The Hawker Fury biplane was a single-seat fighter which has its origins in a private venture prototype known the Hawker Hornet (described separately). This aircraft in turn, is linked to another Hawker prototype, the F.20/27 (also described separately). The F.20/27 was specified as a radial engine interceptor fighter using the Bristol Jupiter and later the Mercury engine. The type showed considerable promise but was not ordered into production.
Sydney Camm was convinced that a higher performance would be achieved using a closely-cowled Rolls-Royce F.XIS engine, resulting in the design of the one-off Hawker Hornet. This attractive biplane combined excellent handling with a maximum speed of over 200 mph, despite the use of an early development engine.
The Hornet prototype (J9682) flew in March 1939 and was purchased and the Air Ministry issued a new Specification 13/20 for an production aircraft, based upon its design and to be named the Hawker Fury.
The first production Fury I (K1926) was flown for the first time by Chief Test Pilot George Bulman on 25th March 1931, powered by a supercharged 525hp Kestrel IIS engine.
The Fury was also fitted with a pair of Vickers machine guns, mounted ahead of the cockpit in the fuselage nose.
An initial RAF order was placed for 21 aircraft, with a further order for 6 aircraft also being received from Yugoslavia as a direct a result of a Demonstration Tour by the Hornet prototype. Surprisingly, the order was placed before the first production Fury had even been flown. The first aircraft against the Yugoslavia order flew on 4th April 1931.
By May 1931, sixteen aircraft had been delivered to the RAF and entered service with 43 Sqn at Tangmere.
Production then proceeded apace with orders being received for additional quantities of 48, 15, 13 and 20 aircraft amounting to an RAF total of 117 Fury I aircraft.
The third Yugoslav aircraft produced was experimentally fitted with a direct-drive Hispano-Suiza 12NB engine but this proved unsuccessful with the aircraft being returned to a standard configuration.
A single 'company development and demonstration aircraft' was built (G-ABSE) and this is sometimes known as the 'Interim Fighter' or 'Intermediate Fury'.
Progressive development led to the fitting of a range of engines including the Kestrel IV, Goshawk III and Kestrel VI. Trials were also conducted with wheel spats, cantilever undercarriage legs and internally-sprung Dowty wheels.
This development activity bore fruit when a Fury I (K1935/G-ABSE) was configured with wheel spats and Kestrel VI engine. Following successful trials a new production specification (6/35) was drafted for aircraft of this standard and from which subsequent production aircraft were designated as the Fury II.
The RAF ordered two batches of Fury II, totalling 113 aircraft, making a grand total of 230 RAF aircraft. 89 of these aircraft were built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth. The first production Fury II K7263 was flown for the first time on 3rd December 1936.
- Norway: One aircraft with 530hp AS Panther IIIA radial engine, first flown on 9th September 1932.
- Persia: Series I - 16 aircraft with 750hp P&W Hornet S2B1G and three blade propellers.
- Portugal: Three aircraft powered by de-rated 525hp Kestrel IIS.
- Persia: Series II – 6 additional aircraft with 550hp Bristol Mercury VI SP engines.
- Yugoslavia: Series II – 10 aircraft with cantilever undercarriage, 745hp Kestrel XVI, low drag radiator and two additional forward-firing machine guns carried underwing. September 1936.
- Spain: Three aircraft with 700hp Hispano-Suiza 12 Xbrs, cantilever undercarriage and low drag radiator.
In addition to the Hawker-built aircraft listed above, 40 more Fury aircraft were built in Yugoslavia by Ikarus and Zmaj.
A number of these aircraft saw service against the Luftwaffe in early 1941.
One additional private venture aircraft was built by Hawker to Specification F.14/32 and used extensively as a development and engine test aircraft. This was the High Speed Fury K3586, which was flown with the Kestrel IIS, IVS, and S; Goshawk III and B41; and the Rolls-Royce PV12 (Merlin). K3586 was first flown on 3rd May 1933.
Some 22 ex-RAF aircraft saw service with the SAAF, being used operationally against Italian forces in 1941 and remaining in use as trainers in South Africa into 1942.
Variants & Numbers
|Development aircraft||Hawker Hornet J9682, one only|
|Fury I||525hp RR Kestrel IIS, 117 aircraft for RAF|
|Intermediate Fury||G-ABSE development aircraft led to Fury II, one only|
|Fury II||640hp RR Kestrel VI, wheel spats, 113 aircraft for RAF|
|Yugoslavia Fury IA||Six aircraft|
|Norway||One aircraft with 530hp AS Panther IIIA radial engine|
|Persia first buy||16 aircraft with 750hp P&W Hornet S2B1G|
|Portugal||Three aircraft powered by de-rated 525hp Kestrel IIS|
|Persia second buy||Six aircraft with 550hp Bristol Mercury VI SP|
|Yugoslavia second buy||10 aircraft with cantilever undercarriage, 745hp Kestrel XVI, low drag radiator and two additional forward-firing machine guns carried underwing.|
|Yugoslav production||40 additional aircraft to the above standard|
|Spain||Three aircraft with 700hp Hispano-Suiza 12 Xbrs, cantilever undercarriage and low drag radiator|
|High Speed Fury||K3586 private venture development aircraft mainly used for engine testing|
|Total production (less Hawker Hornet)||RAF 117 Fury I, 113 Fury II; Private venture 2 aircraft; export 45 aircraft as detailed above; Yugoslav production 40 aircraft. Grand total 317 aircraft.|
|Fury I||Fury II|
|Powerplant||One 525hp RR Kestrel IIS||One 640hp RR Kestrel VI|
|Span||30 ft 0 in||-|
|Maximum Weight||3,490 lb||3,609 lb|
|Capacity and armament||Single pilot and two forward-firing Vickers Mk III (Fury I) or Mk V (Fury II) machine guns. Provision for light bomb racks underwing.||-|
|Maximum Speed||207 mph at 14,000 ft||223 mph at16,500 ft|
|Range||305 miles||270 miles|
|G-CBZP Historic Aircraft Collection, Duxford www.historicaircraftcollection.ltd.uk|