written around the type, with two examples being purchased. The airframe was completed at Kingston, but was shipped to Boscombe Down, where it took it first flight on the 19th November, 1948. The type had a very busy year in 1949, with a notable achievement being the setting of a new London-Paris speed record of 21 minutes, 27 seconds by Sqn Ldr Trevor Sydney “Wimpey” Wade, on the 13th of May of that year in the first aircraft, VX272. The aircraft was out of action for most of 1950 and early 1951, due to two separate belly landings, though it was repaired in time for the 1951 SBAC Farnborough Airshow. In March 1952, VX272 was given a bullet fairing over the tailplane junction. In the period between May 27th and 28th May, the P.1052 was trialled on HMS Eagle, having been painted in the grey/duck-egg green Navy colours. In 1953, the type was fitted with a variable-incidence tailplane, with testing at the RAE being done. In September of that year, the aircraft ended its career, in another forced landing, later being dispatched to RAF Cardington for ground instructional purposes, before being presented to the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton.


The second vehicle, VX279, was completed in 1949, taking flight on the 13th July of that year. The aircraft performed handling trials at the A&AEE, where the aircraft was described as pleasant to fly, the only complaint being about the heaviness of the elevator. The ailerons were highly responsive during combat tests against a Meteor Mk.4, though slightly heavier at higher speeds. The aircraft was also evaluated by the Australians, who were interested in a new jet fighter. Overall, the aircraft performed well in all speed ranges, and carrier trials on a dummy deck revealed excellent performance at low speeds and “was at least as good as the P.1040 [Sea Hawk] at a similar weight”. VX279 didn’t serve for long as a P.1052, as the aircraft was converted into the P.1081 from the spring of 1950.


Design: The P.1052 is essentially a minimal change variant of the Sea Hawk, with the only major difference being the swept wing, which possessed 40˚ sweep at the leading edge. The balanced controls of the Sea Hawk were retained, though high-speed test flights revealed severe tail unit vibration, which was corrected by changing the tailplane incidence from +0.5˚ to +1.0˚, which gave better performance at high speeds. Though intended for experimental flight, the P.1052 could be easily modified for operational use, with the design being laid out for the carriage of four 20mm Hispano cannons. The aircraft retained the bifurcated arrangement of the engine exhaust.



Type: Single-seat Research Aircraft
Span: 31ft 6in (9.6m)
Length: 37ft 7in (11.46m)
Gross Wing Area: 258 sq ft (23.99 sq m)
Wing Thickness/Chord (t/c) ratio: 10% constant
Max. Weight: 13,550lb (6,146 kg)
Powerplant: 1x Rolls-Royce Nene RN.2 rated at 5,000lb thrust (22.2 kN)
Max. Speed: 683 mph (1,099 km/h) at sea level
Max. Mach 0.87 at 36,000ft in level flight, 0.9 in a dive
Service Ceiling: 45,000ft (13,716m)
Absolute Ceiling: 49,500ft (15,088m)
Climb Rate: 9.3 minutes to 30,000ft (9,144m)
Radius of Action: 310nm (574km)
Armament: Provision for:

4x 20mm Hispano cannons (never fitted)|

Note: Sources vary considerably on maximum speed


Conclusion: The P.1052 would be a great addition to the tree, bringing a unique aircraft with an interesting history. I would see it as an event aircraft, considering its unique nature.



“X-Planes of Europe II: Military Prototype Aircraft from the Golden Age 1945-1974”* by Tony Buttler

The Hawker P.1052, P.1072 and P.1081. | Secret Projects Forum

1951 Aviation Article Hawker Aircraft P.1052 Jet Fighter Royal Air Force Britian | eBay



Hawker P.1052

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Very interesting aircraft!
Despite it never being armed I’d love to see it in game!

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