The Hawker Hardy was a further development of the Hawker Audax army co-operation aircraft, designed specifically for service in the Middle East. This involved fitting an improved radiator to prevent the engine over-heating, and the additional of a tropical survival kit in case the aircraft crashed in the desert.
The similarity to the Audax greatly increased the speed of development of the Hardy. It first flew in 7 September 1934, and entered RAF service in 1935. In all 47 Hardys were built, initially serving with No. 30 Squadron in Iraq.
In 1938 the Hardy was passed on to No. 6 Squadron, which used them for policing duties in Palestine. Finally, they were transferred to No. 237 Squadron, which was already using the Hawker Audax. With this squadron the Hardy saw active service against the Italians in East Africa. From bases in Kenya the Hardy was used for army co-operation and reconnaissance duties over Ethiopia. In September 1940, the squadron and its Hardys were moved to the Sudan, from where they took part in the Allied invasion of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Engine: Rolls Royce Kestral IB or Kestral X
Horsepower: 530 or 585
Max Speed: 161 mph at sea level
Endurance: 3 hours
Span: 37ft 3in
Length: 29ft 7in
Armament: Two 0.303in machine guns, one fixed forward firing and one in rear cockpit
Payload: Four 20lb bombs, water containers or flares under wings.