Hawker Sea Hawk
name = Sea Hawk
type = Naval fighter
Hawker Aircraft Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft
caption = Sea Hawk of the German
first flight =
introduced = March 1953
retired = December 1960
primary user =
Fleet Air Arm
more users =
Bundesmarine Royal Netherlands Navy Indian Navy
number built = 542
unit cost =
developed from =
variants with their own articles =
The Hawker Sea Hawk was a British single-seat jet fighter of the
Fleet Air Arm(FAA), the air branch of the Royal Navy(RN), built by the Hawker Aircraftand its sister company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.
Design and development
The "Sea Hawk" was developed from the P.1040, a land-based prototype jet interceptor intended for the
Royal Air Force(RAF); however, the RAF showed little interest in the project, preferring other jet fighters such as the Gloster Meteorand de Havilland Vampire. The design was unusual in having a bifurcatedjetpipe which freed-up space in the rear fuselage for a fuel tank, allowing the aircraft to have a longer range than many other early jets. Hawker subsequently developed it into a navalised jet fighter and offered it to the Admiraltywho expressed keen interest in the design. The first prototype (the P.1040, VP401) flew on the 2nd September 1947, piloted by Bill Humble. A fully navalised prototype did not fly until the following year (VP413, 48/8/31). A third prototype which flew in 1949 incorporated a number of modifications from the second prototype. The first carrier trials occurred aboard the fleet aircraft carrier HMS "Illustrious" that same year. Over 100 of the aircraft, now named "Sea Hawk", were subsequently ordered by the navy. The first production Sea Hawk F1 was WF 143, which flew in November 1951 with 39' wingspan and a tailplane of increased area.Unlike its rival the Supermarine Attacker(the first jet to enter service with the FAA), the Sea Hawk had a tricycle undercarriagerather than a tail-wheel, making it easier to land on carriers. It was a fairly conventional design however. Just one of its conventional aspects was that while other contemporary aircraft, eg the F-86 Sabre, had adopted swept wings, the Sea Hawk had straight wings, though swept wing versions (P.1052, P.1081) had been considered and the latter would lead to the Hawker Hunter. The Sea Hawk was still a reliable and elegant design though its conventionality would mean it would only have a brief career before it would inevitably be superseded by newer and more advanced aircraft.
The first production Sea Hawk was the F.1, which first flew in 1951 and entered service two years later. Just over 30 were actually built by Hawker. At that time, Hawker was also producing the famous Hunter for the RAF and so production of the Sea Hawk was switched to
Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, part of the Hawker company. The "F.1" was armed with four Hispano 20 mm cannons. It was powered by a single 5,000 lbf (22 kN) thrust Rolls-Royce Nene101 turbojet. It had a maximum speed of 599 mph at sea level and a range of 800 miles on internal fuel. The second fighter variant was the F.2 which introduced power-boosted aileron controls to the Sea Hawk as well as other modifications, including to its structure.
The next variant of the Sea Hawk was developed into a fighter-bomber, the FB.3 (over 100 built) and differed only slightly from its predecessors. Its structure was strengthened to allow it to carry a wide array of equipment. Its new armament consisted of two 500 lb (220 kg) bombs and 16 unguided rockets. The fourth Sea Hawk was a fighter ground-attack variant designated the FGA.4 with increased weapons capability. The fifth Sea Hawk was a fighter-bomber variant, the FB.5, basically FB.3 and FGA.4s re-engined with the new Roll-Royce Nene 103. The final Sea Hawk was a fighter ground-attack variant, FGA.6, and was the exact same as its immediate predecessor, though they were new builds rather than re-engined, and just under ninety were built. All Sea Hawks were in service by the mid 1950s and eventually over 500 were built.
The first export version was the Sea Hawk Mk.50, a single-seat ground-attack variant for the
Royal Netherlands Navy; 22 aircraft were in service between 1957 to 1964. The next export variant was the Sea Hawk Mk.100, a single-seat strike fighter variant for the German " Bundesmarine". The final export version was the Sea Hawk Mk.101, a single-seat night fighter, reconnaissance variant for the "Bundesmarine".
