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Hawker Nimrod

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The Nimrod was a biplane fighter that would serve with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during the 1930s. Although retired from front line Fleet Air Arm service at the outbreak of the Second World War 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
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. With a top speed of 133 mph at sea level the type's performance suffered at higher altitudes. With the need for a better aircraft 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 biplane 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 biplane 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 floatplanes 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 Nimrod Mk II production would start and these would by powered by a 608-hp Kestrel engine enabling a top speed of 194 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 Fleet Air Arm 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 (1939 - 1945) 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 92 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, 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.

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
four 20lb bombs
Nimrod Mk II 194 mph 305 miles 28,000 ft two 0.303-in machine-guns
four 20lb 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
Nimrod Mk II

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