Hawker Osprey development prototype J9052
Hawker Hart prototype J9052 with naval adaptations as the development prototype for the Osprey.

The Hawker Osprey was a folding-wing, navalised version of Hawker Hart to Air Ministry Specification O.22/26, produced by H.G. Hawker.


The Hawker Hart prototype (J9052) was used for development of the Hawker Osprey (from 1927). Development of the Hawker Osprey also included adaptations for catapult launching and for seaplane operations.


The float undercarriage was designed to be interchangeable with the normal wheeled undercarriage, using the same four attachment points, thus allowing for both carrier-borne and conventional operation.


Hawker Osprey development prototype J9052 folded wings
The Hawker Osprey development prototype J9052 with wings folded.


The modifications to the prototype, known as the Naval Hawker Hart produced against Specification O.22/26, resulted in the drafting of a new Specification 19/30, against which the production Hawker Osprey aircraft were procured.


Two production prototypes were ordered (S1667 and S1678), flying during 1931 and being tested in both landplane and seaplane form.


An initial production contract for 20 Hawker Osprey followed with Type I floats, using the Rolls-Royce Kestrel II MS engine (S1679 to S1698). The next batch of 17 aircraft (K2774 to K2790) were fitted with a larger fin and rudder.


Hawker Osprey floatplane K2775 crane
Hawker Osprey I floatplane K2775 being hoisted aboard ship.


The Hawker Osprey entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1936, continuing into World War II where it was utilised as a Trainer for FAA Pilots. 


A production contract was for 14 aircraft were built as Hawker Osprey II with Type II floats, although these were later modified to Hawker Osprey III standard. One Hawker Hart aircraft (K3594) was also converted to Hawker Osprey configuration.


Three trials aircraft (Hawker Osprey III stainless steel construction) were ordered for trials (S1699 to S1701). The first was tested on twin floats, whereas the last two were fitted with a single central float and wing-tip stabilising floats.


These were followed by production quantities of the Hawker Osprey III to Specification 10/33 with a Fairey Reed metal airscrew, dinghy (stowed in the starboard upper wing) and other modifications. Contracts were placed for 3 (further trials aircraft), 39, 7 and 14 aircraft, for a total of 66 production Hawker Osprey III.


By 1936, Hawker Ospreys had been deployed to 701 Squadron at RAF Kalafrana, acting in an anti-submarine and anti-piracy role. Over its life the Hawker Osprey saw service with Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and UK military forces.


The final version for the Royal Navy was the Hawker Osprey IV, fitted with a Rolls-Royce Kestrel V engine. A total of 26 were ordered to Specification 26/35. These aircraft (K5742 to K5767) were later used as trainers and for target towing.



Hawker Osprey I S1681 HMS Eagle
Hawker Osprey I S1681 was operated from HMS Eagle.

Variants & Number Built

UK production comprised:
  •  Naval Hart (J9052) two Hawker Osprey I prototypes
  •  37 Hawker Osprey I production
  •  14 Hawker Osprey II,
  •  67 Hawker Osprey III
  •  26 Hawker Osprey IV.
  •  Naval Hart plus 146 Hawker Osprey.

Export aircraft comprised:

  •  4 aircraft to Sweden (2401-2404 powered by a Swedish-built Bristol Pegasus engine). The first flight (2401) took place on 8th September 1934.  
  •  2 Hawker Osprey II were supplied to Portugal (71 & 72). The first was in landplane configuration with the second as a seaplane. These aircraft were powered by the Kestrel II MS engine.


A single Osprey was supplied to Spain: This aircraft (EA-KAJ / ex-G-AEBD).  This was in fact a company demonstrator fitted with a Rolls-Royce Kestrel V engine that was later changed to Hispano-Suiza 12X brs engine prior to delivery to Spain.


Hawker production:

  •  131 RN plus 7 export (138) plus at least two aircraft built locally in Sweden. Sweden are reported as using a total of six Hawker Osprey aircraft with serials 2401 to 2406, the first four of these having been built in the UK.


By the outbreak of the Second World War, the Hawker Osprey had largely been withdrawn from service. Those remaining continued in limited use as trainers and target tugs until early 1943.


Hawker Naval Hart Hart prototype (J9052) used as naval development aircraft with folding wings and seaplane undercarriage
Prototypes Two aircraft: S1667, S1678
Hawker Osprey I 37 production aircraft, last 17 with larger fin and rudder. Fitted with Type I floats
Hawker Osprey II 14 aircraft and one Hart conversion with Type II floats. Later converted to Osprey III
Hawker Osprey III
66 production aircraft (plus one modified from Hart K3854) with Fairey Reed airscrew, dinghy and other enhancements. Some aircraft with stainless steel structure. Total 67 aircraft.
Hawker Osprey IV 26 aircraft fitted with 640 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel V engine
Swedish Hawker Osprey Six aircraft 2401 – 2406 (first four built by Hawker)
Portuguese Hawker Osprey Two aircraft, as Osprey III
Spanish Hawker Osprey One aircraft (EA-KAJ) with Hispano-Suiza 12X brs engine
Naval Hart plus 146 Fleet Air Arm: Two Osprey I prototypes, 37 Osprey I production, 14 Osprey II, 67 Osprey III and 26 Osprey IV. Seven export aircraft, plus at least two built in Sweden.



Hawker Osprey III  Landplane Seaplane
Powerplant One 630hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel II MS
Span 37 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 4,950 lb 5,570 lb
Capacity and armament Two crew, One Vickers forward-firing machine gun, one self- defence Lewis gun fired from the rear cockpit. Bomb load up to four 112 lb bombs.
Maximum Speed 168 mph at 6,000 ft 146 mph at 4,700 ft




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