Introduction: The Hawker Hunter was an icon of British aviation in the Postwar era, being regarded as one of the greatest British aircraft to have ever been built, as well as being of the most most successful, being sold all over the world. However, all successes have humble beginnings, and the Hunter is no exception. This is the story of the birth of the Hunter.
Background: Hawker had long been at the forefront of technological development, with designs such as the Hurricane, Typhoon and Tempest being some of the most advanced fighter aircraft of the time. The company managed to ride on this wave of success into the jet age, and gained a great amount of experience in the field of jet aircraft design from various design studies. It was the P.1040, later known as the Sea Hawk, which was the most influential, spurring on the development of the P.1052 and P.1081, both of which were vital in gaining the company experience for its new fighter.
Description: The life of the P.1067 started when the Air Staff issued an operational requirement that would cover the next generation of jet fighters. It was realised that while aircraft such as the Vampire and Meteor were good, they would soon be outmoded by newer aircraft. Despite Britain’s economic issues, such a project was viewed as a necessity in the Postwar environment. Numerous companies came forward with their designs, with Hawker being chosen. The project took on a new sense of urgency during the Korean War, when it became clear that the Soviets had reached an equal capability to the West in terms of jet aircraft design. Hawker’s type started out with a nose intake, split in the middle to accommodate the pilot, with the weapons fitted to the bottom of the fuselage. The wings were swept back at 42.5 degrees, with the engine, a Rolls-Royce Avon, in the middle. The jet pipe continued to the end, with the vertical stabiliser swept back as well, with a triangular horizontal stabiliser being mounted on top of it, making a T-tail. The configuration was somewhat reminiscent of the MiG-15. The rear airframe, wings and tail were made as stiff as possible, with thick skin and as few holes as possible made in the panels. The front half was much lighter, but care was still taken. Of note was the use of landing flaps as airbrakes. There was still some doubt as to the position of the horizontal stabiliser, with the high tail being preferred from an aerodynamic perspective, whilst the lower tail being preferred from a structural standpoint. Hawker intended to build a prototype for each configuration.
Two drawings which show the design progress of the P.1067, with the lines familiar to the Hunter quickly emerging:
As work progressed, more equipment was added, and it soon became apparent that the configuration at that time had insufficient space to accommodate all the new features, such as the ranging radar in the nose, ejection seat and weapons pack. This meant that the intake was split behind the cockpit, in a similar fashion to the Sea Hawk and its swept-wing derivatives. This is where the Hunter began to get its lines. This almost led to the cancellation of the type, but luckily, permission was granted for this change to occur, and the project moved forward. The Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire was also put forward as a powerplant option, in 1949. Numerous refinements were made in the P.1067’s design before it took the shape we know of today. The aircraft first took to the skies in 1951, and entered service as the Hunter in 1954, after some further refinements. Despite delays in its development due to various issues regarding aerodynamics and airflow into the engine, the P.1067 became a highly successful aircraft in the long run, serving the RAF and numerous other air forces in various guises for decades.
|20th July, 1951
|4x 30mm ADEN cannons
|7,500lb RA.7 Avon 113
|610 knots at sea level, 0,93 mach at altitude
|Max. Take Off Weight
Conclusion: I think that this vehicle would be an interesting event vehicle due to its historical significance, and the fact that the Hunter is nearly 70 years old.
“British Secret Projects 1: Jet Fighters since 1950” by Tony Buttler
“The Hawker Hunter in British Service” by Martin Derry and Neil Robinson
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