The HG Hawker Hind was one of the last and among the most successful derivatives of the Hawker Hart.
It was procured against Specification G.7/34 to replace the Hawker Hart itself, whilst operating in very similar roles as a light day-bomber. Its purchase allowed a number of new squadrons to be formed in advance of the arrival of more modern types, such as the Fairey Battle and Bristol Blenheim into RAF service.
In the event, the Hawker Hind was to see service with some 20 RAF Bomber Squadrons and a further seven Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons.
The Hawker Hind used a more powerful version of the Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine, the 640hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel V. The type benefited from an improved bomb-aiming position and a cut-down rear cockpit, similar to that previously adopted on the Hawker Demon. The Hawker Hind was also fitted with revised exhausts and a tailwheel, rather than a tailskid.
The first prototype (K2915) was flown for the first time on 12th September 1934 and was used for a number of trials, prior to the completion of the first production aircraft (K4636), which was flown on 4th September 1935.
The production RAF orders were for batches of 20, 193, 244 and 70 aircraft, totalling 527 aircraft. The Hawker Hind was also successful in the export market, with some 54 aircraft exported to a number of European countries.
Armament was similar to that of the Hawker Hart, with a single forward-firing Vickers gun on the port side and a defensive Lewis gun fired from the rear cockpit. The maximum bomb-load was 510 lb, this being carried on external racks fitted beneath both wings.
After withdrawal from service as light-bombers, the RAF Hawker Hinds ended their service careers in a range of roles including training, glider towing, target towing and as Station ‘hacks’, remaining in service until around 1943.
Export successes for the Hawker Hind included sales to Switzerland (one), Portugal (four), Yugoslavia (three), Persia (thirty-five), Afghanistan (twenty, twelve of which were transferred from RAF), Latvia (three), and Ireland (six).
There were also transfers of significant numbers of ex-RAF aircraft to Dominion nations, such as New Zealand and South Africa.
Engines fitted to export aircraft included the Rolls-Royce Kestrel XVI and the Gnome-Rhone K-9 Mistral for Yugoslavia, the Bristol Mercury VIII for Persia and the Bristol Mercury IX for Latvia.
Training versions of the Hawker Hind also used the de-rated 599hp Kestrel VDR.
A number of late production aircraft were built as two-seat dual control trainers for use by the Volunteer Reserve Flying (VRF) Training Schools, with some 124 aircraft being modified to this configuration by General Aircraft Ltd.
Variants & Numbers
|Hind Mk I||Two-seat light bomber aircraft for the RAF, powered by a 640 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel V piston engine. One prototype and 527 production aircraft for the RAF.|
|Hind Trainer||Dual control unarmed training variant with 599hp Kestrel VDR. Some built new, 124 conversions by General Aircraft Ltd, others by RAF Units.|
|Afghan Hind||Total of 8 new build: 4 fitted with Kestrel V engines, 4 with Kestrel VDR. Supplemented by 12 ex-RAF machines.|
|Latvian Hind||3 two-seat training aircraft, powered by a Bristol Mercury IX radial piston-engine.|
|Persian Hind||35 versions of the Hind Mk I, powered by a Bristol Mercury VIII radial piston-engine.|
|Portuguese Hind||Total of four aircraft: two bombers, two trainers.|
|Swiss Hind||A single two seat unarmed communications aircraft HB-HAL|
|Yugoslav Hind||Three aircraft, two with Kestrel XVI and one fitted with Gnome-Rhone K-9 Mistral.|
|Hind I (RAF bomber version)|
|Powerplant||One 640hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel V|
|Span||37 ft 3 in|
|Maximum Weight||5,298 lb|
|Capacity and armament||Two crew, one forward-firing Vickers machine gun, one Rear-mounted Lewis gun. Provision for carriage of up to 510 lb of bombs on underwing racks.|
|Maximum Speed||186 mph at 16,400 ft|
|K5414 Afghan Hind||Maintained in airworthy condition as part of the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden. www.shuttleworth.org/|
|Afghan Hind||RAF Museum, currently displayed at Cosford. www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/|
|L7180 Afghan Hind||Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa. www.ingeniumcanada.org/aviation/index.php|