The Hawker Hunter is a transonic British jet-powered fighter aircraft that was developed by Hawker Aircraft for the Royal Air Force during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Hunter entered service with the Royal Air Force as an interceptor aircraft.
It was the first jet aircraft produced by Hawker for the RAF.
From the outset it was clear that the type had exceptional performance, being the first RAF aircraft capable of effectively matching the English Electric Canberra bomber.
The Hunter also set numerous aviation records, including absolute speed records.
The type was also lauded for its quick turnaround time, enabled by features such as its removable gun pack and pressurised fuelling system, and for its easy handling in flight.
The definitive version of the Hunter was the FGA.9, on which the majority of export versions were based.
Although the Supermarine Swift had initially been politically favoured by the British Government, the Hunter proved far more successful, and had a lengthy service life with various operators, in part due to its low maintenance requirements and operating costs, while the Swift programme was cancelled in 1955.
As the RAF received newer aircraft capable of supersonic speeds to perform the air interceptor role, many Hunters were modified and re-equipped for undertaking ground-attack and reconnaissance missions instead.
Hunters deemed surplus to the RAF’s requirements were also quickly refurbished for continued service abroad.
The Hunter would be procured by a considerable number of foreign nations.
In addition to former RAF aircraft, roughly half of the nearly 2,000 Hunters produced had been manufactured specifically for overseas customers.
The Hunter would be in operational service with the RAF for over 30 years.
As late as 1996, hundreds were still in active service with various operators across the world.
Prototype, first flight 20 July 1951, three built with the first later modified as a Hunter Mk 3 for the successful World Speed Record attempts.
WB188 was the prototype that first flew on 20 July 1951 piloted by Neville Duke at Boscombe Down.
After being used for performance and handling trials it was modified in 1953 and fitted with an Avon RA7R engine for what was a successful world air speed record attempt in September 1953.
WB195 was the second prototype and first flown on 5 May 1952, it was the first with Aden-gun armament and other military equipment.
WB202 was the third prototype and first flew on 30 November 1952 powered by an Armstrong-Whitworth Sapphire engine.
Supersonic design based on the P.1067 with 50 degree wing sweep and afterburning Avon engine.
Construction abandoned and the fuselage and tail were used as basis for the P.1099.
Two-seat trainer prototype, first flight 8 July 1955, two built.
First production version, Avon 113 engine, first flight 16 May 1953, 139 built, 113 built by Hawker Aircraft at Kingston-upon-Thames and a further 26 at Blackpool.
Sapphire 101 engine, first flight 14 October 1953, 45 built by Armstrong Whitworth at Coventry.
Hunter Mk 3
Sometimes mistakenly called F.3, but it carried no weapons.
The first prototype fitted with afterburning Avon RA.7R with 9,600 lbf (42.70 kN) engine, pointed nose, airbrakes on the sides of the fuselage, and a revised windscreen.
Used to set raise the world’s absolute air speed record to 727.6 mph (1,171 km/h) off the English south coast on 7 September 1953, and days later to set a new 62 mi (100 km) circuit record.
It was sold in 1955 and retired as an RAF ground instructional airframe.
Additional bag-type fuel tanks in the wings, provision for under wing fuel tanks, Avon 115 (later Avon 121) engine, blisters under the nose for ammunition links, first flight 20 October 1954, 349 built at Kingston-upon-Thames and Blackpool.
F.4 with Sapphire 101 engine, 105 built by Armstrong Whitworth at Coventry.
Single-seat clear-weather interceptor fighter.
Powered by one 10,150 lbf (45.17 kN) Rolls-Royce Avon 203 turbojet engine, revised wing with a leading edge “dogtooth” and four hardpoints, and a follow-up tailplane on later aircraft to improve pitch response at high Mach number, first flight 22 January 1954, 384 built.
Modified F.6 with brake parachute and 230 gallon inboard drop tanks, for use at RAF Brawdy, where diversion airfields were distant.
Two-seat trainer built for the RAF.
A side by side seating nose section replaced the single seat nose.
Engine and systems as for the F.4, six were rebuilt F.4s and 65 were new build.
The dog-tooth leading edge and follow-up tail pane modifications, as on the F.6, were fitted to the T.7.
T.7 modified with the Integrated Flight Instrumentation System (IFIS).
Used by the RAF as a Blackburn Buccaneer conversion training aircraft.
Two-seat trainer for the Royal Navy. Fitted with an arrestor hook for use on RN airfields but otherwise similar to the T.7, ten-built new and 18 conversions from F.4s.
T.8 with TACAN radio-navigation system and IFIS fitted, cannon and ranging radar removed.
Used by the Royal Navy as a Blackburn Buccaneer conversion training aircraft, four conversions.
T.8 with TACAN fitted, 11 conversions
T.8 fitted with the Sea Harrier’s Blue Fox radar, used by the Royal Navy to train Sea Harrier pilots.
Single-seat ground-attack fighter version for the RAF, all were modified from F.6 airframes.
Strengthened wing, 230 gallon inboard drop tanks, tail chute, increased oxygen capacity, and bobweight in pitch control circuit to increase stick force in ground attack manoeuvres, 128 conversions.
Single-seat reconnaissance version; all 33 were rebuilt F.6 airframes, with 3 F95 cameras, revised instrument panel layout, brake parachute and 230 gallon inboard drop tanks.
Increased oxygen as for the FGA.9, but no pitch bobweight.
Single-seat weapons training version for the Royal Navy.
Forty ex-RAF Hunter F.4s were converted into the Hunter GA.11.
The GA.11 was fitted with an arrester hook and some later had a Harley light.
