Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hawker Sea Fury
The Hawker Sea Fury was a fighter aircraft developed for the British Fleet Air Arm, and was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve the Royal Navy. It was among the fastest piston-engine aircraft ever built. An evolutionary successor to the successful Hawker Typhoon and Tempest fighters and fighter-bombers of the Second World War, the design's roots began with the capture of a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 which mistakenly landed in England in June, 1942. The Fury was designed in 1942 by Sidney Camm, the famous Hawker designer, to meet the RAF's requirement for a lightweight Tempest II replacement.
In 1943 the design was modified to meet a Royal Navy request for a carrier-based fighter, and Boulton-Paul Aircraft were to make the conversion while Hawker continued work on the Air Force design. The first Sea Fury prototype flew on February 21, 1945, and was powered by a Bristol Centaurus XII; it had a tail hook for arrested carrier landings, but lacked folding wings. The second prototype was powered by a Centaurus XV and did have folding wings, and the prototypes were undergoing carrier landing trials when the Japanese surrendered in 1945. The end of the war also ended development of the land-based Fury, although the Royal Navy only reduced the number of aircraft in their contract to 100 and cancelled the Boulton-Paul agreement.
The first production model, the Sea Fury Mark 10, flew in September 1946, with the aircraft becoming approved for carrier landings in the Spring of 1947. The Mark 10 was followed by the Mark 11 fighter-bomber variant, which eventually reached production of 650 aircraft. The Sea Fury remained the Fleet Air Arm's primary fighter-bomber until 1953 and the introduction of the Hawker Sea Hawk. It served throughout the Korean War as a ground-attack aircraft, with one British pilot even scoring two MiG-15 jet kills. The last squadron of Royal Navy Sea Furies was deactivated in 1955, though dozens were exported to other countries, including Canada, the Netherlands, Iraq, Egypt, Burma, and Cuba. The final production figures for all marks reached around 860 aircraft.
Several Sea Furies are still flying today, with around a dozen heavily modified and raced regularly at the Reno Air Races. Still more remain in unflyable condition in museums around the world.
- Wingspan: 38 ft 4 3/4 in (11.7 m)
- Length: 34 ft 8 in (10.6 m)
- Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.9 m)
- Empty weight: 9,240 lb (4,190 kg)
- Max take-off weight: 12,500 lb (5,670 kg)
- Powerplant: 1x Bristol Centaurus XVIIC 18 cylinder twin-row air-cooled radial, 2,480 hp (1,850 kW)
- Speed: 460 mph (740 km/h)
- Rate of climb: 30,000 ft (9,140 m) in 10 min 48 s
- Service ceiling: 35,800 ft (10,900 m)
- Range: 700 mi (1,127 km), without external fuel tanks
- Guns: Four 20 mm cannon
- Stores: 2,000 lb (908 kg) of bombs or 12 x 3 in (76 mm) rockets
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