The Hawker Hunter is a British jet-powered fighter/ground attack aircraft developed by Hawker Aircraft for the
Royal Air Force (RAF) during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The original idea of the Hunter was born for the
Air Ministry Specification E.38/46, which requested an experimental aircraft for research into swept wing technology.
Hawker Aviation designed the P.1052 prototype, based on the Sea Hawk, except that it was fitted with swept wings. The
P.1052 prototype was first flown in 1948, and performed well, but despite this, it wasn't development into a production
aircraft. Back in 1946, the Air Ministry had issued a further specification, F.43/46, which requested a jet powered interceptor
for use in the daytime. Hawker Aviation modified the P.1052 for use with the all new and upcoming Rolls Royce Avon. Two years
later, in March 1948, another specification (F.3/48) was issued to cover development of the project, and the aircraft was modified,
being fitted with a single air intake and T-shaped tail. The aircraft was soon further evolved: the single air intake became a twin,
fitted in the wing root to shorten the airway to the engine. This adjustment had the advantage that the cockpit section was 50% larger.
The stabilizer on top of the vertical stabilizer was placed a third lower. Due to the design changes, the project numberings went up
from the P.1052 to the P.1067. On 20 July 1951, the P.1067 first took off from MoD Boscombe Down, powered by a comparatively gutless
6,500 lbf Avon 103 taken from an English Electric Canberra. Soon a second prototype was constructed, and this was fitted out towards
a more production capable aircraft, including production ready avionics, armament and a more powerful 7,550 lbf Avon 107 jet engine.
Slowly but surely the Hunter got its specific shape, making it one of the most beautiful fighter jets in history. On 5 May 1952, the
Hunter, as it was soon designated, first flew.
The Hunter was first ordered in March 1950, over a year before the Hunter was flown
for the first time. The first Hunter to be produced (an F.1) was fitted with a 7,600 lbf Avon 113 engine, and first flew on 16 March 1953.
For the first twenty aircraft produced, a number of one off modifications were used, including 'blown flaps' to aid lift and an 'area ruled
fuselage'. On 7 September 1953, the modified first prototype broke the world air speed record for aircraft, achieving a speed of 1,171.01 km/h.
The single-seat Hunter was introduced to service in 1954 as a manoeuvrable day interceptor aircraft, quickly succeeding first-generation jet
fighters in RAF service such as the Gloster Meteor and the de Havilland Venom. Successively improved variants of the type were produced,
adopting increasingly more capable engine models and expanding its fuel capacity amongst other modifications being implemented. The Hunter was
also widely exported, serving with a total of 21 overseas air forces. During the 1960s, following the introduction of the supersonic
English Electric Lightning in the interceptor role, the Hunter transitioned to being operated as a fighter-bomber and for aerial
reconnaissance missions, using dedicated variants for these purposes. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary
roles with the RAF and the Royal Navy until the early 1990s. Overall, 1,972 Hunters were manufactured by Hawker Aircraft and its
successor, Hawker Siddeley, as well as being produced under licence overseas.
Within the NATO, the Hunter became the default interceptor hunter.
The Netherlands took 209 units, of these 96 Mk.4s and 93 Mk.6s were built under license by Fokker for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Six Hunters
were supplied by Hawker as an example: the first Mk.4, the N-1, arrived flying on 3 March 1955. The other five were packages that only needed to be
assembled (N-102 through N-106). Fokker also built the Hunter for Belgium, respectively 12 Mk.4s (plus 36 in packages) and 52 Mk.6s (+ 92 packages).