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Hawker Sea Fury

The Hawker Sea Fury is a British fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by Hawker Aircraft.

It was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, and one of the fastest production single reciprocating engine aircraft ever built. 

Developed during the Second World War, the Sea Fury entered service two years after the war ended. 

The Sea Fury is a navalised aircraft, capable of operating from the aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy.

It was heavily based on preceding Hawker fighter aircraft, particularly the Tempest; features such as the semi-elliptical wing and fuselage were derived directly from the Tempest but featured significant refinements, including significant strengthening to withstand the stresses of carrier landings.

While the Sea Fury was lighter and smaller than the Tempest, advanced aspects of the Sea Fury’s design such as its Centaurus engine meant it was also considerably more powerful and faster, making it one of the fastest production reciprocating engine fighters ever produced; it was the final and fastest of Hawker’s reciprocating engine aircraft.

The Sea Fury Mk X was capable of attaining a maximum speed of 460 mph and climb to a height of 20,000 feet in under five minutes.

The Sea Fury was reportedly a highly aerobatic aircraft with favourable flying behaviour at all heights and speeds, although intentional spinning of the aircraft was banned during the type’s military service.

During flight displays, the Sea Fury could demonstrate its ability to perform rapid rolls at a rate of 100 degrees per second, attributed to the spring tab equipped ailerons.

For extra thrust on take-off Jet Assisted Take-Off (JATO) could be used.

The Sea Fury was powered by the newly developed Bristol Centaurus reciprocating engine, which drove a five-bladed propeller.

Many of the engine’s subsystems, such as the fully automated cooling system, cockpit gauges, and fuel booster pump were electrical, powered by an engine-driven generator supplemented by two independent batteries.

The hydraulic system, necessary to operate the retractable undercarriage, tail hook, and flaps, was pressurised to 1,800 psi by an engine-driven pump.

If this failed, a hand pump in the cockpit could also power these systems.

A pneumatic pump was driven by the engine for the brakes.

Internal fuel was stored in a total of five self-sealing fuel tanks, two within the fuselage directly in front of the cockpit and three housed within the wings.

Various avionics systems were used on Sea Furies; in this respect, it was unusually well equipped for an aircraft of the era.

Many aircraft were equipped with onboard radar, often the ARI 5307 ZBX, which could be directly integrated with a four-channel VHF radio system.

Several of the navigational aids, such as the altimeter and G2F compass, were also advanced; many of these subsystems were used on subsequent jet aircraft with little or no alteration. 

Other aspects of the Sea Fury, such as the majority of the flight controls, were conventional.

Some controls were electrically powered, such as the weapons controls, onboard cameras, and the gyro gunsight.

Although the Sea Fury had been originally developed as a pure air superiority fighter, the Royal Navy viewed the solid construction and payload capabilities of the airframe as positive attributes for ground attack as well; accordingly, Hawker tested and cleared the type to use a wide range of armaments and support equipment.

Each aircraft had four wing-mounted 20 mm Hispano V cannon, and could carry up to 16 rockets, or a combination of 500 lb or 1000 lb bombs.

Other loads included 1000 lb incendiary bombs, mines, type 2 smoke floats or 90-gallon fuel tanks. 

For photo reconnaissance missions the Sea Fury could be fitted with both vertical and oblique cameras, with a dedicated control box in the cockpit.

Other ancillary equipment included chaff to evade hostile attack using radar, and flares.


Fury Prototypes

LA610 Originally ordered as a Hawker Tempest III, it was completed as a Fury prototype and first flew on 27 November 1944.

NX798 One of two Fury prototypes to specification F.2/43, the first to fly on 1 September 1944.

NX802 One of two Fury prototypes to specification F.2/43.

Sea Fury prototypes

SR661 A semi-navalized Fury prototype to Specification N.22/43, first flew on 21 February 1945 with a Centarus XII engine (later changed to a Centarus XVIII) and Rotol four-bladed propeller, did not have folding wings.

SR666 A fully Navalized Fury prototype to Specification N.22/43, first flew on 12 October 1945 with a Centarus XV engine and a Rotol five-bladed propeller.

VB857 Sea Fury X prototype built by Boulton-Paul and first flew on 31 January 1946 with a Centarus XVI, later used as a FB11 prototype with a Centarus XVIII engine.

Sea Fury T.20 prototype

VX818 Prototype two-seat training variant to Specification N.19/47, originally ordered by Iraq it first flew on 15 January 1948.


RAF order for 200 aircraft placed on 28 April 1944; order cancelled.

Sea Fury F.10

Single seat fighter version for the Royal Navy, 50 built by Hawker, an order for a further 300 placed at the same time to be built by Boulton Paul was cancelled.

First production aircraft flew on 15 August 1946.

Sea Fury FB.11

Single-seat fighter-bomber for the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy, 615 built, including 31 for the RAN and 53 for the RCN.

Sea Fury T.20

Two-seat training version for the Royal Navy, 61 built.

Sea Fury F.50

Single-seat fighter version for the Royal Netherlands Navy, 10 built.

Sea Fury FB.51

Single-seat fighter-bomber version for the Royal Netherlands Navy, 25 built.

Fury FB.60

Single-seat fighter-bomber version for the Pakistan Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Navy, 93 built for Pakistan and 12 for the Netherlands.

Fury T.61

Two-seat training version for the Pakistan Air Force, five built.

Fury I

Single-seat land-based fighter version for the Iraqi Air Force.

Unofficially known as the “Baghdad Furies”, 55 built.

Fury Trainer

Two-seat training version for the Iraqi Air Force, five built.





34 ft 8 in (10.57 m)


38 ft 4.75 in (11.7031 m)


15 ft 10.5 in (4.839 m)

Wing area

280 sq ft (26 m2)

Empty weight

9,240 lb (4,191 kg)

Gross weight

12,350 lb (5,602 kg)

Max take-off weight

14,650 lb (6,645 kg)


1 × Bristol Centaurus 18,

18-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine,

2,480 hp (1,850 kW) for take-off


5-bladed constant-speed propeller


Maximum speed

460 mph (740 km/h, 400 kn) at 18,000 ft (5,500 m)


780 mi (1,260 km, 680 nmi)

Ferry range

904 mi (1,455 km, 786 nmi) with two drop tanks

Service ceiling

35,800 ft (10,900 m)

Rate of climb

4,320 ft/min (21.9 m/s)



4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Hispano Mk V auto cannon


12 × 3 in (76.2 mm) rockets


2,000 lb (910 kg) of bombs.



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