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Hawker aircraft

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Sadurian Mike
638910.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:28 am Reply with quote

Hawker Aircraft Limited was a British aircraft manufacturing and design company that grew from the collapse in 1920 of the Sopwith Aviation Company. Sopwith wound down after the drop in demand for its aircraft after WWI, coupled with a crippling bill from the government for taxes imposed in response to Sopwith's profits from its wartime sales.

Sopwith's test pilot, Harry Hawker, Thomas Sopwith of the old Sopwith company, and two others set up . During the 1930s, the company bought out Gloster Aircraft Company and formed a merger with Armstrong Siddeley. This latter company included both Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, and Avro. H G Hawker Engineering was renamed Hawker Siddeley Aircraft, but continued to design and produce aircraft under the name "Hawker".

These things are subjective, but I feel that the Hawker family includes some of the most attractive aircraft Britain has produced*, particularly in their mid-war biplanes. Famous models include the Hawker Fury, Hawker Hunter and, of course, the Hawker Hurricane of wartime legend. The Harrier was also a Hawker development, but it was with its prototype, the P1127, that the Hawker name died. The subsequent Harrier was then built under the name "Hawker Siddeley" when the use of "Hawker" on its own was dropped by the company following government decisions about offering contracts only to aircraft companies that merged their constituent parts into single large entities.

A list taken from Wiki gives some idea of the number of models developed, although not all made it to final production.;

Hawker Duiker 1923 [prototype] (First original design by Hawker)
Hawker Woodcock 1923
Hawker Cygnet 1924
Hawker Hedgehog 1924 [prototype]
Hawker Horsley 1925
Hawker Heron 1925
Hawker Hornbill 1925
Hawker Danecock 1925
Hawker Harrier 1927 [prototype]
Hawker Hawfinch 1927
Hawker Hart 1928
Hawker F.20/27 1928 [prototype]
Hawker Hoopoe 1928
Hawker Tomtit 1928
Hawker Hornet 1929
Hawker Osprey 1929
Hawker Nimrod 1930
Hawker Fury 1931
>Hawker Fury variants
Hawker Audax 1931
Hawker Dantorp1932
Hawker Demon 1933
Hawker P.V.3 1934 [prototype]
Hawker Hardy 1934
Hawker Hind 1934
Hawker Hind variants
Hawker P.V.4 1934 [prototype]
Hawker Hartbees 1935
Hawker Hurricane 1935
>Hawker Hurricane variants
Hawker Hector 1936
Hawker Henley 1937
Hawker Hotspur 1938
Hawker Tornado 1939
Hawker Typhoon 1940
Hawker Tempest 1942
Hawker F.2/43 Fury 1943 [prototype]
Hawker Sea Fury 1944
Hawker P.1040 1947 [prototype]
Hawker Sea Hawk 1947
Hawker P.1052 1948 [prototype]
Hawker P.1072 1950 [prototype]
Hawker P.1081 1950 [prototype]
Hawker P.1072 1950 [prototype]
Hawker Hunter 1951
>Hawker Hunter variants
Hawker P.1127 1960 [prototype] Led to the Harrier.

*Now after claiming that the aircraft were amongst the most attractive built by Britain, it would be a shame not to post a few images.

Hawker Fury, not be confused the later F.2/43 Fury.

Hawker Hind, a light bomber variant of the Fury design.

Hawker Typhoon, initially designed as an interceptor but more commonly used as a ground-attack aircraft.

Hawker Hunter.

638912.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:42 am Reply with quote

The Hunter had to have two strengthening pods fitted to the fusilage (the port one can be seen in the photograph above just below the cockpit) to compensate for the stresses placed on the airframe by firing the 30mm cannon which they were ultimately fitted with. As a result the squadrons which flew them referred to them as 'Huntresses'.

Sadurian Mike
639058.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:54 pm Reply with quote

The four-cannon gun pack fitted to the Hunter was going to ruin anyone's day. Hardly surprising that the airframe needed strengthening.

Janet H
639070.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:09 pm Reply with quote

Pictures! I want to see a lady plane!

Sadurian Mike
639072.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:12 pm Reply with quote

You can see the grooves for two of the four Aden cannon, and the reinforcing pod. A lady plane with attitude.

Sadurian Mike
639073.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:17 pm Reply with quote

That's the cannon naked. 30mm shells are real beasts and are quite capable of knocking out tanks, let alone other aircraft.

