Hawker Siddeley Andover

The Hawker Siddeley HS 780 Andover is a twin-engined turboprop military transport aircraft produced by Hawker Siddeley for the Royal Air Force developed from the Avro-designed HS 748 airliner. The Andover was named after the Avro Andover, a Royal Air Force (RAF) biplane transport used for medical evacuation between the first and second world wars; and RAF Andover, where trials of the aircraft were partially carried out. The Andover had a curious kneeling landing gear to make ramp loading easier.

Hawker Siddeley Andover
Class Aircraft
Type Transport
Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1965
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Kenya View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
Congo View
New Zealand View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Hawker Siddeley 37 View

At the start of the 1960s the Royal Air Force issued a requirement for a medium tactical freighter and Avro started work on a military variant of the Dart-powered twin-engined Avro 748 airliner. Handley Page also proposed a variant of the Handley Page Herald to meet the same requirement and both types were tested by the Air Force in February 1962 at Martlesham Heath in Suffolk. A prototype Avro 748 Srs 2 was used for the trials.

The RAF decided to order a military variant of the 748, designated by Avro as the Avro 780; and the original Avro 748 prototype was modified with an upswept rear fuselage and rear loading ramp as the Avro 748MF to test the military configuration. It had more powerful Dart Mk 301s engines and a unique kneeling landing gear was fitted. In April 1963 the Royal Air Force ordered 31 aircraft and these were designated the Andover C.1 by the RAF. The 748MF first flew from Woodford Aerodrome on 21 December 1963. The aircraft had larger four-bladed propellers than the 748 which required a greater distance between the engines and the fuselage, although the wingtips were reduced by 18 inches to maintain the same wingspan as the 748. A dihedral tailplane was also fitted to keep it clear of the propeller slipstream.

The first production Andover C.1 flew from Woodford on 9 July 1965 and the first four aircraft were used for trials and tests with both Hawker Siddeley and the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. Following a release to service in May 1966 the fifth production aircraft was delivered to No. 46 Squadron RAF at RAF Abingdon in June 1966. Subsequent RAF types are the Andover CC.2 VIP transport and Andover E.3 electronic calibration aircraft.


  • Avro 748MF : Prototype Avro 748 converted to military prototype which included an upswept rear fuselage and rear loading ramp and unique kneeling landing gear.
  • Andover C.1 : First production series for RAF, 31 aircraft built.
  • Andover C.1(PR) : Two C1 aircraft was converted for Photographic Reconnaissance duties.
  • Andover CC.2 : Not a variant of the cargo/transport Andover but a VIP transport version of the HS 748.
  • Andover E.3 / E.3A : Seven C.1 aircraft were converted for radio and airport nav aid calibration. Four aircraft were equipped with an inertial referenced flight inspection system (IRFIS) and were designated E3. The other three aircraft didn’t have this equipment installed, and were designated E3A.

The Andover C.1 was flown for the first time on 9 July 1965. The first four examples were flown to RAF Boscombe Down for acceptance trials that year. The full contract of 31 aircraft were delivered and deployed to squadrons in Transport Command. These were No. 46 Squadron RAF at RAF Abingdon and later RAF Thorney Island, No. 52 Squadron RAF at RAF Seletar (Far East) and No. 84 Squadron RAF at RAF Sharjah (Middle East).

There was a follow-on order placed with Hawker Siddeley for six aircraft that were designated CC.2, being a version of the standard HS 748, and these went initially to 21 Squadron at RAF Khormaksar. The squadron had these for six months before being disbanded when the aircraft went to 32 Squadron at RAF Northolt, designated the Metropolitan Communications Squadron. The aircraft were with 32 Squadron for over 18 years including some time spent on detachment at RAF Bruggen (Germany).

Three of the RAF Andovers continued to fly into the second decade of the 21st century; one C.1 with the Empire Test Pilots' School and one C.1 with the Heavy Aircraft Test Squadron of the Joint Test and Evaluation Group. The remaining aircraft was a modified C.1 converted for photo-reconnaissance, the Andover C.1(PR), serial number XS596; the UK-designated aircraft under the Treaty on Open Skies. All three were based at RAF Boscombe Down.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force operated ten aircraft from 1976, acquired from the RAF while still relatively new. These saw service with UN missions to Somalia and on the Iran-Iraq border, and in disaster-relief work in the Pacific. The type was retired from service in 1998. The main difficulty with their service in New Zealand was their limited range – 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) of Pacific Ocean separate New Zealand from its nearest neighbours. New Zealand's Andovers were purchased to replace the Bristol Freighter which had even shorter range.

Role Transport aircraft
Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley
First flight 9 July 1965
Primary users Royal Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
748 Air Services
Number built 37
Developed from Hawker Siddeley HS 748

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2-3
  • Capacity: 44 troops or 14,000 lb (6,350 kg) of cargo
  • Length: 78 ft (23.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 98 ft 6 in (30.02 m)
  • Height: 30 ft 1 in (9.15 m)
  • Wing area: 811 ft (75.4 m)
  • Empty weight: 25,524 lb (11,577 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 40,000 lb (18,000 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 51,000 lb (23,100 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Rolls-Royce Dart 12 Mk 201 turboprop, 3,245 shp (2,420 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 320 mph (512 km/h)
  • Range: 1,624 miles (2,613 km)
  • Service ceiling 25,000 ft (7,600 m)

End notes