The guns were removed.
Single seat reconnaissance version for the Royal Navy.
The nose was as on the FR.10.
Hunter Mk 12
Two-seat test aircraft for the Royal Aircraft Establishment.
One built, converted from an F.6 airframe.
Hunter Mk 50
Export version of the Hunter F.4 fighter for Sweden.
Swedish designation J 34, 120 built.
Hunter Mk 51
Export version of the Hunter F.4 fighter for Denmark, 30 built.
Hunter Mk 52
Export version of the Hunter F.4 fighter for Peru, 16 conversions from F.4s
Export version of the Hunter T.7 trainer for Denmark, two built.
Hunter Mk 56
Export version of the Hunter F.6 fighter for India, 160 built.
Brake parachute added and the provision to carry 500 lb (227 kg) bombs, minor changes to the avionic systems including the removal of the UHF radio facility.
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for India.
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Kuwait, four conversions from F.6s.
Hunter Mk 58
Export version of the Hunter F.6 fighter for Switzerland, 88 built and 12 conversions from F.6s.
Hunter Mk 58A
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Switzerland.
52 conversions from other marks.
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Iraq, 24 conversions.
18 aircraft were sold to Iraq as part of a follow-on order, 18 conversions from F.6s.
Four aircraft were sold to Iraq as part of a follow-on order, 4 conversions from F.6s.
Export version of the Hunter F.6 fighter for Saudi Arabia, 4 conversions from F.6s.
Export version of the Hunter T.7 trainer for Peru.
Two-seat training version for the Indian Air Force, powered by a Rolls-Royce Avon 200-series turbojet engine, 20-built.
A composite Hunter, built from a damaged Belgian F.6 bought back by the company, and a 2-seat nose originally built for display at the Paris Salon.
Used as a demonstration aircraft, registered G-APUX.
Finished in red and white, and used for promotional displays and in evaluations.
Later sold to Chile as a T.72.
Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Jordan, one-built and two-conversions.
Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Lebanon, three conversions from F.6s.
12 aircraft sold to India as part of a follow-on order, converted from F.6s.
Five aircraft sold to India as part of a follow-on order, converted from F.6s.
Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Kuwait, four conversions from F.6s.
Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Switzerland, eight conversions from F.5s and Mk 50s.
Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Iraq, three conversions from F.6s.
Hunter FGA.70 & FGA.70A
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Lebanon, four conversions from F.6s.
This was the unofficial designation given to two ex-RAF Hunter T.7s sold to Saudi Arabia.
export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Chile.
Export version of the Hunter FR.10 reconnaissance aircraft for Chile.
Export version of the T.66 trainer for Chile.
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Jordan.
Four aircraft sold to Jordan as part of a follow-on order.
Three aircraft sold to Jordan as part of a follow-on order.
12× Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Singapore, upgraded in late 1970s and re-designated as Hunter F.74S.
4× Export version of the Hunter FR.10 reconnaissance aircraft for Singapore, upgraded in late 1970s and re-designated as Hunter FR.74S.
22× aircraft delivered to Singapore as part of a follow order, upgraded in late 1970s and re-designated as Hunter FR.74S.
4× Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Singapore, upgraded in late 1970s and re-designated as Hunter T.75S.
4× aircraft delivered to Singapore as part of a follow-on order (A fifth aircraft was lost in an accident before delivery), upgraded in late 1970s and re-designated as Hunter T.75S.
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Abu Dhabi.
Export version of the Hunter FR.10 reconnaissance aircraft for Abu Dhabi.
Export version of the Hunter T.7 trainer for Abu Dhabi.
Export version of the Hunter FGA.9 ground-attack fighter for Qatar.
Export version of the Hunter T.7 trainer for Qatar.
Ex-RAF FGA.9 ground-attack fighter sold to Kenya.
Export version of the Hunter T.66 trainer for Kenya.
45 ft 10.5 in (13.983 m)
33 ft 8 in (10.26 m)
13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)
349 sq ft (32.4 m2)
Hawker 8.5% symmetrical
14,122 lb (6,406 kg)
17,750 lb (8,051 kg)
Max take-off weight
24,600 lb (11,158 kg)
1 × Rolls-Royce Avon 207 turbojet engine,
10,145 lbf (45.13 kN) thrust
623 mph (1,003 km/h, 541 kn) at 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
715 mph (621 kn; 1,151 km/h) at sea level
385 mi (620 km, 335 nmi)
1,900 mi (3,100 km, 1,700 nmi) maximum external fuel
50,000 ft (15,000 m)
Rate of climb
17,200 ft/min (87 m/s)
51.6 lb/sq ft (252 kg/m2)
4 × 30 mm (1.18 in) ADEN revolver cannon in a removable gun pack with 150 rpg
4 underwings (7 hardpoints on Singaporean FGA/FR.74S, which were essentially refurbished FGA.9’s derived from F.6) with a capacity of 7,400 lb (3,400 kg), with provisions to carry combinations of
4 × Matra rocket pods (each with 18 × SNEB 68 mm (2.68 in) rockets)
32 × Hispano SURA R80 80 mm (3.15 in) rockets
4 × AIM-9 Sidewinder Air-to-air missiles, mounted on Singaporean FGA/FR.74S
(Two on Swiss Mk.58 Dutch F6’s and Swedish Mk.50’s)
4 × AGM-65 Maverick Air-to-surface missiles, mounted on Singaporean FGA/FR.74S(two on Swiss Mk.58)
A variety of unguided iron bombs
2 × 230 US gallons (870 l; 190 imp gal) drop tanks for extended range/loitering time