ROCKET SCIENCE

While most of the British rocket fighter story is associated with Saunders-Roe, some useful groundwork had been put in a few years earlier by a research aircraft from Hawker

It was an aircraft with a double life. The first of three Hawker P1040 jet fighter prototypes, VP401, made its maiden flight on 2 September 1947, the design subsequently being turned into the Royal Navy’s highly successful Sea Hawk. After completing its development flying VP401 was rendered redundant, but its usefulness was not over. It was heavily modified to serve as a combined rocket- and jet-powered research platform.

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