The Sea Hawk, as part of the Fleet Air Arm, saw much service during the
Suez Crisis, caused by Egypt's nationalisation of the Suez Canal. The United Kingdom, Franceand Israeltook part in the campaign, with the Anglo-French invasion being known as Operation Musketeer, and which began on October 31 1956. Six Sea Hawk squadrons took part. Two were aboard the fleet carrier HMS "Eagle", and two each aboard the light fleet carriers HMS "Albion" and HMS "Bulwark". The Sea Hawks were used in the ground-attack role, in which they excelled, causing immense damage to a variety of Egyptian targets. The military aspect of the Suez Campaign was a very successful operation, unlike the political outcomes. All Allied forces were eventually withdrawn by 1957.
The Sea Hawk was a successful export aircraft. In the
Royal Netherlands Navy, it served aboard the Dutch aircraft carrier HNLMS "Karel Doorman", ex-HMS "Venerable", including decolonization operations guarding against Indonesian threats in the area. In 1964 the Sea Hawks that served on her were moved ashore when the NATO mission profile was changed to all ASW aircraft. When "Karel Doorman" was sold to Argentinathey were quickly taken out of service.
In Indian Navy service (beginning
1960), Sea Hawks were used aboard the aircraft carrier INS "Vikrant", ex-HMS "Hercules", and saw service during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965and the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. The latter war saw Sea Hawks being used very effectively by the Indian Navy; these planes racked up nearly a dozen "kills", mainly of Pakistan Navy gunboats and Merchant navyships and cargo ships in East Pakistan(present day Bangladesh) without losing a single aircraft in the war. [Harry, B. Damage Assessment - 1971 Indo-Pak Naval War v.2.0, 1 February 2005. [http://orbat.com/site/cimh/navy/kills(1971)-2.pdf Damage Assessment - 1971 Indo-Pak Naval War] ] Aided by the Breguet Alizeaircraft the Hawks emerged unscathed and with the highest kill ratiofor any aircraft in the entire war. The Sea Hawk was taken out of Indian Navy service in 1983, being replaced by the far more capable BAE Sea Harrier. The Sea Hawk also saw service with the " Bundesmarine", the Navy of West Germanyuntil it was replaced in the mid 1960s by the F-104 Starfighter.
The Sea Hawks in Fleet Air Arm service began phasing out from first-line service in 1958, the year the
Supermarine Scimitarand de Havilland Sea Vixenentered service, both of which would eventually replace the Sea Hawk. The last first-line Sea Hawk squadron disbanded in December 1960, ending a very brief career for the Sea Hawk. All Sea Hawks in second-line service were also withdrawn by the mid-1960s. A number of Sea Hawks survive as of 2004, mainly in a variety of locations in the United Kingdom, though a few are located abroad, including in the Netherlandsand India. One (VR930) remains air-worthy as part of the Fleet Air Arms historic flight in the UK (as of September 2007).
;P.1040:Prototype, three built.;Sea Hawk F1:Production fighters powered by a
Rolls-Royce NeneMk 101 engine, 95 built (35 by Hawker Aircraft at Kingston-upon-Thames the remainder and all subsequent production by Armstrong-Whitworth Aircraft at Baginton, Coventry);Sea Hawk F2:Production fighter with powered ailerons, 40 built by Armstrong-Whitworth.;Sea Hawk FB3:Fighter-bomber variant with stronger wing for external stores, 116 built.;Sea Hawk FGA4:Fighter/Ground attack variant, 97 built.;Sea Hawk FB5:FB3 fitted with the Nene Mk 103, 50 built.;Sea Hawk FGA6:FGA4 with the Nene Mk 103, 101 built.;Sea Hawk Mk 50:Export variant based on the FGA6 for the Royal Netherland Navy, 22 built.;Sea Hawk Mk 100:Export variant for the West German Navy, similar to FGA6 but fitted with taller fin and rudder, 32 built;Sea Hawk Mk 101:All-weather export variant for the West German Navy, as Mk 100 but fitted with a search radar in a underwing pod, 32 built.
