Hawker Hunter F.4

j-NHuawker Hunter F.4 ID-139/7J-N

Hawker Hunter F.4

Single engine single seat fighter interceptorI

  In the early fifties Belgium’s air defence consisted of several squadrons of Gloster Meteor F.8s. With the lessons learned from the Korean War (ending in 1953) in which swept wing fighters such as the F-84 Sabre and Mig-15 played a major role, it was obvious that the days of the Meteor F8 as a fighter-interceptor were numbered. To find a worthy successor several new designs were tested including the Canadair Sabre, Dassault Mystère IVA and the Hawker Hunter F.1. The evaluation of the Hunter by a team consisting of Major Remi Van Lierde and Captain Yves Bodart and Marcel Mullenders was very successful and even allowed Major Van Lierde to become the first Belgian to pass the sound barrier on November 19th 1953.
In the past the Belgian and Dutch governments and their local aviation industries had co-operated for the construction under licence of the Meteor. As the Dutch were also looking for a Meteor replacement, it became obvious that the new fighter would require the agreement of both parties.
Finally the Hawker Hunter emerged as the winner of the evaluation process. Both Avions Fairey and Sabca were to co-operate with Fokker from the Netherlands to build the Hunters. The Rolls-Royce Avon engines were to be built exclusively by the Fabrique Nationale (FN) at Herstal in Belgium.

In 1954 an initial national Belgian contract was placed for 48 Hunter F.4s (and 144 Hunter F.6 fighters).

In the mean time the US financed European Off Shore Programme (OSP) had to revise its planned attributions as one country refused the delivery of Hawker Hunters (Germany?). These contracted aircraft were redistributed between Belgium and the Netherlands. Of these Belgium received 64 Hunters - Hawker Aircraft Ltd in the UK, would deliver the first aircraft (serial number ID-1) straight from their lines while another six (ID-2 to ID-7) were to be produced as assembly kits. The remaining 57 aircraft were constructed by Fairey and Sabca (ID-8 – ID-64). This whole production was financed by the United States.

The initial national contract for 48 Hunters F.4’s was also honoured, these Fokker build aircraft becoming ID-101 till ID-148 with the Air Force. (Fokker constructed 12 aircraft and delivered 52 assembly kits to Fairey and Gosselies).

During its short career with the Belgian Air Force a number of the Hunter F.4s received a limited upgrade to Hunter F.6-standards, introducing amongst others the saw-tooth leading edge wings, which made the aircraft easier to control at high-speed turns and preventing a known pitch up problem. However, upgraded Hunter F.4’s never received the more powerful engine of the F.6 and thus kept their F.4 designation.

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The Hunter entered service in June 1956 when the first F.4s arrived at N° 7 Squadron of Chièvres based N° 7 Wing (Squadron code '7J') to be followed soon by No 8 Squadron (code 'OV') and 9 Squadron (code 'S2'). By the end of 1956, 44 Hunters were operational with the 7th Wing. Already in December 1957 the first advanced Hunter F.6s started arriving at Chièvres.

Also in 1957 the Hunter F.4 was delivered to N° 349 and 350 Squadrons of N° 1 Fighter Wing at Beauvechain. The career of the Hunter at No 1 Wing already came to an end in 1958, when it was decided to re-equip the 1st Wing with the all-weather Avro Canada CF.100 Canuck 5. On April 30th, 1958 a flypast of 12 aircraft marked the official end of Hunter era with the 1st Fighter Wing; all remaining aircraft were flown into storage at Koksijde during the month of May 1958.

The third major unit to receive the new fighter was No 9 Fighter Wing at Bierset receiving its first Hunter F.4 (all former 7 Wing aircraft) equipment during August 1957. The fighters were operated by N°22 Squadron (code 'IS') and N°26 Squadron (code 'JE'). The pilots barely were used to the new aircraft when their replacement the Hunter F.6 started to arrive in September 1957.

