The Hawker Osprey was a naval version of the Hawker Hart light bomber, converted to act as a Fleet Spotter/ Reconnaissance aircraft. This variant on the Hart needed more modifications than most. The fuselage had to be strengthened to allow for catapult launches from capital ships. The undercarriage was modified so that it could easily take either wheels or floats. The Osprey was also equipped with folding wings.
Despite these changes, the Osprey was similar enough to the Hart for the same airframe to be used as the prototype for both aircraft. The Osprey entered service late in 1932. It was withdrawn from front line service in 1938, performing second line duties until 1940.
The Osprey appeared in four variants. The Mk I and Mk II differed only in the type of floats used. The Mk III carried a dinghy. The Mk IV of 1935 used the improved Kestrel V, providing 640hp. Like all members of the Hart family, early Ospreys were constructed using a framework of steel tubes, with light alloy parts and a fabric covering. Early in the production run all of the light alloys were replaced by steel, which stood up to the difficult naval conditions rather better.
Stats (Mk IV)
Engine: Rolls-Royce Kestrel II
Max Speed: 176mph (landplane), 169mph (seaplane)
Ceiling: 25,000 (landplane), 22,000 (seaplane)
Endurance: 2 hours 15 minutes
Span: 37ft 0in
Length: 29ft 4in (31ft 9.75in with floats)
Armament: Two 0.303in machine guns, one forward firing and one in aft cockpit.