*"WF219" (Sea Hawk F.1) is stored at the
Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, England.
*"WF225" (Sea Hawk F.1) is on display at
RNAS Culdrose, England.
*"WF259" (Sea Hawk F.2) is on display at the
National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, Scotland.
*"WM913" (Sea Hawk FB.5) is on display at the
Newark Air Museum, Newark, England.
*"WM961" (Sea Hawk FB.5) is on display at Caernarfon Air World, Caernafron, Wales.
*"WM969" (Sea Hawk FB.5) is on display at
Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England.
*"WN108" (Sea Hawk FB.5) is on display with the Ulster Aviation Society, Langford Lodge, Northern Ireland.
*"WV797" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at the
Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England.
*"WV798" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at Lasham, England.
*"WV826" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at Ta'qali, Malta.
*"WV856" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at
Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, England.
*"WV865" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at the
Luftwaffe Museum, Gatow, Germany.
*"WV908" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is airworthy with the Royal Navy Historic Flight, Yeovilton, England.
*"XE327" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at Hermeskeil, Germany.
*"XE340" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at the Montrose Air Station Museum, Scotland.
*"XE489" (Sea Hawk FGA.6) is on display at the
Gatwick Air Museum, Charlwood, England.
*"118" (Sea Hawk Mk.50) is on display at De Kooy, Netherlands.
*"130" (Sea Hawk Mk.50) is on display at Kamp Zeist, Netherlands.
*"MS+001" (Sea Hawk Mk.100) is on display at Internationales Luftfahrt-Museum, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany.
pecifications (Hawker Sea Hawk FGA.6)
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
ref=The Great Book of Fighters [Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Great Book of Fighters". St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.]
length main=39 ft 8 in
length alt=12.09 m
span main=39 ft 0 in
span alt=11.89 m
height main=8 ft 8 in
height alt=2.64 m
area main=278 ft²
area alt=25.83 m²
empty weight main=9,278 lb
empty weight alt=4,208 kg
loaded weight main=13,220 lb
loaded weight alt= 5,996 kg
max takeoff weight main=16,150 lb
max takeoff weight alt=7,325 kg
type of jet=
number of jets=1
thrust main=5,200 lbf
thrust alt=23.1 kN
max speed main=600 mph
max speed alt=965 km/h
range main=480 mi
range alt=770 km
ceiling main=44,500 ft
ceiling alt=13,564 m
climb rate main=5,700 ft/min
climb rate alt=29.0 m/s
loading main=48 lb/ft²
loading alt=232 kg/m²
*4x Hispano-Suiza 20 mm cannons (200 rounds per gun, 800 rounds total)
*4x 500 lb (227 kg) bombs or
*20x 3inch (76 mm) unguided rocketsor
*16x 5inch (127 mm) unguided rocketsor
*2x 410 l jettison drop tanks
de Havilland Vampire
List of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm
* Buttler, Tony. "Hawker Sea Hawk (Warpaint No.29)". Denbigh East, Bletchley, UK: Hall Park, 2001. ISSN 1363-0369.
* Hannah, Donald. "Hawker FlyPast Reference Library". Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK: Key Publishing Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-946219-01-X.
* James, Derek N. "Hawker, an Aircraft Album No.5". New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1973. ISBN 0-668-02699-5. (First published in the UK by Ian Allan in 1972)
* Mason, Francis K. "Hawker Aircraft since 1920". London: Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0-85177-839-9.
* Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". London: Putnam, ISBN 0-85177-852-6.
* Mason, Francis K. "The Hawker Sea Hawk". Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1966.
* Ovčáčík, Michal and Susa, Karel. "Hawker Sea Hawk". Praha-Strašnice, Czech Republic: Mark I Ltd., 2001. ISBN 80-902559-3-0.
* Taylor, John W.R. "Hawker Sea Hawk." "Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the present". New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-425-03633-2.
* Wixey, Ken. "Sea Hawk" "Aircraft Modelworld" August 1985.
* [http://www.britishaircraft.co.uk/aircraftpage.php?ID=33 British Aircraft Directory]
* [http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/seahawk/ Thunder and Lightnings]
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