"ADEN", by the way, stands for "Armament Development Enfield".

Janet H
639074.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:21 pm Reply with quote


They'll be dangly bits beneath the cockpit and in front of the engine intakes, I assume?

Sadurian Mike
639076.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:25 pm Reply with quote

Do lady planes have "dangly bits"? I suppose when they get to age of the Hunter/Huntress they might....

Yes, the bulbous pods just in front of the intake (you can only see one in each of the photos, but obviously they are one either side) are the reinforcing pods. They are required because the damage from spent cartridges from four 30mm Aden cannon firing is considerable!

EDIT: I have found that the bulbous pods on the Hunter were nicknamed "Sabrina's" after the contemporary starlet of the same name. *snigger*

Last edited by Sadurian Mike on Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:48 pm; edited 2 times in total

639081.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:33 pm Reply with quote

Just out of curiosity, what was the first aircraft to be fitted with a machine cannon?

Sadurian Mike
639085.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:45 pm Reply with quote

If you mean an automatic weapon of more than rifle calibre, then it would be some aircraft developed between the wars, because the trend in WWI was for rifle-calibre machine-guns. I'll have to do some digging for that one.

639087.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:01 pm Reply with quote

brunel wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what was the first aircraft to be fitted with a machine cannon?

Fitted, that would be Blériot 11 but it damaged the aircraft it was fitted to when fired, so I'd say the Voisin model 1913

Sadurian Mike
639089.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:04 pm Reply with quote

Okay, the German 20mm Becker was fitted to the Friedrichshafen G.III bomber and AEG G.IVk (kanone) ground-attack aircraft (adapted from the AEG G.IV bomber), both large and sturdy enough to absorb the recoil and with pivot-mounts for the cannon.

The Friedrichshafen was not routinely armed with the cannon, but the AEG G.IVk was designed with them. However, it is not known if the G.IVk were used operationally or not.

It was also installed in a fixed, downwards, mount to the Albatros J.I ground attack aircraft but possibly only as an experiment. The reason it had to be fixed in such a manner was that the engineers had problems adapting it to interupter gear to fire through the propellor. The J.I already had fixed downwards-firing machine-guns, so adapting it to the cannon was probably not too difficult.

The cannon-equipped Friedrichshafen G.III variant was certainly supplied (March 1918) but whether any cannon were used or not is difficult to say. They were intended to strafe ground-targets when returning from bombing missions.

Sadurian Mike
639090.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:10 pm Reply with quote

masterfroggy wrote:
brunel wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what was the first aircraft to be fitted with a machine cannon?

Fitted, that would be Blériot 11 but it damaged the aircraft it was fitted to when fired, so I'd say the Voisin model 1913

They weren't automatic, though, so don't really class as machine-cannon.

Sadurian Mike
639091.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:18 pm Reply with quote

The British may be second to develop and fit an automatic cannon.

The 1˝ Pounder MkIII C.O.W. (Coventry Ordnance Works) gun was fully automatic although it only fired in short bursts thanks to a five-round ammunition clip. It was successfully fitted to three D.H.4 light bombers of which two were delivered to the front line by November but didn't see action.

Once again the cannon were in fixed mountings, this time upwards to attack airships from underneath.

EDIT: Found a picture of the DH4 fitted with the COW gun.

Sadurian Mike
639104.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:57 pm Reply with quote

Aha. Hold the press.

The Italians seem to have been the first to successful fit and use machine cannon to aircraft. Italy were on the side of the Allied powers during WWI.

The 25mm Revelli-FIAT was heavily based on the Vickers 1" automatic cannon (as in, it was the same but manufactured in Italy by Vickers-Terni), and was successfully fitted to flying boats and bombers.

One of the flying boats so equipped, the Macchi L3 (above), first flew in 1916 and the cannon-armed version is reported as having been used in combat. Now whether or not the early versions had the cannon or not I cannot say; although the photograph at the end of this post is dated 1916 it doesn't show the nose where the cannon would be and I have a feeling that the machine-gun shown is the standard Fiat MG. The other aircraft reported as having been fitted with Revelli-FIAT cannon appear to have simply been fitted out for trials and not intended as production machines, but were in any case later developments than the 1916 L3 flying boat.

The Revelli-FIAT was discontinued when Vickers threatened to sue over patent issues, but the HE rounds had shown a tendency to explode prematurely in any case.

So far then, the Italian Macchi L3 appears to be the first aircraft successfully armed with a machine-cannon.


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