The Hawker Sea Hawk began as a private venture during World War II for a land-based jet fighter to be offered to the RAF. In the event, the RAF preferred the Meteor and the Vampire but fortunately, the Fleet Air Arm showed interest and it was eventually redesigned for carrier operations including folding wings, catapult launching gear, and an arrester hook. Other features included bifurcated intakes and exausts for a single Rolls-Royce Nene engine; this configuration allowed for greater fuel capacity due to freed space in the rear fuselage. Eventually, the Sea Hawk was expanded with fighter-bomber and ground attack capabilities and in these roles it performed admirably during the 1956 Suez Crisis flying from the carriers HMS Albion, Bulwark, and Eagle. Overall, they were used by up to 11 FAA squadrons up to 1960 but foreign service lasted much longer with Germany, the Netherlands, and India which used them successfully during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
The private designation P.1040 first flew on 2 September 1947 followed by the navalized P.1045 exactly one year and one day later. Production began with the F.1 followed by the F.2 with powered ailerons and the FB.3 fighter-bomber, the first which could carry external ordinance. These attack roles were increased in the FGA.4 while the installing of Nene 103 engines in the FB.3 and FGA.4 led to the FGA.5 and FGA.6 respectively. Export versions include the FGA.50 for the Netherlands and the Mk. 100 and Mk. 101 for the German Bundesmarine. Interestingly, most Sea Hawks were actually built by Armstrong Whitworth (Hawker's sister company) due to the priority given by then to the Hunter fighter.
|Design||Sea Hawk FGA.6|
|Wing Span||11.89 m|
|Wing Loading||283.7 kg/m²|
|Engine||1 x Nene Mk. 103|
|Guns||4 x 20-mmHispano Mk. V (200)|