From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|First Flight||17 July 1951|
|Length||14 m||45 ft 11 in|
|Wingspan||10.26 m||33 ft 8 in|
|Height||4 m||13 ft 2 in|
|Empty||6405 kg||14122 lb|
|Loaded||8050 kg||17750 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||11158 kg||24600 lb|
|Engines||one Rolls-Royce Avon 207 turbojet|
|Thrust||45.13 kN||10145 lbf|
|Maximum speed||1150 km/h||715 mph|
|Ferry range||3060 km||1900 miles|
|Service ceiling||15240 m||50000ft|
|Rate of climb||87.4 m/sec||17200 ft/min|
The Hawker Hunter is a 1950´s British jetfighter. Viewed by many as the best transonic fighter, the Hunter served with the RAF for many years and was exported in great numbers. In total 1927 Hunters were built by Hawker Siddeley and under license. The Hunter served with 19 Air Forces in total.
The Hunter was developed as an answer for a 1948 specification issued by the British Air Ministry. Basically, the Hunter was designed as an air superiority fighter. The project P.1067 prototype first flew 17 July 1951, but it was only 1953 that the first production planes were introduced with RAF squadrons. The Hunter F1 entered service with the RAF in 1954. Problems with the first versions (the very short range, a strong tendency to nose pitch-downs caused by the use of the flaps as airbrakes and several problems with the guns) caused many variants, which eventually led to the definitive F6 with the more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon jet engine and a improved wing design. The F6 and the FGA9 fighter bomber version served as the base of most of the exports.
The Hunter has a 35° angle swept wing, a single engine with the air intakes in the wing roots and a high tail plane. It is armed with four 30mm ADEN guns in a removable part in the nose and has under wing pylons for bombs, rockets or external tanks. Later variants featured improved wing design and more powerful engines. Also the introduction of a two seat trainer version followed, this with side by side seated instructor and student pilots.
In 1963 the Hunter F6 was retired from RAF service as a fighter, while the ground attack versions stayed on until 1970. As an interceptor, the Hunter was outperformed and replaced by the English Electric Lightning, which was a fully supersonic plane whereas the Hunter had to go into a dive to become supersonic. Others were kept on for training and other secondary roles (such as target towing or aircraft handling) right into the mid 1990´s.
But as of December 2006 two former Swiss Air Force Hunters F58's received British military markings again (ZZ190 and ZZ191), although owned and operated by Hawker Hunter Aviation from Bournemouth-Hurn, they conduct contract work for the military, under COMA-regulations (Civil Owned Military Aircraft). In early 2007 they were joined by a Mark T8B operated by the ETPS, although this reverted to its former RAF registration XF995.
Export customers for the Hunter were Abu Dhabi, Belgium, Chile, Iraq, India, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Rhodesia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sweden and Switzerland. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the Hunter was produced under license.
The most enthusiastic user of the Hunter is without a doubt the Swiss Air Force. They flew the Hunter from 1958 until 1994, while continually upgrading and maintaining the aircraft without choosing a newer type of aircraft.
Hunter of the Swiss Air Force preserved at the gate of Sion Air Base
Patrouille Suisse operated the Hunter for a long period