Hawker Osprey

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hawker Osprey
Hawker Osprey
Float design
Type: Biplane, reconnaissance plane, fighter plane
Design country:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom


Hawker Aircraft

First flight:




Production time:


Number of pieces:


The Hawker Osprey was a carrier-based version of the Hawker Hart , which was used as a fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. There were also versions as float planes . Rebuilt Hart machines served as prototypes in 1930 . The aircraft was reinforced for the carrier mission and the catapult launch , had folding wings and additional instruments.

Tendering for a fast reconnaissance aircraft

The tender O 22/26 was looking for a fast two-seater reconnaissance aircraft for the British naval air force that could also serve as a fighter and pilot single-seat fighter aircraft. For this tender, four companies built prototypes that used the Rolls-Royce Kestrel V12 engine . Fairey competed with the Fleetwing , Blackburn Aircraft with the Nautilus and Shorts with the Guinard , which was also modified as a float plane and an amphibious plane with a central float . However, Hawker Aircraft Ltd. won the 19/30 production order . with the modified Hart prototype J9052. According to the designation system of the British armed forces , which was modified in 1927 , reconnaissance (hunting) aircraft of the Royal Navy were given names beginning with the letter "O".

Used by the British Fleet Air Force

The Osprey was powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel II engine and reached a top speed of 270 km / h. Their armament consisted of a rigid 7.7 mm Vickers machine gun to the front and a movable 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun at the rear seat. The first series Osprey machines were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) in 1932 , which received a total of 129 machines. First in October 1932 the Flight 409 was equipped, from which the squadron 802 arose. In April 1933, squadrons 802 and 800 had nine single-seat Hawker Nimrod and three Ospreys each , which served as reconnaissance and navigation machines. The 803 season was a pure Osprey season with nine machines. In 1934, a mixed season was added with No.801 , which from autumn 1936 also became a pure Osprey season. It was not until the end of 1938 that the machines were replaced by Blackburn Skua monoplane.
The last machines were in service until 1944 and were used as training aircraft for naval pilots during World War II.

The FAA received four versions:

Osprey I
two-seater reconnaissance aircraft, powered by a 630 hp (470 kW) Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIMS; 37 built (S16 ?? - S16 ??, K2774 to K2790).
The carrier machines came to the fighter squadrons 800 ( HMS Courageous ), 801 ( HMS Furious ), 802 ( HMS Glorious ), 803 ( HMS Eagle then HMS Hermes ). In May 1939 the last machines on the carriers were replaced.
An Osprey IV 1936 on the catapult of the HMS Enterprise
Osprey II
two-seater reconnaissance aircraft, also powered by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIMS, equipped with floats; 14 built.
Osprey III
two-seater reconnaissance aircraft, also powered by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIMS, a dinghy packed in the upper starboard wing ; 52 built. (K3615 to K3653, K4322 to K4336 (54); K3914 to K3920 + K3954 (8 IIIL)).
Osprey IV
two-seater floatplane powered by a 640 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel V; 26 built in 1935 (K5742 to K5767).

The float planes were used on various ships, one of the first ships was the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex , then the cruiser of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, but ultimately almost all ships in the fleet. When in July 1936 the aircraft on board were organized in (Catapult) flights with 700 numbers, all except Flight 702 for the battleships of the Homefleet had Hawker Ospreys . However, they were exchanged for Supermarine Walrus flying boats or the lighter Fairey Seafox at an early stage . In the course of the Abyssinia crisis in 1936, Flight 701 (aircraft on board the battleships) flew surveillance flights from Malta with its Osprey float machines . By June 1938, all Osprey on- board engines on active Royal Navy ships had been replaced.


The Hawker Osprey was built in series by Hawkers, Kingston.

Approval of the Hawker Osprey by the RAF:

version 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 total
Mk.I 20th 17th       37
Mk.III     8th 46 14th 68
Mk.IIIL       1   1
Mk.IV         26th 26th
total 20th 17th 8th 47 40 132

In addition, two Ospreys were delivered to Portugal in 1935, four in 1934 and two in 1936 to Sweden and one Osprey in 1936 to Spain.

Assignments to other nations

A Swedish Osprey ready to take off on the aircraft cruiser Gotland

Only nine Ospreys were exported,

Swedish Osprey
The Swedish Air Force bought six Ospreys, which were given the designation S 9 there . The Swedish machines received 600 HP Bristol Mercury star engines built under license from Nydqvist och Holm and could be equipped with a land landing gear instead of the float. They were intended for the aircraft cruiser Gotland , which could have taken more of these machines on board, but for which the funds were lacking. In 1944, the Gotland was converted into an anti-aircraft cruiser, as no replacement for the outdated machines was available and would have caused considerable modifications. Three of the Swedish Ospreys have been converted into tow planes for aerial targets.
Portuguese Osprey
Two Osprey III machines were built for Portugal and delivered with Kestrel IIMS engines in 1935. They were intended for the Afonso de Albuquerque class colonial Avisos delivered from Great Britain , but then came to Macau as float planes ; the colonial administration is said to have procured more machines.
Spanish Osprey
The Spanish Republican Air Force also received an Osprey powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs engine.

Technical specifications

Parameter Osprey I S 9 Osprey
crew 2 (pilot and radio operator / gunner)
length 8.94 m 9.64 m
span 11.28 m
height 3.17 m
Wing area 31.5 m²
Empty mass 1545 kg 1850 kg
Takeoff mass 2245 kg 2450 kg
Top speed 270 km / h 230 km / h
Range 520 km  km
Service ceiling 7165 m m
Engine 12-cylinder V-engine Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIMS, 630 PS (approx. 460 kW) 9-cylinder radial engine Nydqvist och Holm Mercury, 600 PS (approx. 440 kW)
Armament 1 fixed / 1 movable machine gun


  • Mikael Forslund: Katapultflygplanet S 9 Hawker Osprey och flygplankryssaren Gotland. M. Forslund production, Falun 2000, ISBN 91-630-8037-0 .
  • Peter Lewis: The British Fighter since 1912. Sixty-seven Years of Design and Development. 4th edition. Putnam, London 1979, ISBN 0-370-10049-2 .
  • Ray Sturtivant: The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm. Air-Britain, Tonbridge 1984, ISBN 0-85130-120-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lewis, pp. 191 ff.
  2. Lewis, p. 193
  3. Sturtivant, p 467
  4. Sturtivant, p. 167ff., P. 155ff.
  5. Sturtivant, pp. 173f.
  6. Sturtivant, pp. 161, 164.
  7. 701 (1st BattleSq, MM), 711 (1st CruiserSq., MM), 712 (2nd CS, HF), 713 (3rd CS, MM), 714 (4th CS, EInd.), 715 ( 5. CS, ChSt.), 716 (6. CS, SAfr.), 718 (8. CS, Am / WInd.)
  8. Sturtivant, pp. 25-29, pp. 41-46.
  9. Sturtivant, pp. 25-46.
  10. Halley, James J .: The K File. The Royal Air Force of the 1930s, Tunbridge Wells, 1995, pp. 286 ff .; Air Britain: Aeromilitaria 1980/4: The S Series, p. 103 ff.
  11. a b Wixley Air Enthusiast January / February 2002, p. 63.