Pen & Sword's The Hawker Hunter
|Pen & Sword|
|$29.95 from Casemate|
119 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
This addition to the Images of War series highlights one of my favorite jet aircraft, the Hawker Hunter. The Hunter was based on a fixed wing aircraft that found service with several naval arms, the Hawker Sea Hawk. In the competition to provide the next interceptor for the RAF, the Hunter actually came in second place to the Supermarine Swift, however, the state of the British aviation industry was such that not only were they lagging the competitors in airframe design, but they ran into several problem with both the airframe and engine. As such, both types were put into low level production in hopes that the issues could be cleared up.
It took some time to sort things, but eventually, the Hunter turned out to be the one that fixed most things first. This limited the Swift's numbers and while it did prove to be a competent recon platform, it was never put into service in anything other than fairly small numbers. The Hunter, was not perfect and it wasn't until the F.4 that the aircraft was sorted enough for large scale production. It turned out to be a competent interceptor and while it was not supersonic in level flight it could breach Mach in a dive. It was chosen by numerous nations and license built by a Dutch/Belgian consortium as by India.
Once the type started to be replaced in the RAF by the EE Lightning, the Hunter found new life in the ground attack role. It could carry a fair amount of ordnance and second hand F.1/F.6 airframes were reworked as the FGA.9. This variant used a lower power and more reliable engine and went on to success both with the RAF and by a number of overseas air forces.
The book starts off with a history of the type's development before going into chapters on its highest unit usage, service with non-interceptor units and its operations with foreign air forces. These are mostly photo books, but this one has a considerable amount of write-up in each of the different sections. I was surprised that this one is shorter than some of the other books in this series. Surely it isn't for lack of photos. Regardless, it is a well done book and will be one that both enthusiasts and modelers alike will enjoy. Worth picking up.
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