Practically all of the surviving Hunter F.4s were sold as scrap after a very short service life while the remainder was used during fire-fighting exercises at various bases and only a handful were kept for preservation. (D. Brackx)

 

Picture

Serial Builder Build  N° Date In Date Out History
US financed European Off Shore Programme (OSP)
ID-1 Hawker - Jun 1956 Dec 1959 ID-1, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, scrapped.
ID-2 Fairey - Jun 1956 Dec 1959 ID-2, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, scrapped
ID-3 Fairey - Jul 1956 May 1957 ID-3, crashed at Ave-et-Auffe on 10 May 1057 after autopilot problems.
ID-4 Fairey - Jun 1956 Oct 1957 ID-4, 7J-V, crashed at Roosbeek on 29 Oct 1957 after a complete hydraulic failure.
ID-5 Fairey - Jun 1956 Dec 1959 ID-5, 7J-K,  planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, scrapped, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde,
ID-6 Sabca - Jun 1956 Dec 1959 ID-6, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, scrapped
ID-7 Fairey - Jun 1956 Jul 1958 ID-7/7J-A, Cat. 3 acident at Chièvres, not repaires and used for spare parts by Sabca
ID-8 Fairey AF1 Aug 1956 Dec 1959 ID-8, 7J-J, stored Wevelgem, scrapped
ID-9 Fairey AF2 Aug 1956 Jul 1958 ID-9/OV-M, used as spare parts resource by Sabca.
ID-10 Sabca AF3 Jul 1956 Jul 1958 ID-10/7J-W, /JE-D, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, spare parts resource Sabca, rear fuselage at fire brigade of Chièvres airbase.
ID-11 Fairey AF4 Sep 1956 Jul 1957 ID-11, written off in fir at Beauvechain on 4 Jul 1957, at Kortemark scrapyard in 1961, scrapped.
- ID-12 Sabca AF5 Aug 1956 Jan 1960 ID-12,  planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde  scrapped
ID-13 Fairey AF6 Jul 1956 Jan 1960 ID-13/7J-R, /IS-L, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, used for training by fire-fighting department of Koksijde airbase
- ID-14 Sabca AF7 Sep 1956 Jan 1960 ID-14, used for training by fire-fighting department of Kleine Brogel airbase
ID-15 Fairey AF8 Jul 1956 Aug 1956 ID-15/7J-P, crashed at Ettelgem on 29 Aug 1956 due to flame out, parts to Technical School Saffraanberg.
ID-16 Fairey AF9 Jul 1956 Jan 1960 ID-16, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde,  gate guardian at Bierset as "ID-33" and "IF-83/JE-P", stored Koksijde en Weelde, to Beauvechain airbase.
ID-17 Sabca AF10 Jul 1956 Jul 1958 ID-17, used as spare parts resource a by Sabca.
ID-18 Fairey AF11 Jul 1956 Jan 1960 ID-18, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Beauvechain airbase
ID-19 Sabca AF12 Jul 1956 Feb 1960 ID-19/7J-O, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, decoy "KB-5" at Kleine Brogel airbase, used for training by fire-fighting department of Kleine Brogel airbase
ID-20 Fairey AF13 Aug 1956 Jan 1958 ID-20, not repaired after engine fire at Beauvechain on 21 Aug 1957, used as spare parts resource by Sabca
ID-21 Fairey AF14 Jul 1956 Sep 1957 ID-21, written off in emergency landing at Beauvechain on 11 Sep 1957, used as spare parts resource by Sabca.
- ID-22 Sabca AF15 Aug 1956 Jan 1958 ID-22, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, used as spare parts resource a by Sabca.
ID-23 Fairey AF16 Aug 1956 Jan 1958 ID-23/7J-H, used as spare parts resource a by Sabca.
ID-24 Sabca AF17 Aug 1956 Feb 1960 ID-24/..-H, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Beauvechain airbase.
ID-25 Fairey AF18 Aug 1956 Feb 1960 ID-25, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, used for training by fire-fighting department of Chièvres airbase.
ID-26 Fairey AF19 Aug 1956 Feb 1960 ID-26/OV-K, gate guardian at Wevelgem as ID-26/OV-K, later at Zellik, stored at Koksijde, Weelde and Beauvechain.
