21 May 2019

Hunter F.6: Winged Comfort

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The F.6 is devoid of the shortcomings of its predecessors, an improved fighter modification of the Hawker Hunter jet fighter, which joined the ranks of the RAF in the mid ‘50s. Fans of British aviation will not only rejoice the addition of this highly requested aircraft to War Thunder as part of update 1.89 “Imperial Navy”, but will also look forward to the unique missile armament that comes with it!

Briefly: A new modification of the Hunter jet fighter, featuring improved performance, handling and a deadly new type of air-to-air missile!

History

With the availability of the more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon 200 series engines in the early 1950s, the Hawker company began developing a new modification of their Hunter jet fighter, which would eventually result in the creation of the Hunter F.6 - one of the last dedicated fighter modifications of this aircraft.

The new Hunter featured, apart from a more powerful engine, a number of other tweaks and changes, most notably, a redesigned wing which contributed to the aircraft’s overall stability during transonic flight. The first prototype of the F.6 flew in January 1954, with serial production commencing in 1956. Overall, 383 aircraft of the type entered service with the RAF before being decommissioned in the early 1980s.

In the late 1970s, the Hunter F.6 was used as a testbed for a new type of air-to-air missile developed by Hawker Siddeley since the late ‘60s. The SRAAM, or Short Range Air-to-Air Missile, was a weapon system developed as an alternative to the American Sidewinder and the British Firestreak missiles.

As the name suggests, the SRAAM was designed for shorter range deployments during dogfights, in situations where pilots would find it difficult to achieve a reliable lock-on with existing missiles. As such, the SRAAM possessed extremely good agility and didn’t cost as much to produce, but was severely limited in range. Despite this however, the weapon didn’t see active use, but was instead further developed into a more advanced version which eventually did get adopted and is still in use today.

Hunter F.6, jet fighter, Britain, VI rank.

pros:

  • Highly agile short-range air-to-air missiles
  • Deadly 30mm ADEN cannons
  • Enhanced handling at high speeds
  • Bomb and rocket hardpoints

cons:

  • Subsonic
  • No afterburner
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In War Thunder, the Hunter F.6 will be a new fighter aircraft coming to the top rank of the British aviation tree with the release of the upcoming update 1.89. Compared to the early version of the Hunter already available in the game, the F.6 offers improved performance and handling at higher speeds, whilst also having the ability to carry a highly agile experimental British air-to-air missile!

Before we talk about the new air-to-air missiles however, it’s worth mentioning the Hunter F.6 itself. The most notable difference found on the Hunter F.6 compared to the F.1, although one not immediately spotted by pilots, is the presence of a more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon 203 turbojet engine. Although the Avon 203 engine doesn’t come with an afterburner installed, it does produce more thrust than its predecessor, thus allowing the aircraft to reach a higher top speed of 1,149 kph (Mach 0.95) at sea level.

Fun Fact: The SRAAM missile was so agile, that on one occasion during testing, it nearly collided with the Hunter that fired it right after launch.

Furthermore, the Hunter F.6 received a revised wing design, featuring a “dogtooth” type leading edge. As a direct result of this change, aspiring pilots of the Hunter F.6 will note improved overall handling, as well as enhanced flight stability at top speeds in particular. Additionally, the 30mm ADEN cannons were outfitted with barrel compensators, thus reducing the strong recoil exerted by the guns during firing. The resulting stability increase during firing will help pilots maintain better accuracy during dogfights and will make it easier to keep the target in sight.

Having discussed the performance differences of the Hunter F.6 compared to the earlier production model, let’s move on to the SRAAMs, by the way, there are four of them on the new aircraft. As previously mentioned, the SRAAM was an experimental British air-to-air missile. Unlike the longer-reaching Sidewinder and Firestreak, missile control was achieved by deflecting the jet which allows the SRAAM to reach very high levels of agility, this in turn allows better target tracking and makes it more difficult to escape its tracking zone. However, the advantage of the new missile is also its disadvantage: once the fuel reserve is depleted, the missile loses all control. Thus, pilots in War Thunder will find this missile to be extremely handy during dogfights as players won’t be required to keep their target steady in sight, but may easily deploy the missile during maneuvers with good chances of destroying their target.

We bet you can’t wait for the release of update 1.89 “Imperial Navy” to try out the Hunter F.6 for yourself, along with its deadly new air-to-air missile complement - it will be destined to become a must-have for all those jet-jockeys out there with an aggressive playstyle. Until then, keep a close eye on your six pilots. We’ll see you in the next one!


The War Thunder Team

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