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Hawker Demon

The Hawker Demon was a fighter variant of the Hart light bomber.

During air defence exercises the RAF’s Siskins and Bulldogs were often unable to intercept the new Hart bombers, which were sometimes instructed to restrict their height and speed in order to give the fighters a chance, which prompted the development of a fighter variant of the Hart.

While the Hawker Fury offered better performance, lower production volumes made it more expensive and therefore it remained available only in small numbers, so when a fighter version of the Hart was suggested, the Air Ministry selected the type as an interim fighter until higher-performance fighters could be bought in larger numbers.

The new fighter variant added a second Vickers machine gun, while the coaming of the rear cockpit was angled to give a better field of fire, and a supercharged Kestrel IS engine was fitted.

Evaluation of an initial batch of six aircraft, known as Hart Fighters by one flight of 23 Squadron during 1931 was successful, and larger orders followed for the fighter Hart, now known as the Hawker Demon.

The Demon’s first flight was on 10 February 1933.

305 Hawker Demons were built, including 232 for the RAF.

The Demon was powered by versions of the Kestrel engine.

It had an armament of a single rear .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun with two fixed .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns in the nose.

Many were fitted with a hydraulically powered turret in the rear gunner’s position, which had been tested on the Hawker Hart.

Demons were also sold to the Royal Australian Air Force.

It saw only second-line operations during the Second World War.

Production of the Demon was undertaken by Hawker and by Boulton Paul Aircraft at their Wolverhampton factory, where their last example of 106 to be completed was delivered to the RAF in December 1937.


Hart Two Seat Fighter 

Two-seat fighter version of the Hart for the RAF.

Later redesignated as the Hart Fighter.

Demon I 

Two-seat fighter aircraft for the RAF.

Australian Demon I 

Two-seat fighter aircraft for the RAAF, similar to RAF version but fitted with a 600 hp (447 kW) Rolls Royce Kestrel V engine; 54 built (the first 18 delivered as general-purpose fighters in 1935 and an additional 36 for army co-operation duties delivered in 1936).

Australian Demon II 

Two-seat training version for the RAAF, standard Demon fitted with dual controls and provision for target towing, 10 built.

Turret Demon

Two-seat fighter version, fitted with a Frazer-Nash gun turret in the rear cockpit.





29 ft 4 in (8.94 m)


37 ft 3 in (11.35 m)


10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)

Wing area

349.5 sq ft (32.47 m2)


RAF 28

Empty weight

2,530 lb (1,148 kg)

Max take-off weight

4,596 lb (2,085 kg)

Fuel capacity

83 imp gal (100 US gal; 380 L)


1 × Rolls-Royce Kestrel IB water-cooled V12 engine,

525 hp (391 kW)


Maximum speed

185 mph (298 km/h, 161 kn) at 13,000 ft (4,000 m)

Stall speed

45 mph (72 km/h, 39 kn)


430 mi (690 km, 370 nmi)

Service ceiling

22,800 ft (6,900 m)

Time to altitude

8 min 30 s to 10,000 ft (3,000 m)



1 × synchronized forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun,

1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun on Scarff ring in rear cockpit.


Up to 520 lb (240 kg) bombs under wings.


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