The Hawker Hartebeeste was a version of the Hawker Audax air co-operation aircraft modified for use in South Africa. Four were produced by Hawker in 1934-35, with another sixty five built by Roberts Heights in South Africa from 1937. The main difference between the Hartebeeste and the Audax was a change of engine to the Rolls Royce Kestrel VFP, producing 608hp. The more powerful engine compensated for the addition of some armour around the cockpits.
The Hartebeeste had a short front line career with the South African Air Force. Two squadrons were equipped with the Hartebeeste when the Italians entered the war on 10 June 1940. The next day the Hartebeeste’s undertook their biggest operation of the war, a large scale attack on Italian positions. Soon after that the Hartebeeste was withdrawn from the front line, and transferred to training and communications units, remaining in service for the rest of the war.
Engine: Rolls-Royce Kestrel VFP
Max Speed: 176mph at 6,000ft
Ceiling: 22,000 ft
Endurance: 3 hours 10 minutes
Span: 37ft 3in
Length: 29ft 7in
Armament: Two 0.303in machine guns, one forward firing and one in aft cockpit plus light bombs or supply canisters under the wings.