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The Hawker Sea Hawk is a British single-seat jet day fighter formerly of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the air branch of the Royal Navy (RN), built by Hawker Aircraft and its sister company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Although its design originated from earlier Hawker piston-engined fighters, the Sea Hawk became the company's first jet aircraft.

Following acceptance in the RN, the Sea Hawk proved to be a reliable and sturdy workhorse. A considerable number were also produced for the export market and were operated from aircraft carriers in Dutch and Indian service. The last operational Sea Hawks, operated by the Indian Navy, were retired in 1983.

Design and development

Origins

INS Vikrant, ex-HMS Hercules and saw service during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. In the latter war, Sea Hawk aircraft sank about a dozen vessels, comprizing Pakistan Navy gunboats and cargo ships, in East Pakistan waters(present day Bangladesh) without losing an aircraft.[31] They were supported by Breguet Alizé aircraft which sank three gunboats. The Sea Hawk was withdrawn from Indian Navy service in 1983, being replaced by the far more capable BAE Sea Harrier.

The Sea Hawks in Fleet Air Arm service began being phased out from first line service in 1958, the year in which the Supermarine Scimitar and de Havilland Sea Vixen entered service, both of which types would eventually replace the Sea Hawk. The last front line Sea Hawk squadron, No. 806, disbanded at RNAS Brawdy on 15 December 1960, ending a very brief operational career for the Sea Hawk. Most Sea Hawks in second line service were withdrawn by the mid-1960s. The last operational Royal Navy Sea Hawks were FGA.6 flown by the Airwork Limited managed "black" Fleet Requirements Unit based at Bournemouth (Hurn) Airport which retired the type in 1969.[32]

Variants

P.1040
  • VP401 prototype first flown at Boscombe Down on 2 September 1947, later converted to a P.1072
  • VP413 navalised prototype to specification N.7/46 first flown at Farnborough 3 September 1948.
  • VP422 second-naval prototype first flown at Farnborough 17 October 1949.
Sea Hawk F1
Production fighters powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene Mk 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 FB 3
Fighter-bomber variant with stronger wing for external stores; 116 built.
Sea Hawk FGA 4
Fighter/Ground attack variant; 97 built.
Sea Hawk FB 5
FB3 fitted with the Nene Mk 103; 50 conversions.
Sea Hawk FGA 6
FGA4 with the Nene Mk 103; total of 101 (86 new-build, the remainder converted from FB3 and FGA 4 examples).
Sea Hawk Mk 50
Export variant based on t

Thirty-six complete Sea Hawks (plus eight cockpit sections) are known to survive as of 2011, mainly in a variety of locations in the United Kingdom, though others are located abroad, including in Germany, Malta, the Netherlands and India. One Sea Hawk, WV908, remained airworthy as part of the Royal Navy Historic Flight until 2010.[33] It is now in storage at AMSU, RAF Shawbury.

Specifications (Sea Hawk FGA.6)

Hawker Sea Hawk.svg
Head-on view of a Sea Hawk

Data from The Sea Hawk ...Epitome of Elegance,[52] The Hawker Sea Hawk[53]

General characteristics