The Hunter was the most
successful of the British postwar fighters, and is remembered as a
delightful, capable airplane in every respect. The prototype was first
flown on 20 July 1951, and the single-seat Hunter F1
entered service with the Royal Air Force in July 1954. A two-seat variant,
the Hunter T7, entered service in 1958.
Deliveries of the Hunter continued until 1966, and during its life, the
airplane was continually modified and improved, resulting in over 25
variants, including export versions for over 22 foreign nations. All
versions were supersonic, and most variants featured increases in
armament, power and fuel quantity.
included the F4 (Avon Mk 115 engine, increased
fuel capacity from earlier versions); F5
(Sapphire Mk 101 engine); F6 (Avon Mk 203
engine, increased fuel capacity); T8 (Two-seat
Navy version); FR10 (RAF reconnaissance
version); GA11 (Royal Navy single-seat attack
version; and FGA9 (Greater weapons capacity,
increased thrust, strengthened fuselage for ground-attack role.)
Until just a few years
ago, almost 20% of all Hunters built were still in service (mainly with
the Swiss Air Force, RAF and Royal Navy), but as of 1998, only Zimbabwe's
Hunters are still in front-line service. At least 30 are still airworthy
in private hands.
Specifications (Hunter F6):
Engine: One 10,150-pound thrust Rolls-Royce Avon Mk207 turbojet
Weight: Empty 14,120 lbs., Max Takeoff 23,800 lbs.
Wing Span: 33ft. 8in.
Length: 45ft. 10.5in.
Height: 13ft. 2in.
Maximum Speed at Sea Level: 650 mph
Ceiling: 51,500 ft.
Range: 1,400 miles in ferry configuration (Combat radius 230
Four 30mm Aden cannon
Four underwing pylons for 500 or 1000-pound bombs, 24 76-mm
rockets, or fuel tanks.
Approximately 30 in private ownership.