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Hawker Sea Hawk F.B.6

Manufacturer: Hawker (Armstrong Whitworth)
Purpose: Shipborne Strike Fighter
Crew 1 PILOT
Max Speed (sea level): 450 knots
Cruising speed: Approx 300 knots
Service ceiling: 44,000ft
All-up weight: 13,600 lb (6,170 Kg)
Weapons: Four 20mm Aden cannons in nose, or 10 x 3 rocket projectiles.2 x 500 lb bombs - 2 x Drop tanks. or 4 x 500 lb bombs, or 2 x 1000 lb bombs
Range: 600 nautical miles


The first variant of the Sea Hawk (F 1) designated as the Hawker P1040 frst flew on the 3rd of September 1948. The FGA 6's maiden flight was in 1955 and it entered service in June of that same year. Deck landing trials were carried out on HMS Eagle in 1952 a after which it was declared to have "excellent" deck landing characteristics. After the first 35 airframes had been built by Hawker, production was transferred to Armstrong Whitworth. A number of variants were produced culminating in the final model the FG6A. This final variant of the Sea Hawk was very highly regarded by the pilots who flew it.

Sea Hawks equipped a number of squadrons, 800 (1955-59), 801 (1957-60), 803 (1957-58), 804 (19556-59), 806 (1956), 896 (1956-57), 897 (1956-57), 898 (1957-59) plus a number of second line units.

The type was phased out of service with British forces in 1966. The Sea Hawk was a versatile aeroplane and was an early example of a multi-role Fighter before such a term was invented. It's flexibility was recognised by the Indian Navy who continued to operate the type until it was fnally replaced by the Sea Harrier fghter in 1984.



In its first variant the Sea Hawk was designed and operated in its primary role as a fighter providing airborne cover for the carrier and fleet. It had secondary roles including reconnaissance, ground attack and forward air control to assist naval gunfire. Later variants enhanced the aircraft to enable the ground attack and bomb carrying capability to be used as a primary role. Strengthened wings allowed the FB 3 version to carry external stores like iron bombs and rocket projectiles. Sea Hawk FB 3s saw action during the Suez crisis in 1956 where they were used to attack ground targets using their cannons to great effect.

Seahawk June 2003
This aircraft has been the "gate guardian" for many years; to many people it represented the museum. During that time a number of comments have been made about the colour and the Bournemouth Flying Club" stickers on the fuselage. Some while ago this airframe was swapped with the Westland Whirlwind HAR 10 XP398 (The yellow one!).
XE489 was moved to the main area and the wings folded (manually). In this new light some of the previous paint schemes could be seen. It was even possible to discern the lines of the original FAA scheme. It also emerged that the fuselage had a very clear registration on it, WM983. Shortly after being moved it was decided to repaint this in its original colour scheme. To produce the best finish it was also decided to completely strip off the old paint.

As can be seen from the above picture this is progressing at a steady rate. As more of the underlying structure emerges it is clear just how good the condition of this airframe is.

Full History of this Airframe

Hawker Sea Hawk FGA6 XE364 (really XE489) also G-JETH

XE489 was built by Armstrong Whitworth at Coventry and was taken on charge at Abbotsinch on the 10th of January 1956.

It was touring the Med with an unknown unit from October and was at Hal Far (Malta) from January 1957 until July 1958.

By January 1959 it was at Lossiemouth and returned to the Med on the 22nd January 1959. XE489 returned from the Med on the 12th of March 1959 and was at Brawdy in July 1959. In January 1961 she returned to Abbotsinch. From there she then went to Fleetlands in July 1960 and back to Abbotsinch by January 1961. It then joined the fleet requirements unit at Hurn on the 17th of June 1961 and received the code "026" by April 1963. The fleet requrements unit used this type for gun calibration and target work. In this guise it wore a distinctive black colour scheme and carried a Leigh light in a specially modified port drop tank. XE489 was away at Sydenham on overhaul from the 3rd of September 1963 until the 11th of October 1963.

On retirement at Hurn it was aquired by the British Historic Aircraft Museum and flown into Southend on the 20th of May 1967, its last flight.

By this time the Sea Hawk had accumulated a total of 1564 flying hours. After a period of external storage, the British Aircraft Historic Museum painted it up as XE364 (485/J) to represent an aircraft from HMS Eagle with No. 899 Squadron. This unit saw action in the Suez conflict of 1956.

The aircraft was bought by Michael Carlton in 1983 and placed on the British Register as G-JETH, it was delivered by road, back to Hurn. The intention was to carefully restore the airframe to flying condition. Once restored the plan was for it to become a part of the Hunter One collection and to join the display circuit in 1985. The tragic death of Michael Carlton brought these ambitions to an end. The whole collection, Sea Hawk XE489, G-JETH, Hunter MK 51 G-HUNT, Hunter G-BOOM, Jet Provost G-PROV, Jet Provost G-JETP, Sea Hawk G-SEAH, Gloster Meteor G-JETM and Meteor NF 11 G-LOSM was offered for sale by auction at Hurn Airport by Christies on the 1st of October 1987.

Hawker Sea Hawk XE364 (XE489), G-JETH, was purchased by Peter Vallance and transported by road to its new resting place at Vallance By-ways on the 10th of October 1987.

It was to be the first in the line of a unique and unusual collection of classic aircraft.


The Sea Hawk repaint has finally started. Despite the poor weather good progress has been made. It is about 90% complete, just needs the top flatting back and a final top coat applied. If the weather allows, this should be completed in the next few days. Once that's done the markings can be applied.

Update 1st August 2009
Sea Hawk just prior to the repaint   Painted awaiting markings
Now painted and the markings applied


As can be seen the painting is now complete and the markings are done. She carries the serial number of XE364.