Hawker Indian Sea Hawk

The third and final over-seas customer for the Sea Hawk was the Indian Navy, which ordered a mix of ex-Fleet Air Arm aircraft, new build and former German aircraft over a ten year period. The first order, for nine Mk.3s rebuilt to F.G.A.6 standard, was placed in May 1959, and deliveries began in January 1960. This was flowed by an order for fourteen newly built Mk.6s, the last Sea Hawks to be build. These aircraft made their maiden flights between 2 January and 20 July 1961.

Before these aircraft were completed another order for seven refurbished Mk.6s which were delivered in 1963-66. A final sixteen refurbished aircraft were ordered in 1963, and were delivered by 1965. 

In August 1965 India ordered ten Mk.100s and eighteen Mk.101s from Germany, taking advantage of the type's withdrawal from front line service. These aircraft were ordered through a German arms dealer, but in September an arms embargo was imposed because of the Indo-Pakistan War. The sanctions lasted well into 1966, but were eventually bypassed by passing the aircraft to a third party in Italy. 

The first Indian squadron to receive the Sea Hawk was No.300 'White Tiger' Squadron (INAS 300), which was commissioned on 6 July 1960 at RNAS Brawdy, after the Indian air and ground crew had undergone three months of conversion training. In the summer of 1961 the squadron embarked on INS Vikrant, a former RN carrier. The Sea Hawk was also used by INAS 511 at INS Hansa, in Goa. Fifty Sea Hawks were still in service in the late 1970s, and the last was not withdrawn until 1984, thirty years after the type first entered Fleet Air Arm service. The Sea Hawks were replaced by the Harrier.

The Indian Sea Hawks were used in combat during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars, seeing most service over the Bay of Bengal in 1971. Two hundred sorties were flown between 4-12 December, concentrating on Pakistani airfields, naval facilities and ships.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 June 2010), Hawker Indian Sea Hawk , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_hawker_indian_sea_hawk.html

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