Hawker P.1081

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Hawker P.1081 in flight 1950.jpg
Role Research aircraft
Manufacturer Hawker Aircraft
First flight 19 June 1950
Status Destroyed in flying accident - 3 April 1951
Primary user Royal Aircraft Establishment
Number built 1
Developed from Hawker P.1052

The Hawker P.1081, also known as the "Australian Fighter" was a British jet aircraft from the mid-twentieth century.

Design and development

In 1949, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) began assessing replacements for its locally-built Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Mustangs and De Havilland Australia (DHA) Vampires.[1] A series of designs were considered, including the Grumman Panther and an unconventional, twin-jet all-weather fighter: the CAC CA-23.

Hawker Aircraft also submitted a proposal, for a swept-wing-and-tail fighter using a Rolls-Royce Tay engine. Work was started to modify the second prototype of the Hawker P.1052 (UK serial number VX279). The existing Rolls-Royce Nene engine was used for the prototype aircraft. The rear fuselage of the P.1052 was completely replaced with one having a straight-through jet pipe and swept tail surfaces. The first flight of the P.1081 took place on 19 June 1950. CAC, evidently planning to build any design accepted by the Australian government, assigned the serial number CA-24. However, in November 1950, Hawker decided to discontinue its bid for the Australian contract. During 1951, the RAAF ordered (first) the proven Gloster Meteor F.8, as a stop-gap replacement for Mustangs serving the RAAF during the Korean War (which had already been rendered obsolete by encounters with MiG 15s) and, (second), a CAC proposal for a more powerful, Rolls-Royce Avon-engined variant of the North American Sabre (F-86), a project which resulted in the CAC Sabre.[2]

Hawker handed over the P.1081 prototype, which had remained in the UK, to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE). Its swept tail increased the Mach number above that of the P.1052 into the Mach 0.9-0.95 region, providing valuable information for the axially-powered Hawker Hunter. The sole P.1081 was lost with its pilot, Squadron Leader T.S. "Wimpy" Wade, on 3 April 1951.[3]


 United Kingdom


The Hawker P.1081 breaking right, in 1950.

Data from Mason:[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 37 ft 4 in (11.38 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 6 in (9.6 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.30 m)
  • Wing area: 258 ft² (23.97 m²)
  • Empty weight: 11,200 lb (5,080 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 14,480 lb (6,570 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Nene RN2 turbojet exhausting through tailpipe, 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN)


See also

Related development


  1. RAAF Museum, 2009, A94 CAC Sabre (14 December 2012).
  2. RAAF Museum, 2009, A94 CAC Sabre
  3. Jacques Trempe Collection
  4. Mason 1991, p. 373.
  • Hannah, Donald. Hawker FlyPast Reference Library. Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK: Key Publishing Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-946219-01-X.
  • James, Derek N. Hawker, an Aircraft Album No. 5. New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1973. ISBN 0-668-02699-5. (First published in the UK by Ian Allan in 1972)
  • Mason, Francis K. Hawker Aircraft since 1920. London: Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0-85177-839-9