ID-27 Sabca AF20 Sep 1956 Feb 1960 ID-27/OV-P, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Chièvres airbase.
ID-28 Fairey AF21 Sep 1956 Jan 1958 ID-28/(7J)-H, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, used as spare parts resource by Sabca.
- ID-29 Sabca AF22 Nov 1956 Feb 1960 ID-29, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Beauvechain airbase.
ID-30 Fairey AF23 Sep 1956 Sep 1961 ID-30, 7W, 350 Sq/1W, stored Koksijde, planned conversion to T.7 twin-seat trainer version cancelled, stored Wevelgem, used for firefighting practice at Bierset airbase.
- ID-31 Fairey AF24 Sep 1956 Feb 1961 ID-31/S2-B, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, used for recruutment purposes, noted on dump at Evere, scrapped.
- ID-32 Sabca AF25 Oct 1956 Oct 1961 ID-32, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Florennes airbase.
ID-33 Fairey AF26 Oct 1956 Oct 1961 ID-33/S2-O, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Melsbroek airbase.
- ID-34 Sabca AF27 Jan 1957 Apr 1957 ID-34/S2-M, crashed in the North Sea off De Panne on 4 Apr 1957.
- ID-35 Fairey AF28 Oct 1956 Feb 1958 ID-35, crashed at Warnant-Oreye on 20 Feb 1958, some part used as spares by Sabca
- ID-36 Fairey AF29 Nov 1956 Jul 1961 ID-36/7J-C, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Bierset airbase.
ID-37 Sabca AF30 Nov 1956 Aug 1961 ID-37, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Bierset airbase.
ID-38 Fairey AF31 Dec 1956 Jun 1961 ID-38/IS-F, used as spare parts resource by Sabca.
ID-39 Sabca AF32 Nov 1956 Noc 1961 ID-39/7J-G, /JE-L, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Koksijde airbase.
- ID-40 Fairey AF33 Oct 1956 Jul 1961 ID-40, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Beauvechain airbase.
ID-41 Fairey AF34 Jan 1957 Oct 1961 ID-41, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Chièvres airbase.
ID-42 Sabca AF35 Jan 1957 Sep 1961 ID-42, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Beauvechain airbase.
ID-43 Fairey  AF36 Dec 1956 Oct 1961 ID-43, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Florennes airbase
ID-44 Sabca AF37 Jan 1957 Jan 1962 ID-44, stored at Wevelgem, recruiting exhibit, Royal Army Museum Brussels, Musée de l'Air Paris (F.), Savigny-les-Beaune (F.)
ID-45 Fairey AF-38 Dec 1956 Oxt 1961 ID-45/7J-T, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, used for training by fire-fighting department of Florennes airbase
ID-46 Fairey AF39 Dec 1956 1958 ID-46, 7J-F, Accident Cat.4 on 13 Jun 1957, Technical School Saffraanberg as instructional airframe, Royal Army Museum Brussels, "IF-70/Red Devils"
ID-47 Sabca AF40 Jan 1957 Jul 1961 ID-47/IS-M, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, scrapped.
- ID-48 Fairey AF41 Dec 1956 Apr 1957 ID-48, w/o in major fire due to explosion of starter at Chièvres on 5 Mar 1957, instructional airframe at the Technical School of Saffraanberg, scrapped.
ID-49 Sabca AF42 Jan 1957  Jun 1961 ID-49, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, scrapped.
- ID-50 FAirey AF43 Dec 1956 Apr 1959 ID-50,  stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrapped.
ID-51 Fairey  AF44 Jan 1957 Oct 1961 ID-51/IS-O,  stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, scrapped.
- ID-52 Sabca AF45 Jan 1957 Jul 1961 ID-52/JE-M, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, wings to Feldham Trading Estate (U.K.).
ID-53 Fairey AF46 Jan 1957 Aug 1961 ID-53/7J-E, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, parts to Feldham Trading Estate (U.K.).
ID-54 Sabca  AF47 Feb 1957 Oct 1961 ID-54, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, wings to Feldham Trading Estate (U.K.), Staravia at Ascot (U.K.)
