Hawker Hunter F.G.A. Mark 9

The Hawker Hunter F.G.A.Mark 9 was the RAF's main close support or ground attack aircraft during the 1960s, replacing the de Havilland Venom FB.4. The Hunter was chosen for the role after competitive evaluation trials that were carried in Aden in 1958. At first the contest was seen as being between the Hunting-Percival Jet Provost and the Folland Gnat, both in use as RAF training aircraft, but the Hunter F.6 was added to the contest, and easily outclassed its competitors. In 1958 Hawkers received an order to convert forty F.6s to the new F.G.A.9 standard. This was followed by five more contracts to convert a total of eighty eight aircraft, for a total of 128 aircraft.

The F.G.A.9 had a stronger wing than the F.6, allowing it to carry a wider range of stores. The inner pylon could carry a 230-gallon drop tank (with an extra strut for support), two 25lb practices bombs, one 500lb or 1000lb bomb, six 3in rockets or a battery carrying 24 or 37 two-inch bombs. The outer pylon could be replaced by four Mk 12 rocket rails, each of which could carry three or four 3in rockets. In 1967 this was replaced by the 68mm SNEB rocket, which carried eighteen individual rockets. The F.G.A.9 also carried extra oxygen, improved cockpit ventilation and cooling (to cope with the high temperatures in the areas it was expected to operate in) and a tail landing parachute to help on smaller Middle Eastern airfields.

The first F.G.A.9 made its maiden flight on 3 July 1959, and entered service with RAF Strike Command (the former Fighter Command) in 1960-61, joining No.8 Squadron at Khormaksar (Aden) in January 1960. No.208 received the type in March 1960 and used it from Kenya. No.43 received the FGA.9 at home then took it to Cyprus in June 1961. No.20 Squadron received the type at Singapore then used it during the Indonesian crisis of the mid 1960s. At home Nos.1 and 54 Squadrons received the FGA.9 in 1961.

The FGA.9 began to be phased out towards the end of the 1960s. The last few squadrons to use it as a front line aircraft were No.1, which transferred to the Harrier from July 1969, No.54 which was disbanded then reformed as a Phantom squadron in September 1969 and No.8 Squadron, which lost its aircraft on its return from the Gulf in 1971. The aircraft was then used with a number of training units before finally retiring from that role in 1980.

The F.G.A.9 was the basis of a large number of export versions of the Hunter, while twelve were sold sold directly to Rhodesia in 1963.

Engine: Rolls-Royce Avon 207 turbojet
Power: 10,000lb
Crew: 1
Wing span: 33ft 8in
Length: 45ft 10.5in
Height: 13ft 2in
Empty Weight: 14,400lb
Maximum Weight: 24,600lb
Max Speed: 702mph
Cruising Speed:
Service Ceiling: 52,000ft
Range: 1,850 miles with tanks
Armament: Four 30mm cannon
Bomb-load: 3,000lb carried externally

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 May 2010), Hawker Hunter F.G.A. Mark 9 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_hawker_hunter_9.html

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