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Hawker Nimrod

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The Nimrod was a biplane fighter that served with the Fleet Air Arm for ten years. By the outbreak of the Second World War it had been retired from frontline service with the Fleet Air Arm. A number of Danish examples, known as Nimrodderne, were in service when Germany invaded the country in 1940. In total just over 100 Hawker Nimrod aircraft would be produced.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
20th September 1931
Entered service
29th January 1932
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 Fleet Air Arm at that time. At sea level the aircraft's top speed was 133 mph, but its performance suffered at higher altitudes. With the need for a better aircraft, during September 1926 the Air Ministry issued Specification N.21/26 for a new fighter. However, no suitable replacement was found.

Hawker were working on their own aircraft, and in September 1930 it was decided to order this under Specification 16/30. Named the Nimrod, the prototype would make its maiden flight on the 20th September 1931 and the first production Nimrod Mk I flew on the 31st October 1931.

Powered by a 480-hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIS engine, the Nimrod Mk Is top speed was 195 mph, range 367 miles with a service ceiling of 26,900 ft. Armament was two 0.303-in machine-guns and 80lb bombs. The Nimrod entered service on the 29th January 1932 with No. 408 (Fleet Fighter) Flight as they began to replace their Flycatcher Mk Is. Some Nimrods Mk Is were built as floatplanes which could be launched from capital ships by catapult.

The Nimrod Mk II was the only other variant built in the UK and September 1933 saw production begin. Powered by a 608-hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel VFP engine, it had a top speed of 183 mph, range of 367 miles and a service ceiling of 28,800 ft. Armament consisted of two 0.303-in machine-guns and 80lb bombs. Alongside the new Nimrod Mk Ii a number of Nimrod Mk Is would be converted to Nimrod Mk II configuration.

By the time the Second World War (1939 - 1945) started the type had been removed from frontline service and was serving as a training aircraft and performing communication duties.

Hawker had intended to sell the Nimrod abroad but sold only 4 examples. Japan and Portugal acquired one each whilst two went to Denmark, where they would be renamed Nimrodderne, with 10 more aircraft produced under license by the Royal Danish Naval Dockyard. 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.

In total 106 aircraft were built.

Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Nimrod Mk I 195 mph 367 miles 26,900 ft two 0.303-in machine-guns
80lb bombs
Nimrod Mk II 193 mph 367 miles 28,800 ft two 0.303-in machine-guns
80lb bombs
Nimrodderne Ten built in Denmark under licence.


Click on a photo to view a larger version.
Nimrod Mk I Nimrod Mk II

See This Aircraft

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

Nimrod Mk I Imperial War Museum, Duxford

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