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Hawker-Siddeley

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Hawker-Siddeley was a UK aircraft manufacturing company. The company went through a long evolution before emerging as one of only two major manufacturers in the 1960s, and eventually being merged into British Aerospace (BAe) in the 1977.

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Hawker Engineering

Hawker-Siddeley had its roots in the aftermath of the First World War following restructuring/bankruptcy of the Sopwith Aviation Company. The Sopwith Aviation Company test pilot Harry Hawker and three others (including Thomas Sopwith), bought the assets of the Sopwith Aviation Company and formed H.G. Hawker Engineering late in 1920.

Between the wars Hawker produced a successful line of bombers and fighters for the Royal Air Force. These included the Hawker Hind and the Hawker Hart, which became the most produced UK airplane in the years before the Second World War.

Hawker Aviation

Renamed in 1933 to Hawker Aviation, the company took advantage of the Great Depression and the company's strong financial position to purchase a series of UK aviation companies including Gloster Aircraft, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, Armstrong Siddeley Motors, and A.V. Roe. This group of companies was renamed Hawker-Siddeley in 1935.

This was the form of the company during the Second World War, when it produced many aircraft in many designs including the famous Hawker Hurricane fighter plane, which along with the Supermarine Spitfire was instrumental in winning the Battle of Britain. (Hawker Hurricanes in service outnumbered all other British fighters combined, shooting down 55 percent of all enemy aircraft destroyed).

Almost every Hawker-Siddeley design of the Second World War was a success (even if not initially), mainly attributable to the design genius of Sidney Camm (later Sir Sidney).

Designs included:

Non-Camm designs in the Hawker-Siddeley stable included the Gloster Meteor, the first Allied jet fighter.

After the war Hawker-Siddeley produced one of the outstanding post war jet aircraft the Hawker Hunter, which set a world speed record of 728mph in 1953.

Hawker-Siddeley Group

In the late 1950s the government decided that with the decreasing number of aircraft contracts being offered, it was better to merge the existing companies, of which there were about 15 surviving at this point, into several much larger firms. Out of this decision came the "order" that all future contracts being offered had to include agreements to merge companies.

Hawker and de Havilland merged in 1959, followed by Blackburn Aircraft, Avro (along with Avro Canada) and Whitworth (already part of Hawker), Folland and Gloster over the next year, forming the Hawker-Siddeley Group. Meanwhile a similar set of mergers led to the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), Westland Helicopters, and Rolls-Royce as the only engine manufacturer.

In this period the company developed the first operational, and by far the most successful VTOL jet aircraft, the Hawker Harrier. This aircraft remained in production into the 1990s and service beyond the millennium.

Amongst other aircraft built by the Hawker-Siddeley Group were:

Hawker-Siddeley Canada Inc, was a heavy rail manufacturer based in Mississauga and plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The rights to the rail operations were sold to Bombardier Transportation. Hawker-Siddeley Canada also manufactured aircraft engines under Avro Canada's Orenda Engines.

End of Hawker

On April 29, 1977, as a result of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act, the Hawker-Siddeley Group was nationalised and merged with the BAC and Scottish Aviation to form BAe.

The non-UK and non-aviation parts of the company were later spun-off to form separate enterprise including:

See also

External link

http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Aerospace/Hawker/Aero51a.htm


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