The Hawker Hind was an improved variant of the Hawker Hart light bomber. It was designed with speed of introduction in mind. As the RAF began to expand in 1934, a new generation of bombers was already under development, but it was clear that it would take several years for any of them to become operational. Accordingly, the Air Ministry issued specification G.7/34, intended to produce a stop-gap bomber to replace the Hart.
Hawker responded with the Hind. This aircraft was powered by the Rolls-Royce Kestrel V, a supercharged engine offering 640hp, an increase of 130hp over the engines used in the Hart. The main improvement this offered was that the Hind achieved its maximum speed at 16,400 feet, 11,000 feet higher than the Hart. Other changes were made to the rear cockpit, to improve comfort and visibility. A new bombing position was also provided.
Production of the Hind was rapid. The prototype flew on 12 September 1934. One year later, on 4 September 1935, the first production aircraft flew, and during 1936 the type entered squadron service. At the start of 1937 it was the most important light bomber in RAF service. However, its time as a front line bomber was short. 1937 saw the Fairey Battle and Bristol Blenheim begin to enter squadron service, replacing the Hind. By this point well over 400 Hinds had been built, and a new use was soon found for the aircraft. From 1937 the Hind was used as a bomber trainer, helping to prepare for the rapid expansion of the RAF. The next year the surviving Hinds were equipped with blind flying equipment, increasing their training role.
Engine: Rolls-Royce Kestrel V
Max Speed: 186mph at 16,400ft
Ceiling: 26,400 ft
Range: 430 miles
Span: 37ft 3in
Length: 29ft 7in
Armament: Two 0.303in machine guns, one forward firing and one in aft cockpit.
Bomb load: 500lb