HARS Aviation Museum
HARS Aviation Museum

Hawker Hunter FR-74S

Hawker Hunter

Single engine, single seat military jet fighter

History of Type

The Hunter was Britain’s first modern, trans-sonic (up to and just over the speed of sound) multi-role jet fighter designed for the Royal Air Force in 1948 by the Hawker Aircraft Company.

It was designed to be initially powered by the new Rolls Royce Avon jet engine of ~7,500lbs thrust which ultimately powered the Canberra Bomber and the Australian Avon Sabre.

Development was slow until in 1951 with the Korean War in progress, the newly re-elected British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made the project a national Super Priority project.

The first flight occurred rapidly soon after on 20th July 1951 with the Hunter being flown by the famous Hawker Test Pilot Neville Duke.

In April 1952 a Hunter went supersonic in a shallow dive, and using a specially modified Hunter the test pilot Neville Duke captured the absolute World Speed record in September 1953 with a speed of ~1,172km/h (that’s ~727mph).

The Hunter was very powerfully armed with 4 x 30mm Aden Cannons with ~100 rounds each in a detachable gun pack which could be quickly lowered down to ground level to allow easy reloading of the guns.

The 30mm Aden Cannon is a massively powerful gun and the Hunter’s 4 x Adens could collectively fire ~17kg/sec of bullets as against the American F86 Sabres 6 x 50 Calibre machine guns which fired only ~5.5kg/sec.

History of XF437

The HARS Hunter was built as an F6 fighter and was one of 50 Hunters delivered to the Royal Air Force in 1956 as XF437.  Later, she was one of some 128 F6 Hunters upgraded in the early 1960s to a ground attack capable FGA.9 with a more powerful Avon 207 jet engine of ~10,500lbs, plus new wing carrying hard points to hang rockets or bombs.

She was retired from RAF service in ~1970 and was refurbished by Hawker as a photo reconnaissance capable FR-74S with the gun radar replaced by cameras (see camera windows in the nose) and was one of 4 reconnaissance Hunters bought by the Singapore Air Force in 1971.

Over 400 ex-RAF Hunters were refurbished by Hawker for resale in the 1970s to other countries.

She was retired in 1992 from the Singapore Air Force.  She is fully airworthy and is still fitted with a live Martin Baker ejection seat.

Technical Specifications

Engines: 1 x RollsRoyce Avon Mk-207

Maximum takeoff weight: 10,796 kg

Length: 13.98 m

Wing span: 10.25 m

Height: 4.02 m

Cruising speed: 699 mph (1,125 km/h)

Ceiling: 51,500 ft (15,695 m)

Range: 370 km (230 miles) – 850 km with drop tanks

Crew: 1 pilot