The H.G Hawker Hawker P.V.3. was a private venture prototype designed against Specification F.7/30. This specification sought a single seat ‘Zone fighter’ with four guns that should be suitable for day and night-fighting. A high-rate of climb, good endurance at 15,000 ft and a slow landing speed were required, together with an expressed preference for the Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine.
The night-fighting requirement was deemed to place a premium on a good pilot field-of-view and on ease of landing. In the event, field of view was interpreted by other designers as a 'design-driver', resulting in some very unusual configurations, including the Westland P.V.4, Bristol Type 123, and Blackburn F3 biplanes.
Gloster Aircraft, wisely in retrospect, ignored the customer’s Goshawk preference in favour of the Bristol Mercury-powered SS37 which was subsequently ordered into production as the Gloster Gladiator.
Designed by Sidney Camm, the Hawker P.V.3. built upon developments that had be proven on the High-Speed Hawker Fury biplane (K3586) and as with the latter aircraft, steam condensers were incorporated into the wing leading-edge, with a retractable unit fitted between the undercarriage legs.
The four forward-firing Vickers guns were mounted in the forward fuselage, with two firing above the engine (as on the Hawker Fury) and one to each side (as on the Hawker Demon).
Large wheel spats were fitted (as on the High Speed Hawker Fury) and ‘rams-horn’ exhausts were used, with a view to reducing glare that would otherwise spoil the pilot’s night vision.
H.G. Hawker eventually submitted two designs to meet the specification, a monoplane and a biplane although neither were selected and in 1932 prototype orders were placed with Blackburn Aircraft for its Blackburn F.3 and to Westland, for their F.7/30.
The prototype Hawker P.V.3. was eventually flown by Hawker Chief Test Pilot George Bulman on 15th June 1934 whilst fitted with a 695 hp Goshawk III engine. It subsequently joined its competitors on the official trials in 1935, although development issues with other manufacturers meant that the official testing was postponed until 1935. By this time the Hawker P.V.3 had been fitted with a Rolls-Royce Goshawk B.41 engine and then, a Rolls-Royce Goshawk B.43 engine, flying with the latter on 7th July 1935.
It performed well in the comparison trials although, despite good reports for handling and performance, it failed to receive any orders.
By this time, it was evident that the Rolls-Royce Goshawk power unit, with its complex cooling system, was not really suitable as a fighter engine. The Gloster Gladiator had been selected for production in the same month as the Hawker P.V.3. was finally flown with the Goshawk B.43 engine, rendering its subsequent trials as largely academic.
The obsolescence of the Hawker P.V.3. design is probably best illustrated by the fact that the eight gun monoplane, the famous Hawker Hurricane prototype, flew just five months after the introduction of the final Rolls-Royce Goshawk B.43 powered version of the Hawker P.V.3.
Variants & Numbers
Specification (with Goshawk B.43)
|Powerplants||One 695 hp Rolls-Royce Goshawk III (later replaced by a 700 hp Goshawk B.41 and then a Goshawk B.43 steam-cooled engine)|
|Span||34 ft 0 in|
|Maximum Weight||Normal 4,670 lb, Overload 4,850 lb|
|Capacity and armament||Single pilot; four forward firing Vickers 0.303 machine guns with a total of 1,800 rounds.|
|Maximum Speed||224 mph at 14,000 ft|