Aviation 72 1/72nd scale AV7223009 Hawker Sea Hawk XE339 Fleet Requirements Unit Hurn 1968. Buy online at Flying Tigers.
The Hawker Sea Hawk was a British single-seat jet fighter of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the air branch of the Royal Navy (RN), built by Hawker Aircraft and its sister company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Although its origins stemmed from earlier Hawker piston-engined fighters, the Sea Hawk became the company’s first jet aircraft.
Following the type’s acceptance by the RN, the Sea Hawk proved to be a reliable and sturdy workhorse. A considerable number were also produced for the export market, and were operated from aircraft carriers in both Dutch and Indian service. The last operational Sea Hawks, operated by the Indian Navy, were retired in 1983.
The Sea Hawk, as part of the Fleet Air Arm, saw extensive service during the Suez Crisis, initiated by Egypt’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal. The United Kingdom, France and Israel conspired to provoke war, with the Anglo-French invasion being known as Operation Musketeer, beginning on 31 October 1956. Six Sea Hawk squadrons took part: two were aboard the fleet carrier HMS Eagle and two each aboard the light fleet carriers HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark. The Sea Hawks were used for ground-attack, causing damage to a variety of Egyptian targets. The military conduct of the Suez Campaign was successful, unlike the political disaster, and all invasion forces were withdrawn by 1957.
The Sea Hawk was a successful export aircraft. In the Royal Netherlands Navy, it served aboard the Dutch aircraft carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman, ex-HMS Venerable, including decolonization operations guarding against Indonesian threats in the area. From 1959 they were equipped with Sidewinder missiles significantly enhancing and extending their air-to-air combat capabilities. In 1961, the Sea Hawks that served on her were moved ashore when the NATO mission profile was changed to all ASW aircraft; by October 1964 they had been taken out of service.
In Indian Navy service (beginning in 1960), Sea Hawks were used aboard the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, ex-HMS Hercules and saw service during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The latter war saw Sea Hawks being used by the Indian Navy; these aircraft scored nearly a dozen “kills”, mainly of Pakistan Navy gunboats and Merchant navy ships and cargo ships in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) without losing an aircraft in the war. Aided by Breguet Alize aircraft, the Sea Hawks emerged unscathed, achieving the highest kill ratio for any aircraft in the war. The Sea Hawk was withdrawn from Indian Navy service in 1983, being replaced by the far more capable BAE Sea Harrier.