Hawker's Early Jets

Dawn of the Hunter

Christopher Budgen

On 2 September 1947, Hawker Aircraft Ltd figuratively and literally took to the air with their first jet design, the P.1040.
Date Published :
February 2022
Publisher :
Air World
Illustration :
100 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526792174

Dimensions : 9.6 X 6.7 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-OrderPages : 296
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$49.95

Overview
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On 2 September 1947, Hawker Aircraft Ltd figuratively and literally took to the air with their first jet design, the P.1040. Conceived in the latter days of the Second World War, and developed in the straitened times of post-war austerity, the aircraft allowed Hawker to explore the new technology before moving on to more ambitious programs. Rejected by the Royal Air Force, subsequent development of the aircraft allowed the Royal Navy to find in it a useful role at sea.

As this project slowly wound its way through the government bureaucracy against a background of national insolvency, Hawker continued their research into more potent forms of jet travel with their first swept wing aircraft, the P.1052, their first rocket powered example, the P.1072, and, finally, the sleek, all swept P.1081. These essentially research aircraft gave the company the experience and expertise it required to produce a powerful, transonic fighter with which to equip the RAF for the defense of the UK and other friendly nations at a time when the Cold War threatened to engulf the world in a truly global nuclear conflict.

That aircraft, the P.1067 Hunter first flew in 1951 and was, at the time, the fastest fighter in the world as evinced by gaining the World Airspeed Record in 1953 prior to entry into RAF service; at a stroke revolutionizing the potential of the UK’s air arm.

Such was the haste with which this occurred that many teething problems remained to be resolved, as detailed here, but eventually the aircraft would become the day fighter of choice for many of the world’s air forces and remain in service for decades to come.

About The Author
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CHRISTOPHER BUDGEN has spent his life imbued with military aviation. His father and two uncles all served with the RAF during and after the Second World War. His father, Maurice, served in India on Liberators and Tempests before working for Skyways at Dunsfold during the Berlin Airlift and subsequently for Hawker Aircraft as they started production of the superlative Hunter at the aerodrome. Chris followed his father into employment at Dunsfold in the 1970s, initially working on RAF and export Hawks before moving on to Harrier and Sea Harrier. A move to Development saw him become involved in the launch of the Sea Harrier FRS.2 and the HS.125 flying test-bed, as well as numerous trials on the Harrier GR.5 and GR.7. The author of several books on the history of the area and an authority on Hawker aircraft and Dunsfold, Chris is currently engaged as archivist at Brooklands Museum specializing in Hawker and successor companies. Having spent twenty-one years working at Dunsfold, his knowledge allows him to shine a light onto aspects of the company and airfield not widely recognized. Given his family’s close links to the land upon which Dunsfold was subsequently built, Chris is well-placed to tell the story of this previously closed and secretive community.

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