Hawker P.V.3

The Hawker P.V.3 was a fighter aircraft designed to satisfy Air Ministry specification F.7/30, but that was made obsolete by the 1933 issuing of the specifications that led to the Hurricane and that never entered production. Specification F.7/30 made the first clear break with the two-gun fighter designs that had dominated RAF thinking since the end of the First World War. It called for a single-seat fighter armed with four Vickers machine guns, and preferably powered by the steam-cooled Rolls Royce Goshawk engine.

While other manufactures produced some quite unusual designs in response to F.7/30, the Hawker design was effectively an enlarged version of the Hawker Fury, taking advantage of new features that had been developed on two experimental aircraft, the Intermediate Fury and High-Speed Fury. The P.V.3 had a four-foot wider wingspan and was two feet longer than the Fury, and the new engines and doubling in the number of guns also meant that it was heavier. The four guns were all carried around the nose - two on top of the engine cowling and two on the sides.

The P.V.3 was ready to be evaluated in 1934, but delays to the other entries meant that the F.7/30 contest was postponed to 1935. During this gap the P.V.3 was given the most up-to-date version of the Goshawk, then the 700hp B.43, and in the summer of 1935 it was sent to Martlesham Heath for evaluation. By this point the F.7/30 contest had dragged on for so long that it became obsolete. On 6 November 1935 the prototype Hurricane made its maiden flight, and the era of the 300mph monoplane fighter aircraft was born. The Hawker P.V.3 and all of its biplane contemporaries became obsolete almost overnight. Although the Gloster Gladiator, also designed to satisfy F.7/30, was ordered into production, it was effectively a back-up design in case the new monoplanes ran into unexpected problems.

Engine: Rolls Royce Goshawk III steam-cooled engine (performance figures for 700hp Goshawk B.43)
Power: 695hp
Crew: 1
Wing span: 34ft 0in
Length: 28ft 2in
Height: 10ft 5in
Empty Weight: 3,530lb
Loaded Weight: 4,670lb
Max Speed: 224mph at 14,000ft
Climb: 4min 20sec to 10,000ft, 12min 5sec to 20,000ft
Service Ceiling: 29,600ft
Armament: Four forward firing machine guns, all in nose

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 April 2010), Hawker P.V.3 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_hawker_PV3.html

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