Corgi AA39601 RAF Hawker Hart Light Bomber - No. 600 Squadron RAuxAF (City of London), January 1935 (1:72 Scale)
"Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared."
- Eddie Rickenbacker
The Hawker Hart was a British two-seater biplane light bomber of the Royal Air Force (RAF), which had a prominent role during the RAF's inter-war period. The Hart was designed during the 1920s by Sydney Camm and built by Hawker Aircraft. It spawned several variants, including a naval version.
In 1926, the Air Ministry stated a requirement for a two-seat high-performance light day-bomber, to be of all-metal construction and with a maximum speed of 160 mph (258 km/h). Designs were tendered by Hawker, Avro and de Havilland. Fairey, who had sold a squadron's worth of its wooden Fox bomber in 1925, was not at first invited to tender to the specification, and was only sent a copy of the specification after protesting to the Chief of the Air Staff, Hugh Trenchard.
Hawker's design was a single-bay biplane powered by a Rolls-Royce F.XI water-cooled V12 engine (the engine that later became known as the Rolls-Royce Kestrel). It had, as the specification required, a metal structure, with a fuselage structure of steel-tube covered by aluminium panels and fabric, with the wings having steel spars and duralumin ribs, covered in fabric. The crew of two sat in individual tandem cockpits, with the pilot sitting under the wing trailing edge, and operating a single .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun mounted on the port side of the cockpit. The observer sat behind the pilot, and was armed with a single Lewis gun on a ring mount, while for bomb-aiming, he lay prone under the pilots seat. Up to 520 pounds (240 kg) of bombs could be carried under the aircraft's wings.
J9052, the prototype Hart, (a Hart being a male Red Deer) first flew in June 1928, being delivered to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Martlesham Heath on September 8th. It demonstrated good performance and handling, reaching 176 mph (283 mph) in level flight and 282 mph (454 km/h) in a vertical dive. The competition culminated in the choice of the Hawker Hart in April 1929. The de Havilland Hound was rejected due to handling problems during landing and because of its part-wooden primary structure. While the Avro Antelope demonstrated similar performance and good handling, the Hart was preferred as it was far cheaper to maintain, a vital aspect to a program during defense budget constraints that the British armed forces faced during the 1920s. The Fairey Fox IIM (which despite the name was effectively an all-new aircraft), delayed by Fairey's late start on the design compared to the other competitors, only flew for the first time on October 25th, 1929, long after the Hart had been selected.
A total of 992 aircraft were built as Harts. It became the most widely used light bomber of its time and the design would prove to be a successful one with a number of derivatives, including the Hawker Hind and Hector, being made. There were a number of Hart variants made, though only slight alterations were made. The Hart India was basically a tropicalized version of the aircraft; the Hart Special was another tropicalized version based on the Hawker Audax, a Hart variant, with desert equipment; a specialized Hart Trainer was also designed. Vickers built 114 of the latter model at Weybridge between 1931 and June 1936.
The production Hart day bomber had a single 525 hp (390 kW) Rolls-Royce Kestrel IB 12-cylinder V-type engine; a speed of 184 mph (296 km/h) and a range of 470 mi (757 km). It was faster than most contemporary fighters, an astonishing achievement considering it was a light bomber, and had high maneuvrability, making the Hart one of the most effective biplane bombers ever produced for the Royal Air Force. In particular, it was faster than the Bristol Bulldog, which had recently entered service as the RAF's front line fighter. This disparity in performance led the RAF to gradually replace the Bulldog with the Hawker Fury. Demand for the bomber was such that 164 were built by Vickers-Armstrongs at its Weybridge factory at Brooklands between 1931 and 1936 after that company's submission of a tender, alongside the trainers mentioned above.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale diecast replica of a RAF Hawker Hart light bomber that was attached to No. 600 Squadron RAuxAF (City of London), during January 1935.
Release Date: March 2012
Historical Account: "City of London" - Entering service in 1930, the Hawker Hart was possibly the most versatile aircraft of the 'Inter war' period. Designed by Sydney Camm as a two-seat day bomber, it spawned a family of variants that included a fighter, seaplane, reconnaissance aircraft, dive bomber and trainer.
No. 600 (City of London) Squadron RAuxAF was formed at RAF Northolt on October 14th, 1925. It moved to RAF Hendon at the end of 1926, replacing its DH.9As, with more modern Westland Wapitis in 1929. It was designated a fighter squadron in July 1934.
K2986 was part of a batch of Harts delivered to 600 Squadron in January 1935, pending the arrival of Hawker Demons. They were distinguished by the squadron's colorful red and white markings worn on the upper wing and fuselage sides. By 1937 the conversion to Demons was complete and K2986 was shipped as SR-4 to the Southern Rhodesian Air Force for use in the advanced training and army-co-operation role.