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Artefact of the Month

HAWKER HUNTER GUN PACK

When designing the Hunter, the Hawker Aircraft Company decided to design a removable pack accommodating both guns and ammunition. The company’s experimental drawing office perfected a pack capable of carrying four 30 mm Aden guns, together with their respective magazines, each capable of carrying 150 shells. Hawker’s made use of the fact that the Aden cannon did not require to be mounted right way up. In the designed pack, the inner guns lay on their sides and the outer pair was mounted upside down. The whole unit could be inserted into a bay in the lower fuselage behind the cockpit with the use of three standard bomb winches. A good team of armourers could carry out the operation in less than five minutes.

To remove the pack, the four barrels had to be unscrewed and remained in the fuselage while the pack was winched down to be replaced by a preloaded pack.

The Aden cannon’s rate of fire was 1,200 rounds per minute and each gun was loaded with 150 rounds.  This gave a firing time of 7.5 seconds if four were fired simultaneously or 15 seconds if fired in pairs. When fired, spent ammunition links and shell cases stream out through separate ejection slots. This initially caused a problem because as they were ejected into the slipstream, areas on the lower fuselage and airbrake were damaged. The problem was thought to be caused by the ammunition links and the solution, which proved successful, was to fit two large, external streamlined blisters, mounted under the front fuselage over the link ejector ports, to gather the links from the lower two guns. The blisters became known as ‘Sabrinas’ after a female television celebrity of the 1950s whose claim to fame was in being ‘well endowed’!

THE HAWKER HUNTER F5 30 mm GUN PACK IS DISPLAYED BY THE AIRCRAFT IN THE MUSEUM’S MERYL HANSED MEMORIAL HALL

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