The Hawker Hector was the seventh and last member of the family of aircraft that had originated with the Hawker Hart light bomber of 1930. It was designed to replace the Hawker Audax as an army co-operation aircraft. The most significant change made to the Hector was the replacement of the Rolls Royce Kestrel engine used in the Audax with a Napier Dagger III engine. The Dagger was too large to fit in the elegant pointed nose of the Hart family, and so the Hector received a more rounded nose. In order to balance the extra weight of the Dagger, the swept back upper wing of the earlier aircraft was replaced by one with a straight wing.
Despite these visual changes, the Hector was very similar to the Audax. As a result development and production was rapid. The first production aircraft made its maiden flight on 14 February 1936. Hawker received orders for 178 Hectors, and despite the production switching from Hawker to Westland, all 178 were complete by the end of 1937.
The Hector equipped seven RAF army co-operation squadrons from 1937 to 1938-9, when it was replaced by the Westland Lysander. The Hectors were then transferred to five squadrons of the Auxiliary Air Force (Nos. 602, 612, 613, 614 and 615). Of these squadrons, only No. 613 used the Hector operationally. In May 1940 the squadron used its Hectors in attacks on the German troops advancing through northern France, losing two aircraft during one mission near Calais. In June 1940 the squadron finished converting to the Lysander, ending the front line career of the Hector. Between 1940 and 1942 the Hector served as a glider tug, before more modern aircraft became available for that role.
Engine: Napier Dagger III
Max speed: 187mph at 6,500ft
Endurance: 2 hours 25 minutes
Span: 36 ft 11.5in
Length: 29ft 9.75in
Armament: Two 0.303in machine guns, one forward firing and one on flexible mount in aft cockpit.
Payload: Two 112lb bombs or supply containers under wings.