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Hawker P1081 known as the 'Australian Fighter' was built as a private
venture by British company, Hawker Aircraft, as a result of Australian
interest in an operational fighter version of the P.1052 swept-wing research
aircraft, the P.1081 was a rebuild of the second P.1052.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. Consideration was given to building a second, fully
representative prototype with a four 20mm cannon armament and an afterburning
Tay engine but in November of that year, the Australian project was discontinued.
The aircraft was handed over 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.
Knowledge gained in the flights of the P1081 was used in the development of the Hawker P 1067. This aircraft was fitted with the Rolls Royce Avon engine, and as the 'Hunter' saw extensive service from the late 1950s with the Royal Air Force and many other air forces around the world.
Artist Paul Howard.
Available as an A3 size or 20x16 print.