Hawker Fury

The Hawker Fury was a British biplane fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force in the 1930s. It was originally named the Hornet and was the counterpart to the Hawker Hart light bomber. 


Hawker Fury
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Hawker Aircraft Limited
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1931
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Iran (Persia) 1949 View
South Africa View
Spain View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1931 1949 View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Hawker Aircraft Limited 275 View

The Fury I entered squadron service with the RAF in May 1931, re-equipping No. 43 Squadron. The Fury II entered service in 1936-1937. Furies remained in front line service with the RAF until 1939, replaced with, amongst other designs, Gloster Gladiators and Hawker Hurricanes, but continued to be used for training purposes. 

A total of 262 Furies were produced, of which 22 served in Persia, 3 in Portugal, at least 30 in South Africa, 3 in Spain, at least 30 in Yugoslavia and the remainder in the United Kingdom.

The Fury I entered squadron service with the RAF in May 1931, re-equipping No. 43 Squadron. Owing to finance cuts in the Great Depression, only relatively small numbers of Fury Is were ordered, the type equipping 1 and 25 squadrons. At the same time, the slower Bristol Bulldog equipped ten fighter squadrons. The Fury II entered service in 1936–1937, increasing total number of squadrons to six. Furies remained with RAF Fighter Command until January 1939, replaced primarily with Gloster Gladiators and other types, such as Hawker Hurricane. After their front line service ended, they continued to be used for training.

The Fury was exported to several customers, being supplied with a variety of engines, including Kestrels, Hispano Suiza and Lorraine Petrel vee-type engines, Armstrong Siddeley Panther, Pratt & Whitney Hornet and Bristol Mercury radials.

Three Furies were ordered by Spain in 1935, it being intended to produce another 50 under licence. The Spanish variant had a cantilever undercarriage design with Dowty internally sprung wheels, similar to that used on the Gladiator and was powered by a 612 hp (457 kW) Hispano Suiza 12Xbr engine, reaching a speed of 234 mph (377 km/h). The three Furies were delivered without armament on 11 July 1936, just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. They were taken into service by the Spanish Republican Air Force, being fitted with machine guns salvaged from crashed aircraft. One Fury made a forced landing behind enemy lines due to a lack of fuel and was repaired by the Nationalists, although it was not used operationally, while the Republicans used one of the Furies in the defence of Madrid until wrecked in a crash in November 1936.

Although phased out from RAF squadrons, the Fury was still used by some foreign air forces in the early 1940s; Yugoslav Furies saw action against Axis forces in the German invasion of 1941. On 6 April 1941, a squadron of Furies took off to defend their country against the invading German Messerschmitt Bf 109Es and Messerschmitt Bf 110s. In the resulting air battle 10 Furies were destroyed, almost the entire squadron. The Commanding Officer of the 36 LG was Major Franjo Džal, who watched from the ground as his men were slaughtered in their obsolete biplanes. In an unequal battle against superior adversaries, five aircraft were destroyed while taking off and eight pilots killed. Two more Furies and Bücker Bü 131 were destroyed on the ground. But of the attacking German aircraft, five Bf-109s and two Bf-110s failed to return, though most were non-combat losses, at least one was lost when rammed by a Fury. The other squadron of Yugoslav Furies active at the time of the invasion strafed enemy tanks and ground forces, some being lost to ground fire and one being destroyed in a dogfight with a Fiat CR.42. The rest of the Yugoslav Furies were destroyed when they became unserviceable or at the time of Armistice on the 15th. Ex-RAF Furies were also used by the South African Air Force against the Italian forces in East Africa in 1941 and, despite their obsolescence, destroyed two Caproni bombers as well as strafing many airfields, destroying fighters and bombers on the ground.

A total of 262 Furies were produced, of which 22 served in Persia, 3 in Portugal, at least 30 in South Africa, 3 in Spain, at least 30 in Yugoslavia, and the remainder in the United Kingdom.

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 2 in (3.10 m)
  • Wing area: 250 ft (23.2 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,734 lb (1,240 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 3,609 lb (1,637 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: lb (kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Rolls-Royce Kestrel IV V12 engine, 640 hp (477 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 223 mph at 16,500 ft (360 km/h at 5,030 m)
  • Range: 270 mi (435 km)
  • Service ceiling 29,500 ft (8,990 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,600 ft/min (13.2 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 14.4 lb/ft (21.5 kg/m)
  • Power/mass: 0.177 hp/lb (0.291kW/kg)

Armament

  • Guns: 2 x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers Mk IV machine-guns
  • Provision for light bomb racks under the wings

End notes