The 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 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 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.
Hawker and Gloster entered strictly conventional and evolutionary biplanes, the Hawker P.V.3. being in essence a Goshawk-powered, four-gun, enlarged Hawker Fury.
Gloster, wisely in retrospect, ignored the customer’s Goshawk preference in favour of the Mercury-powered SS37 which was subsequently ordered into production in the Gladiator.
Designed by Sidney Camm, the P.V.3. built upon developments trialled on the High-Speed Fury (K3586) and as with the latter aircraft, steam condensers were incorporated in 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 Fury) and one to each side (as on the Demon).
Large wheel spats were fitted (as on the High Speed Fury) and ‘rams-horn’ exhausts were used, with a view to reducing glare that would otherwise spoil the pilot’s night vision.
Hawker eventually submitted two designs to meet the specification, a monoplane and a biplane although neither were selected with prototype orders being placed in 1932 with Blackburn Aircraft for its 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 Bullman on 15th June 1934, fitted with a 695 hp Goshawk III engine. It subsequently joined its competitors on official trials in 1935 although development issues with other manufacturers meant that the official testing was postponed until 1935. By this time the P.V.3 had been fitted with a Goshawk B.41 and then, a 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 Goshawk, with its complex cooling system, was not really suitable as a fighter engine. The Gladiator was selected for production in the same month as the P.V.3. was flown with the Goshawk B.43 engine, rendering its subsequent trials of largely academic interest.
The obsolescence of the P.V.3. design is best illustrated by the fact that the eight gun monoplane Hurricane prototype flew just five months later than the final 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|