ID-55 Fairey  AF48 Jan 1957 Aug 1961 ID-55/7J-A, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, scrapped
ID-56 Sabca AF49 Mar 1957 Dec 1957 ID-56, crashed on approach to Beauvechain on 20 Dec 1957,  used as spare parts resource a by Sabca.
ID-57 Sabca AF50 Feb 1957 Nov 1961 ID-57/-G, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, scrapped
ID-58 Fairey AF51 Mar 1957 Aug 1957 ID-58, Written off in belly landing at Beauvechain on 30 Aug 1957, displayed at Expo 58 at the Heyzel, scrapped.
- ID-59 Sabca AF52 Feb 1957 Sep 1957 ID-59, crashed at Oneux/Borlon on 16 Sep 1957
ID-60 Fairey AF53 Mar 1957 Sep 1961 ID-60, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, srapped
ID-61 Fairey AF54 Mar 1957 1959 ID-61, 7W, 350 Sq/1W, Personal aircraft of 350 CO Tony de Maere, stored Wevelgem, stored Koksijde, children garden Willebroek, scrapped
ID-62 Sabca AF55 Feb 1957 Jan 1962 ID-62/(7J)-C,  stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, parts to Feldham Trading Estate (U.K.).
ID-63 Fairey AF56 Feb 1957 Jul 1957 ID-63, written off in taxi accident at Beauvechain on 25 Jul 1957, spare parts resource.
ID-64  Fairey AF57 Mar 1957 Aug 1961 ID-64, stored at Wevelgem, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, parts to Feldham Trading Estate (U.K.).
National contract
ID-101 Fokker 8650 Oct 1956 Mar 1960 ID-101/7J-Z, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped
- ID-102 Fokker 8651 Oct 1956 Sep 1958 ID-102/7J-S, /7J-N, written off in heavy landing at Chièvres on 19 Sep 1958, sold as scrap to Mr. Carlier of Ath, scrapped
ID-103 Fokker 8654 Nov 1956 Mar 1959  ID-103/7J-P, accident in 1958, scrapped.
ID-104 Fokker 8655 Nov 1956 Jun 1960 ID-104/7J-T,  upgraded to partial F.6 standards, , stored at Koksijde, scrapyard at Kortemark.
ID-105 Sabca AF58/8656 Mar 1957 Jan 1959 ID-105/OV-H, /7J-J1, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, crashed on landing at Chièvres on 20 Jan 1959, spare parts resource at Wevelgem.
ID-106 Fairey AF59/8657 Feb 1957 1959 ID-106/OV-F, stored at Wevelgem, used for training by fire-fighting department of Brustem airbase.
ID-107 Sabca AF60/8658 Apr 1957 Jun 1960 ID-107/7J-D, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard at Kortemark.
ID-108 Fairey AF61/8659 Jan 1957 Dec 1957 ID-108/OV-K, crashed at Chièvres/Vaudignies on 25 Sep 1957  due to engine problems, spare parts resource at Sabca, Gun pack to Technical School Saffraanberg
ID-109 Fokker 8662 Apr 1957 Mar 1960 ID-109/7J-R, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, written off in Cat.4 accident, scrapped
- ID-110 Fokker 8663 Jan 1957 Jun 1960 ID-110, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard at Kortemark.
- ID-111 Sabca AF62/8664 Apr 1957 Jun 1960 ID-111,  upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped
ID-112 Fairey AF63/8665 Mar 1957 Jul 1960 ID-112/OV-P, stored at Koksijde, sold as scrap.
- ID-113 Sabca AF64/8666 May 1957 Jul 1960 ID-113/OV-D, /7J-B, stored at Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, parts to Feldham Trading Estate (U.K.).
ID-114 Fairey AF65/8667 Mar 1957 Mar 1960 ID-114/7J-R, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
- ID-115 Fokker 8670 Jan 1957 1960 ID-115/7J-G, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard a Snaaskerke.
- ID-116 Fokker 8671 Jan 1957 May 1960 ID-116, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
ID-117 Sabca AF66/8672 Apr 1957 Mar 1960 ID-117/7J-J, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
- ID-118 Fairey AF67/8673 1957 Aug 1957 ID-118/7J-M, crashed at Petit-Roeulx on 7 Aug 1957.
ID-119 Sabca AF68/8674 May 1957 Aug 1961 ID-119/7J-C,  upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard a Snaaskerke.
