Hawker PV4 front three quarter Brooklands
The Hawker P.V.4. with Pegasus X engine at Brooklands in 1935 ahead of its official trials.


The H.G. Hawker P.V.4 was developed against the requirements of Specification G.4/31 calling for a General Purpose Aircraft.


This requirement produced a plethora of designs from a host of British aircraft companies such as Bristol  Aeroplane Company (Type 120), Westland (PV7), Handley Page (HP47), Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft (AW19), Fairey (G.4/31), Parnall (G.4/31), Blackburn Aircraft Company (B7) and Vickers Aviation (Type 253) as well as the Hawker P.V.4.


The fact that all of these contenders are little-known and that none of them entered production or service suggests that the requirement was somewhat flawed. Both monoplane and biplane solutions were offered as there was no expressed preference stated within the requirement.


The specification simply sought an aircraft capable of tropical or temperate operation, that could perform conventional, or dive-bombing as well as reconnaissance, casualty evacuation and army co-operation duties. Meeting all of these widely ranging requirements was hard enough but it was then made more difficult by an amendment of the specification to take in coastal reconnaissance and torpedo operations as well (this latter requirement was later deleted).


Faced with this ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ requirement, Hawker offered a radial engine Hawker Hind variant, fitted with a Pegasus III engine (this being favoured in the Specification) although no attempt was made to meet the torpedo carriage requirement.


Hawker PV4 air to air
The Hawker P.V.4 - none of the aircraft offered against the G.4/31 requirement entered production.


The prototype (IPV4) was first flown at Brooklands on 6th December 1934 although prior to official testing in June 1935, the 800 hp Pegasus III was replaced by an 820 hp Pegasus X engine.


The aircraft showed a good performance, when compared with many of the other competing machines, but it did not meet the bomb load requirements. It was also the only design specifically strengthened for dive bombing. Despite being the fastest of the contenders at 6,600 ft, it was considered too slow for lower-level bombing operations.


Although it was not ordered into production, the prototype P.V.4. was purchased (becoming K6926) and it was  used for spinning tests, although it played a much more important role in engine development at Bristol Aero-engines where it was subsequently fitted with the Bristol Taurus and Perseus engines.


It was withdrawn from use on 29th March 1939.


Hawker PV4 Bristol Perseus K6926
P.V.4. (K6926) was used for Bristol engine trials - here it is fitted with a Perseus engine.


Variants & Numbers

One prototype only, IPV4, later K6926.



Powerplant One 820 hp Bristol Pegasus X radial engine
Span 40 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 6,650 lb
Capacity and armament Pilot and gunner / bomb aimer; one fixed forward firing Vickers gun, one defensive Lewis gun mounted on rear cockpit, under-wing bomb carriage of up to 570 lb
Maximum Speed 183 mph at 6,600 ft
Range 460 miles




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