Formerly operated by the Iraqi Air Force, Sea Fury
N97SF / VH-HFG now wears Australian markings.
Photo by Buck Wyndham
As with many aircraft of the 1940s, the Hawker Sea Fury fighter-bomber
design was the result of a British wartime design specification which called for certain
performance levels to be met by the new aircraft. To meet Specification F.6/42, the Hawker
design team began by modifying the Hawker Tempest into a smaller, lightweight version. By
1943, six prototypes had been ordered, five to be flown with three different engines, and
one to be used as a test airframe.
The first flight of the new airplane (by now
named the Fury) took place on 1 September 1944.
Production contracts for the airplane had already been placed, with 200 land-based Furies
to be delivered to the Royal Air Force, and another 200 carrier-based Sea
Furies to be delivered to the Fleet Air Arm. (100 of the Sea Furies were to
be built by Boulton Paul.) When the war ended, the RAF order was cancelled, but the design
and development of the Sea Fury continued.
The first Sea Fury prototype, powered by a
Bristol Centaurus XII, had first flown on 21 February 1945, but the first fully-navalized
version with folding wings did not fly until 12 October 1947. The Boulton Paul contract
was cancelled in early 1945, and of the 100 Sea Furies that remained on order, the first
50 were completed under the designation Sea Fury Mk X. In May
1948, the first Sea Furies became operational with No. 802 Squadron, in the form of the
Sea Fury FB.Mk 11, of which 615 were built. At least 66 of these
were delivered to Australia and Canada. Early in the Korean war, Sea Furies operated very
successfully in the ground attack role from the decks of Royal Navy aircraft carriers. The
RN also received 60 two-seat T.Mk 20 trainers in the early
1950s. Sea Furies were exported to several other countries, including the Netherlands,
Pakistan, Egypt, Burma, Cuba and Iraq.
Today, the few remaining Sea Furies are
highly prized, with at least ten having been modified for air racing. Several others are
very active on the air show circuit.
Specifications (Sea Fury FB.Mk 11):
Engine: One 2,480-hp Bristol Centaurus 18, 18-cylinder radial piston engine.
Weight: Empty 9,240 lbs., Max
Takeoff 12,500 lbs.
Wing Span: 38ft. 4.75in.
Length: 34ft. 8in.
Height: 15ft. 10.5in.
Range: 680 miles
cannon in wings
for eight 60-pound rockets or two bombs
Number Built: 860
Number Still Airworthy: ~15
Aircraft of the Pacific War -- Sea
Aviation Museum -- Sea Fury FB.11
Aircraft Carriers Site: Sea Fury
Fleet Air Arm Special Interest
Group -- Sea Fury detail photos
Kiwi Aircraft Images' Sea
Pops" (Reno Unlimited Air Racer) Photos
Typhoon, Tempest and
Fury: Where are They Now?
Museum: Hawker Sea Fury
[ Sea Fury
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