Original paint scheme
On April, 1943, Sydney Camm, the Hawker chief engineer, decided that the
F.2/43 project with an up-rated Centaurus XII engine might also fit the needs of
Specification N.7/43, a Royal Navy requirement for a carrier-based interceptor.
Consequently, both Royal Navy and RAF requirements were pooled under
Specification F.2/43. Hawker was designated to work on the land-based version,
and responsibility for the naval conversion was assigned to Boulton-Paul
Aircraft Ltd. of Wolverhampton.
Early in 1944, a revised naval specification, N.22/43, supplanted N.7/43. and
in April 1944 contracts were placed for 200 F.2/43 planes for the RAF and 200
N.22/43 planes for the Fleet Air Arm. 100 of the Navy planes were to have been
constructed by Boulton-Paul.
The first Sea Fury prototype, SR661, flew on February 21, 1945. It was
powered by a Centaurus XII engine driving a four-bladed propeller. This airplane
had a deck arrester hook under the rudder, but retained fixed wings.
The second Sea Fury prototype, SR666, was powered by a Centaurus XV driving a
five-bladed propeller and was a fully navalized aircraft with folding wings.
The Boulton-Paul machine, VB857, was a Sea Fury and was completed to the same
standard as SR666, and flew on January 31, 1946.
With the end of the Second World War, the RAF canceled all production
contracts for the Fury, deciding to concentrate all of its future efforts on jet
fighters. The Royal Navy reduced its order for Sea Furies to 100 aircraft, and
canceled the Boulton-Paul contract in its entirety.
The first 50 production Sea Furies were termed Mk. Xs and were fighters based
fundamentally on the prototype SR666. The first Mk. X was TF895, which flew for
the first time on September 7, 1946. Early Mk. Xs featured four-bladed
propellers, but, as a result of tests with SR666 and TF895, five-bladed
propellers became standard on all subsequent Sea Furies.
The first deck trials with Sea Fury TF898 began aboard HMS Victorious during
the winter of 1946-47. Serials were TF895-TF928 and TF940-TF955. There were some
initial problems with arrester hooks being damaged during landings, and several
interim modifications were necessary. The Sea Fury Mk. X was finally cleared for
shipboard duty in the spring of 1947. Sea Furies were issued to Nos. 778, 802,
803, 805 and 807 Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm.
The Sea Fury Mk. 11 was a fighter-bomber version capable of carrying a
mixture of 1000-pound bombs, rocket projectiles, drop tanks and napalm tanks.
The arrester hook was longer, and provision was made for the incorporation of
rocket-assisted take-off gear. In the next seven years, no less than 615 Sea
Fury Mk. 11s were delivered to the Royal Navy, these aircraft becoming the Fleet
Air Arm's principal single seat fighter until the introduction of the Sea Hawk
The Sea Fury Mk. 11 was powered by a 2480 hp Bristol Centaurus 18
eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. Maximum speed was 460 mph at 18,000
feet. An altitude of 30,000 feet could be reached in 10.8 minutes. Range without
external tanks was 700 miles, and 1040 miles with two drop tanks. Service
ceiling was 35,600 feet. Weights were 9240 lbs empty and 12,500 lbs loaded.
Armament was four 20-mm Hispano cannon in the wings, plus underwing racks for
bombs, drop tanks, and rockets.
The first unit to receive the Sea Fury F.B.11 (as the aircraft had been
redesignated) was No. 802 Squadron in May 1948. Nos. 280, 804, 805, and 807
Squadrons followed, embarking aboard HM Light Fleet Carriers Ocean, Theseus and
Glory during 1949-51.
In 1951, Sea Fury F.B.11s were introduced into service with the No. 1822
Squadron of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, replacing Supermarine Seafire Mk.
17s. They subsequently served with Nos. 1831, 1833, 1834, 1845, and 1836
Squadrons of the RNVR.
