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Hawker Nimrod

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The Nimrod was a bi-plane fighter that would serve with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during the 1930s. Although retired from front line FAA service at the outbreak of World War 2 some Danish examples known as Nimrodderne would be in service when Germany invaded the country in 1940. In total just under 100 Hawker Nimrod aircraft would be produced.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
August 1930
Entered service
Total built

Front view
Nimrod front view photo
Side view
Nimrod side view photo
Rear view
Nimrod rear view photo

The Fairey Flycatcher entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1924 and was the only fighter in service with the FAA at that time. With a top speed of 133 mph at sea level the type's performance suffered at higher altitudes. With the need for a better airplane the Air Ministry, during 1926, issued a Specification for a new fighter.

Hawker Engineering would submit its design, known as the Hoopoe, which would be a bi-plane powered by a radial engine, however this was rejected. Hawker would submit another design which would unofficially be called the Norn before being named the Nimrod, and this had its genesis in another Hawker bi-plane the Fury which would be used by the Royal Air Force.

The prototype would make its maiden flight during August 1930 this was followed 14 months later when the first production Nimrod Mk I flew on the 14th October 1931. This was powered by the 477-hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIS and some were built as float planes which could be launched from capital ships by catapult. With the type now in production 1932 and 1933 would see the Nimrod start to replace the Flycatchers currently in use with the Fleet Air Arm.

During September 1933 Mk II production would start and these would by powered by a 608-hp Kestrel engine enabling a top speed of 193 mph, feature longer tail surfaces and arrester gear. Armament would consist of a pair of 0.303-in machine-guns and if required four 20lb bombs. Deliveries of these new Nimrods to the FAA started 6 months later in March 1934. Alongside the new Mk IIs a substantial number of Mk Is would be converted to Mk II configuration.

By the time the Second World War started the type had been removed from front line service and was serving as a training aircraft and performing communication duties. It would perform these until July 1941. In total 87 Nimrods were built for Fleet Air Arm service.

Hawker had intended to sell the Nimrod aboard but sold only 4 examples. Japan and Portugal acquired one each whilst two went to Denmark, where they would be renamed Nimrodderne. It had been planned for 10 more aircraft to be produced under license by the Royal Danish Naval Dockyard but its unknown if these were ever built. The Nimroddernes would be in service when Germany invaded Denmark on the 9th April 1940, but due to the speed of the German advance the aircraft would not see action.


Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.

Max Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Nimrod Mk I
Nimrod Mk II 193 mph 1h 40mins 28,000 ft two 0.303-in machine-guns
four 20lb bombs


On Display

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Variant Location
Nimrod Mk I Imperial War Museum, Duxford
Nimrod Mk II

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