Bringing Vintage Aircraft to Life since 2010

Hawker Sea Fury

Technical Details : Photos : See This Aircraft
Home  >  Aircraft Database  >  British Aircraft  >  Hawker Sea Fury

The Sea Fury would be the Fleet Air Arm's last piston-engined fighter and would be one of the fastest piston-engined aircraft produced. Entering service two years after the end of the Second World War, the Hawker Sea Fury would see action during the Korean War and the type was credited with shooting down a MiG-15 jet fighter.

Quick Facts
Hawker Sea Fury side profile image
First flight
21st February 1945
Entered service
August 1947
Total built

Front view
Sea Fury front view photo
Side view
Sea Fury side view photo
Rear view
Sea Fury rear view photo

The Sea Fury had its roots in the Hawker Tempest Mk III, which would become the Hawker Fury to meet Specification F.2/42, then to meet a revised Specification F.2/43. The Royal Navy were also interested in the aircraft and the design was modified to meet Royal Navy Specification N.7/43. Hawker would work on the Royal Air Force design, named the Fury, while Boulton Paul would work on the naval version, the Sea Fury.

Six prototypes had been ordered by the end of 1943, with one kept back to be used as a test airframe. Two would be powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine, another two powered by the Bristol Centaurus XXII engine and the final prototype would have the Bristol Centaurus XII engine. The 1st September 1944 saw the first of the prototypes fly, when the Bristol Centaurus XII engined version made its first flight. This was followed a couple of months later by one of the Rolls-Royce Griffon powered prototypes which flew on the 27th November 1944, with a Napier Sabre VII engine replacing the Rolls-Royce Griffon fitted to the aircraft later on.

During April 1944 production contracts were placed for 200 Hawker Furys for the Royal Air Force and 200 Hawker Sea Furys for the Fleet Air Arm, of which Boulton Paul would build 100. As the Second World War (1939 – 1945) ended the RAF cancelled their order, but development of the Sea Fury carried on. The first Sea Fury prototype flew on the 21st February 1945 powered by the Bristol Centaurus XII engine and featured an arrester hook. It wouldn't be for another eight months until the first fully navalised Hawker Sea Fury prototype flew when, powered by a Bristol Centaurus XV engine, it took to the skies on the 12th October 1945.

During January 1945 the Boulton Paul contract for 100 Sea Furys had been cancelled which left 100 on order. Half of these were completed as Sea Fury Mk Xs, with the first example flying on the 7th September 1946, and the third aircraft was sent to HMS Victorious (R38) during late 1946, early 1947 for trials. Powered by the Bristol Centaurus 18 engine the Sea Fury Mk X had a top speed of 465 mph, range of 710 miles with a service ceiling of 36,000 ft. Armament was four 20mm cannons. The Sea Fury entered service in August 1947, when No. 803 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Canadian Navy received the type to replace their Supermarine Seafires, with Nos. 778 and 787 Naval Air Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm receiving theirs the next month.

The Sea Fury FB.11 was the next variant and was the most produced. Powered by a 2,480-hp Bristol Centaurus 18 engine, it had a top speed of 460 mph, range of 700 miles and a service ceiling of 35,800 ft. Armament consisted of four 20mm cannons, 2,000lb bombs and rocket projectiles.

The Hawker Sea Fury, along with the Fairey Firefly, would provide the 'heavy attack' element for the Royal Navy and would be used during the Korean War (1950 – 1953) and a Sea Fury shot down a MiG-15 on the 9th August 1952. One of the few piston-engined aircraft to shoot down a jet aircraft.

By the time production ended 860 Hawker Sea Furys had been built and it was the last piston-engined fighter to serve with the Fleet Air Arm, staying in service until 1953. A number of aircraft were also converted to Sea Fury T.20 two-seater trainers during 1950.

Technical Details

Click on the aircraft image to view a larger version.

Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Sea Fury Mk X 465 mph 710 miles 36,000 ft four 20mm cannons
Sea Fury FB.11 460 mph 700 miles 35,800 ft four 20mm cannons
2,000lb bombs
rocket projectiles
Sea Fury FB.11 side profile image
Sea Fury T.20 Two-seat trainer version.
Sea Fury F.50 Designation given to fighter version exported to the Netherlands.
Sea Fury FB.51 Designation given to fighter-bomber version exported to the Netherlands.
Sea Fury FB.60 Designation given to fighter-bomber version exported to Pakistan.
Sea Fury T.61 Two-seater trainer version.


Click on a photo to view a larger version.
Sea Fury FB.11
Sea Fury T.20

See This Aircraft

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

Sea Fury FB.11 Fleet Air Arm Museum
Sea Fury FB.11 Imperial War Museum, Duxford
Sea Fury T.20

Back to British aircraft

New on Classic Warbirds

Quick Search

Spitfire Messerschmitt Fairey Bristol Avro North American Hawker Curtiss Grumman


Spotted an error? Or just have a comment or suggestion about Classic Warbirds? Let us know.

Click here to view our museum guide