The Sea Fury T.Mk. 20 was a two-seat trainer version. The Sea Fury two-seater
was a direct result of an order for four two-seat Fury land-based fighters for
Iraq. However, owing to interest expressed by the British Admiralty, the first
machine was completed to an Admiralty Standard of Preparation and serialed
VX818. VX818 flew for the first time on January 15, 1948. The VX818 initially
had a pair of separate cockpit canopies for pilot and student, but during one of
the early test flights, the rear canopy collapsed. An interconnecting cockpit
"tunnel" was added to provide additional mechanical strength. In addition, a
periscopic sight was mounted on a tripod just forward of the instructor's (rear)
cockpit, and the armament was reduced from four to two 20-mm cannon.
Sixty production Sea Fury T.Mk. 20s were built and delivered to the Fleet Air
Arm, deliveries taking place between 1950 and 1952. Serials were VX280-VX292,
VX297-VX310, VZ345, VX346, VZ349-VZ354, VZ363-VZ365, VZ368, VZ370-VZ372,
WE820-WE826, and WG652-WG656. They were not equipped with arrester hooks and
served only with shore-based establishments. They were used primarily as
conversion trainers with reserve squadrons, serving alongside their single-seat
counterparts. They served alongside Mk. 10s and 11s with Nos. 1830, 1831, 1832,
1934, 1835, 1836, and 1843 Squadrons of the RNVR.
The first foreign variant of the Sea Fury was the Sea Fury Mk. 50 for the the
Royal Netherlands Navy for service on the ex-Royal Naval Escort Carrier Nairana.
Twelve more were ordered in 1950, bringing the total to twenty four. A license
was acquired for manufacture of Sea Furies by Fokker, and the license
manufacture brought the total of Dutch Sea Furies to 48. Many of these Sea
Furies served with the Royal Netherlands Navy aboard the Karel Doorman
(previously HMS Venerable). Hawker-built Sea Fury Mk. 50s were initially
numbered 10-1 through 10-24 but later became 6-1 through 6-24. Fokker-built
aircraft were numbered 10-25 through 10-45, becoming 6-25 to 6-45 (owing to
attrition). These Sea Furies were not finally replaced until 1959 by Hawker Sea
Approximately 50 ex-Fleet Air Arm Sea Furies were transferred to the Royal
Australian Navy during 1949 and 1950. Others were also supplied to the Royal
The Hawker Fury was designed as a smaller and lighter version of the Hawker
Tempest. The Sea Fury was the naval version, with folding wings and tail-hook.
The Sea Fury FB.11 was a fighter-bomber capable of carrying bombs and rockets
under its wings. Most of the 860 Sea Furys built went to the Royal Navy,
including 60 Mk.20 two-seat trainer versions. The RCN's 74 FB.11s were based on
shore and on the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent. Sea Furys served with the
RCN until they were retired in 1956.
In 1949-50, Pakistan purchased 93 single seat Sea Fury fighter-bombers plus
five two-seat trainers. 87 of the single-seaters were newly-built Mk. 60s, 5
were ex-FAA Mk. 11s, and one was the prototype F.2/43 Fury NX802. All of the Mk.
61 two-seaters were new builds.
Twelve Sea Fury fighters were ordered by Egypt during 1949 and delivered
during the following two years. A couple of these Sea Furies were still in
service during the Suez operation in November 1956.
In 1957, large numbers of surplus FAA Sea Fury Mk. 10s, 11s, and T.20s were
repurchased by Hawker. Of these, eighteen Mk. 11s and three T.Mk.20s were
reconditioned and resold by Hawker to Burma and delivered in 1958.
Fifteen Mk. 11s and two T.Mk. 20s selected from the aircraft re-purchased by
Hawker from the M.O.S. were sold to Cuba in 1958, although these were not
assembled until 1959, after the Castro revolution against the Batista
government. Cuban-piloted Sea Furies were in action against the CIA-sponsored
Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
Eight Mk. 20s were selected from aircraft re-purchased from the M.O.S. were
reconditioned and sold to Deutsche Luftfahrt Beratungsdienst during 1959-60.
They were further modified in Germany for target-towing duties. These aircraft
were given civilian registrations and served under contract to the West German
Luftwaffe as target tugs.
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