The Hawker Biplane Series, Audax, Fury, and Hart

 Hawker Audax

In the 1920’s and 30’s Sydney Camm designed for Hawker a series of biplanes that were elegant expressions of the biplane format. These were the Audax, Fury and Hart. The Audax (seen above) was a observation / light bomber variant of the Hart for the Army co-operation role. The RAF bought 624 in 1932-33. Prior to WWII these had been relegated to air training as the Hurricanes had pushed them out of use.

Hawker Fury biplane fighter

The Fury, seen above, embodied the classic fighter design by Sidney Camm. The Fury was a beautifully streamlined biplane fighter that reintroduced liquid cooled engines for fighters. Its layout and construction were based on that of the Hart bomber. Superb handling and high speed made the Fury one of the most popular combat aircraft of the RAF. It joined the RAF in 1936, but it was quickly relegated to advanced fighter training once the Hurricane arrived in force.

Hawker Hart

The Hart (seen above) was a twin-seat, single-engined, biplane bomber. When it appeared, the Hart was faster than contemporary fighters.The design showed what could be achieved by aerodynamic refinement and was very influential, but owed much to the earlier Fairey Fox light bomber, that was more or less ignored by the RAF. Like the Fox, the Hart had a close-cowled liquid-cooled engine, and much better streamlining than earlier bombers. The biplane wings were slightly swept. It first flew in 1929. Over 950 were built.

Technical Details
The Audax I had a crew of 2 and was powered by the 395kW Rolls-Royce Kestrel IB engine. It had a maximum speed of only 170 mph (272 km/h). It’s ceiling was 21,850 ft (6555m) with a range of 524 mi (845km). Armament consisted of two 0.303 machine guns. It had long exhaust pipes, a message pick-up hook, wheel brakes, and equipment for desert operations. It saw widespread use both in the UK and in the colonies prior to WWII. The RAF bought 624. Those based in Iraq flew combat missions during WWII.

Only one Hawker Audax is known to exist in the World. It is the airworthy G-BVVI owned and restored by Aero Vintage (UK).

The Fury Mk. I had a V12 supercharged Rolls Royce Kestrel IIS engine of 525hp, powering it to just over 200mph. The faster (230mph) Mark II had a later version of the Kestrel engine and can be easily told apart by the spatted wheels on the 98 that served with the RAF, slightly less than the 117 Mark Is. The Fury II, along with the Gloster Gladiator, was the RAFs stop-gap until the introduction of monoplane fighters and only 6 squadrons ever used it.

The Fury Mk.II fighter used the Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI, water-cooled engine. It was capable of a maximum speed of 223 mph (360km/h), with a ceiling of 30,000 ft (9000m) and a range of 270 mi (435km). It’s armament consisted of two 0.303 machine guns.

The Hart was powered by the 395kW Rolls-Royce Kestrel IB engine that was also in the Audax. It had a speed of 190 mph (295km/h), a ceiling of 21,000 ft (6500m), and a range of about 450 mi (760km). It was armed with two 0.303 machine guns, one in the front one in the rear, and could carry 500 lbs of bombs (225kg).

Canadian Aces Home Page

Images From:
Audax and Hart - H. Halliday. Woody a Fighter Pilot’s Album. CANAV Books, Canada.
Fury. Unknown.

Information From:
Military Aircraft Database.
Fleet Air Arm Archive, Index of Naval Aircraft.