Already by the end of WW2, Hawker began working on their first jet-propelled aircraft as the new jet propulsion technology became available. As a basis for their new aircraft, they took the Hawker Fury and began adapting it to house a turbojet engine. The project received the designation P.1035..
As work went on, the attention the project garnered initially from the Air Ministry and the Admiralty was rather low and eventually dropped completely, forcing Hawker to continue development of the aircraft under a private venture. During the development process, the initial design of the aircraft underwent significant changes and the resulting version was designated as P.1040.
However, as Hawker’s aircraft offered good range, the Navy ordered three prototypes to be built in May 1946 and subsequently put through evaluation. Testing and tweaking of the design continued throughout the late 1940s until the first production orders for the aircraft, dubbed Sea Hawk, were received in November 1949.
The first Sea Hawks entered service with the FAA in 1953, with the remaining over 500 machines entering service by the mid 1950s. The Sea Hawk’s service life is primarily marked by their extensive use during the Suez Crisis in the late 1950s, where they successfully proved themselves.
As one of the last modifications of the type, the Sea Hawk FGA.6 was developed to incorporate changes from the previous FB.3 and FGA.4 ground attack variants and combine them with the new Rolls-Royce Nene Mk.103 engine which provided a greater power output.
In the early 1960s the British Navy almost completely abandoned the use of Sea Hawk and a handful vehicles being used in a limited number of secondary roles until the end of the decade. However, the aircraft was still in service by some countries like West Germany, the Netherlands and India. In fact, India continued to operate Sea Hawks well into the 1980s!