Hawker Osprey


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Hawker Osprey

The Osprey was a two-seat naval fighter-reconnaissance biplane, developed from the Hart but with additional strengthening for catapult launching, folding wings for storage on board ship and naval equipment.

The first prototype flew in 1930 and was eventually followed by 37 Osprey Mk I, 14 Mk II, 52 Mk III and 26 Mk IV production aircraft; the Mk IIs later being modified into Mk Ills with Fairey Reid propellers and other refinements. A small number of the genuine Mk Ills were constructed of stainless steel, one of which, according to Hawker records, was exhibited in skeleton form at the 1932 Paris Show. Standard power plant for the Mk Is, IIs and Ills was the 423kW Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIMS, giving a maximum speed of 257km/h as a landplane. Seaplane Ospreys had twin floats, although an interesting but unsuccessful experiment was carried out with one aircraft fitted with a central main float and wingtip stabilising floats. The Mk IV was powered by a 477kW Kestrel V engine.

Ospreys entered service with the FAA in 1932 and eventually flew from aircraft carriers, cruisers and other warships. In 1934 one RAF squadron took delivery of four Ospreys for communications work, and in the same year HMS Sussex went to Melbourne as part of the Centenary celebrations carrying an Osprey. By mid-1935 several ships of the Second Cruiser Squadron of the Home Fleet had been issued with Ospreys and the new cruiser Ajax had received two for service with the Mediterranean Command. These remained in service until 1939.

Hawker Osprey

Meanwhile the Swedish vessel Gotland had received Mercury-powered Ospreys, known as Nohabs. These remained operational as naval co-operation aircraft alongside Heinkel He 5s until 1940. Three Ospreys were also delivered to Portugal and Spain, although it is uncertain whether the Spanish aircraft was among the 57 machines sent by Britain to the Republican Air Force during the Civil War.

Hawker OspreyA three-view drawing (1288 x 1372)

  Take-off weight2245 kg4949 lb
  Empty weight1545 kg3406 lb
  Wingspan11.28 m37 ft 0 in
  Length8.94 m29 ft 4 in
  Height3.17 m10 ft 5 in
  Wing area31.5 m2339.06 sq ft
  Max. speed270 km/h168 mph
  Ceiling7165 m23500 ft

Hawker Osprey

Malcolm Collis, e-mail, 09.06.2020 16:09

I'm the archivist for the HMS Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association www.hmsajax.org
I am trying to find out some history about HMS Ajax's first commission Hawker Osprey (replaced by the Seafox by 1938) which is not mentioned in any official papers as far as I can ascertain.
The aircraft for which I have photographs is D81 3638 - would you be able to identify the Mk and give me some specification if different to the Mk111 above that I can use on my website (under reconstruction)?


Luke Davis, e-mail, 11.11.2013 14:20

Hello as above comment could you provide a PDF copy of your drawing please as I wish to make a 1 /32 model of it.



Johan Runfeldt, 25.03.2010 09:42

The Gotland made her maiden voyage in 1934, and served as a seaplane carrier until 1943, then being converted into a more normal light cruiser. The Swedish Ospreys were all of the floatplane version and the only type (so far) to operate from a Swedish aircraft carrier.(I don't recognise destroyers with a helipad as aircraft carriers)


Christian HAGENAERS, e-mail, 30.07.2009 19:55

Hello to you makers of this interesting page about the Hawker Osprey. As I plan to built models I wonder if you could provide drawings and other nice pictures.
Thanks a lot in advance.
P.S. I am prepared to pay for any expenses.
My adress: Ch. Hagenaers FRUITHOFLAAN 72 /5 BE 2600 BERCHEM (Antwerp)


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