The comparatively little-known Hawker F.20/27 single-seat fighter prototype was powered initially by an uncowled 450 hp Bristol Jupiter VI nine cylinder radial engine. Designed and built against Air Ministry Specification F.20/27 which called simply for an 'Interception single-seat fighter' which also saw submissions from Armstrong whitworth (Starling II), Bristol Aeroplane Co (Bullpup) De Havilland (DH77), Fairey (Firefly II), Saunders (A.10), Vickers (Jockey) and Westland (Interceptor).
The sole example (J9123) flew for the first time in August 1928 and was tested at Martlesham Heath towards the end of 1928, demonstrating a maximum speed of 190 mph.
The aircraft returned from Martlesham and was fitted in May 1930 with the prototype of the more powerful 520 hp Bristol Mercury VI engine. When re-tested at Martlesham, it is reported to have suffered from high oil temperatures and was ultimately withdrawn from further testing. It had, however demonstrated a maximum speed of 202 mph at 10,000 ft.
Whilst this was an impressive result for an aircraft with an uncowled radial engine, it was already clear that application of the clean, liquid-cooled, Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine (already flying in the Hart and Hornet) would result in further improvements in performance.
The F.20/27 prototype suffered a minor accident after its return from Martlesham and its Mercury engine was returned to Bristol for further development.
Hawker’s attention now turned to the Fury, in effect a production development of the Hornet prototype, which had flown in March 1929. The Hornet was, in effect, an F.20/27 fitted with a closely cowled 480 hp Rolls-Royce F.XIS engine. The F.20/27 was put to one side and not flown again and in the end the Air Ministry Requirement was withdrawn without any contracts being awarded.
The Hawker Hornet and Fury are described separately.
Variants & Numbers
|Powerplant||One 450 hp Bristol Jupiter VI radial engine or 520 hp Mercury VI engine|
|Span||30 ft 0 in|
|Empty Weight||2,155 lb|
|Maximum Weight||3,150 lb|
|Capacity and armament||Single pilot and two fixed forward-firing Vickers 0,303 machine guns|
|Maximum Speed||190 mph (Jupiter), 202 mph at 10.000 ft (Mercury)|
|Endurance||Approx. 3 hr 10 min|