RAAF Hawker P.1081
|The Hawker P 1081
(sometimes referred to at the time as the
"Australian Fighter") was envisaged as a
replacement for the RAAF's Mustang, and Vampire fighters,
but was ultimately flown by the Royal Aircraft
Establishment to investigate flight at high Mach numbers.
Hawker Aircraft, submitted a proposal to meet a specification put out by the Australian government based on a development of the P.1052 design with a swept-wing-and-tail fighter using a Rolls-Royce Tay engine.
The aircraft was part of a line of development spanning the Hawker P.1035, P.1040, P1046, Hawker Sea Hawk, P.1052, P.1081, P.1067 leading eventually lead to the highly successful Hawker Hunter.
Work commenced to modify the second prototype of the Hawker P.1052 and the existing Rolls-Royce Nene engine was used for the prototype aircraft. The rear fuselage of the P.1052 was completely replaced with a new design incorporating a straight-through jet pipe and swept tail surfaces.
The first flight of the P.1081 (VX279) took place on 19 June 1950 but, in November of that year, the Australian project was discontinued and the aircraft was handed over to the Royal Aircraft Establishment.
The sole P.1081 was lost with its pilot, Squadron Leader T.S. "Wimpy" Wade, on 3 April 1951.
The RAAF serial range A86 was allocated for a possible purchase of the type , but was not taken up. Instead, the North American Sabre was ultimately selected for manufacture in Australia to replace the RAAF's Meteor and Vampire fighters.
It is ironic that the A86 serial was instead replaced with an F-86, even if that F-86 was called a CA-27, wore A94 serials in RAAF service and was powered by a British Rolls Royce Avon Engine!
The Author of this page is Brendan Cowan
Updated 26 October 2012
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