Hawker Hunter Single-Seat Jet-Powered Daytime Interceptor / Strike Fighter Aircraft
The Hawker Hunter was the longest-serving British jet fighter and found many foreign operators abroad.
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The Hawker Hunter was the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy jet fighter of choice for decades since its inception, becoming the longest serving British jet-powered fighter of her time. Outwardly, the Hunter was of a most conventional design but the aircraft would go on to prove that she was much more than good looks with a pair of wings. The Hunter was conceived of as a possible replacement for the aging Gloster Meteors jet fighters - post-World War 2 jet fighters whose time had eventually come. Hunters became a popular mount for many British and foreign fighter pilots the world over and, though only 1,972 of the type were eventually produced (in only five major variants no less), the Hunter secured its legacy as a superb legendary aircraft throughout the annals of military aviation history.
Following World War 2, Hawker - along with most other major aviation firms - set about to find capable swept-wing fighter designs to complement the jet age still in her infancy. Specifications passed down by the British Ministry of Supply called for such an aircraft and set a fire in the minds of Hawker engineers - particularly Chief Designer Sydney Camm. Camm set to work and produced an experimental design eventually submitted for review in 1947 as the Hawker P.1052 prototype. The first of two such prototypes flew in November of the following year. The P.1052 bore a strong resemblance to another existing Hawker design - the Hawker Sea Hawk - an early straight-wing, carrier-based jet fighter. The P.1052 was differentiated from her predecessor in that she featured a 35-degree sweep to her wings but she was essentially the same Sea Hawk aircraft. Qualities and capabilities of this new aircraft design were deemed acceptable though no further development was pursued. Instead, Camm took the second P.1052 prototype design and revised it into the new Hawker P.1081 prototype. This particular version featured the same swept-back wings but also made use of sweep across all other winged surfaces on the tail. Like the Sea Hawk, the P.1081 featured a single powerplant (though designed for the newer and smaller Rolls-Royce Avon series over the larger Rolls-Royce Nene used in the Sea Hawk) with a single nose-mounted intake, a conventional tricycle undercarriage and "T" style tail unit all fitted to a tubular-shaped fuselage.