Hawker Duiker

The Hawker Duiker was an unsuccessful design for a reconnaissance aircraft that was noteworthy mainly for being one of the first two types of aircraft to carry the Hawker name.

In 1920 the Sopwith Company had been forced into administration. After clearing all of the company's debts Sir Thomas Sopwith joined with Harry Hawker to form the new H.G. Hawker Engineering Co. Ltd. At first the new company concentrated on producing motor bikes and cars, and on refurbishing Sopwith Snipes for the RAF, but it soon began to work on new aircraft designs.

The Duiker was designed to satisfy one of the first post-war Air Ministry aircraft specifications, 'D of R Type 3A' for a reconnaissance aircraft. The original specification was unsatisfactory, and was reissued twice, first as 10/21 and then as 7/22 (the tenth specification of 1921 and the seventh of 1922). Specification 7/22 called for an aircraft to perform Corps Reconnaissance Duties - short range reconnaissance, artillery spotting and liaison duties, somewhat similar to the famous Westland Lysander or Fieseler Storch (the Duiker had a similar fixed undercarriage to the Storch, although with larger wheels).

The Duiker was a parasol monoplane, with large swept back wings. It had an entirely wooden framework. It was originally powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar engine, and later by a Bristol Jupiter IV.

Several prototypes were ordered, but only the first was completed. In 1923 it was sent to Martlesham Heath to be evaluated by the RAF, and was almost immediately judged to be a failure. The big parasol wing was apparently the main problem, lacking sufficient rigidity, and a new metal wing was designed but not completed. Amongst the aircrafts failings was a tendency for the wing to break away from the rear cabane struts and a lack of directional stability at all speeds (not ideal in a reconnaissance aircraft, which needs to be a stable platform for the observer). It was also felt to be unsafe at its maximum loaded weight, and so the Vickers gun in the nose and the Lewis gun in the rear cockpit were removed.

The prototype was delivered to the RAE at Farnborough in April 1924, but by then work on the second prototype had been abandoned, and it may have been buried somewhere on Hawker's land at Brooklands.

Engine: Bristol Jupiter IV
Power: 389hp
Crew: 2
Wing span: 48ft 5in
Length: 31ft 5in
Height: 10ft 7in
Empty Weight: 3,956lb
Loaded Weight: 4,940lb
Max Speed: 125mph at sea level
Cruising Speed: 99mph
Service Ceiling: 14,500ft
Range: 340 miles at 95mph
Armament: None carried due to concerns over weight
Bomb-load: None

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 April 2010), Hawker Duiker , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_hawker_duiker.html

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