Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures : Collection Serge Van Heertum © sbap 2014
   

The Hawker Hardy is an armed reconnaissance aircraft derivate from the Hawker Audax according to the G.23/33 specifications of the British air ministry. Biplane and tandem two-seater, it was powered with a Rolls Royce Kestrel X engine producing 585Hp. The Hawker Hardy was designed for tropical and desert zones, with a fixed reinforced landing gear and equipped with modified radiator to avoid overheating of the engine in the warm climates. The aircraft also had modified exhausts compared to the Hawker Audax.

In addition, the aircraft had a reservoir with drinking water and a special survival kit for tropical regions located in the fuselage behind the observer's seat. The armament was made up of two 7.7mm machine-guns and could carry lightweight bombs (9 kg) under the wings.

The Hawker Hardy's maiden flight was on September 07, 1934 and 48 were built, including the prototype.


Belgium received one aircraft through the “Force Publique”, registered K4316, originated from the RAF 237 (Rhodesian) Squadron. It possibly could have been the object of an exchange with a Caudron Pelican to the British Imperial Forces. This latter was found damaged in Ethipia.

K4316 arrived in Belgian hands on May 14th, 1941 receiving a camouflage paint with black, yellow and red roundels, although keeping its RAF code. But sadly the career of the aircraft was short-lived as it turned over during a landing on May 26th, 1941, slightly injuring the crew, at the airfield of Gambela (Kisangani area) in Belgian-Congo.

The K4316 in RAF 237 (Rhodesian) Squadron service  
   
   
   
The Kora model showing an incorrect paint scheme regarding the pictures  
   
The "Force Publique" in 1940-1941
   
Gambela in center of Belgian Congo The engine of the Belgian Hardy
   
May 26th, 1941, the crash landing Upside down...
   
Slight injuries for the crew Get back on his landing gear...
   
Code and corcarde clearly visible The plane was never set back in flying conditions
   

 

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