ID-120 Fairey AF69/8675 Apr 1957 Nov 1958 ID-120/7J-V, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, crashed at Varendonk due to engine failure on 27 Nov 1958.
ID-121 Fokker 8676 Mar 1957 Jun 1961 ID-121/7J-A, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard a Snaaskerke.
ID-122 Fokker 8677 Mar 1957 Oct 1961 ID-122/7J-N, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard a Snaaskerke.
ID-123 Sabca AF70/8678 May 1957 Aug 1960 ID-123/7J-P, , upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, gate guardian at Koksijde airbase.
ID-124 Fairey AF71/8679 May 1957  Apr 1960 ID-124/OV-Q, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
- ID-125 Sabca AF72/8680 Jun 1957 Apr 1960 ID-125, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
ID-126  Fairey AF73/8683 May 1957 Apr 1960 ID-126/7J-H, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
ID-127 Fokker 8686 Feb 1957 Jun 1961 ID-127/7J-K, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, scrap yard Snaaskerke, scrapped
ID-128 Fokker 8687 Mar 1957  Aug 1961 ID-128/7J-E, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard a Snaaskerke.
- ID-129 Sabca AF74/8688 May 1957 Apr 1960 ID-129, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped
ID-130 Fairey AF75/8689 May 1957 May 1960 ID-130/OV-C, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped
ID-131 Sabca AF76/8690 Jun 1957 Mar 1960 ID-131/7J-A, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
ID-132 Fairey AF77/8691 May 1957 Jun 1960  ID-132/7J-S, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
- ID-133 Sabca AF78/8695 Jun 1957 Mar 1960 ID-133/OV-S, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
- ID-134 Fairey AF79/8696 May 1957 Jun 1960 ID-134/OV-J, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
ID-135 Sabca AF80/8697 Jun 1957 Aug 1959 ID-135/7J-B, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, crashed at Chatelet/Bouffioulx after in flight engine fire on 4 Aug 1959.
ID-136 Fairey AF81/8698 Jun 1957 Mar 1960 ID-136/7J-U,  upgraded to partial F.6 standards,Not repaired after an accident at Sylt (D.) on 31 Aug 1959.
- ID-137 Sabca AF82/8703 Jun 1957 Jun 1960 ID-137/7J-D,  upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored Koksijde, sold as scrap.
ID-138 Fairey AF83/8704 Jun 1957 Sep 1957 ID-138/OV-X crashed at Chièvres due to engine failure on take off on 2 Sep 1957.
ID-139 Sabca AF84/8705 Jun 1957 Jun 1960 ID-139/7J-N, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
- ID-140 Fairey AF85/8706 Jun 1957 Jun 1960 ID-140, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, stored at Koksijde, scrapyard a Snaaskerke.
ID-141 Sabca AF86/8710 Oct 1957 Mar 1960 ID-141/7J-A1, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
ID-142 Fairey AF87/8711 Jul 1957 Jun 1960 ID-142/7J-L, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
ID-143 Sabca AF88/8712 AUg 1957 May 1960 ID-143/7J-Y, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
ID-144 Fairey AF89/8713 Aug 1957 Jun 1960 ID-144/7J-M, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
- ID-145 Sabca AF90/8718 Sep 1957 May 1960 ID-145/7J-W, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
ID-146 Fairey AF91/8719 Aug 1957 Apr 1958 ID-146/OV-Z, crashed at Chièvres on 14 Apr 1958, spare parts resource at Sabca.
ID-147 Sabca AF92/8720 Sep 1957 May 1960 ID-147/OV-Y, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
ID-148 Fairey AF93/8721 Oct 1957 May 1960 ID-148, upgraded to partial F.6 standards, scrapped.
Yvan Deprins descends from his 350 Sq. Hawker Hunter F.4 fighter in late spring of 1957.

 

 

Supplementary detailed information at

 

 

 

Last updated 31/08/14 11:10   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com