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Aircraft Stats:

Powerplant: 1 x 608 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel VFP piston engine
Speed: 283 kph, 176mph mph
Seats: 2
Length: 9.02m, 29ft 7in
Span: 11.35m, 3ft 3in
Empty Weight: 1 429kg, 3,150lb
Max T/O Weight: 2 171kg, 4,787lb
Period of Service: 1935 - 1943

None specified

None specified

No incidents found


Status: Retired
Manufacturer: Hawker
Country of Manufacture: South Africa
Role: Attack/Strike

Based on the Hawker Audax, with modifications to meet South African requirements (to Specification 22/34) for a close-support aircraft. Four built by Hawker (first flight June 28, 1935) and 65 more were built under licence at the Aircraft and Artillery Depot at Roberts Heights.

Serial numbers were 801 to 869.

A total of 53 of these aircraft remained in service at the outbreak of World War II and these were deployed in Kenya together with a number of ex-RAF Harts. 

Flown by Nos 11, 40 and 41 Sqns, the Hartbess (alongside Harts) flew from Kenyan bases in action against Italian forces in Abyssinia in mid-1940, their most significant operation being an attack in strength carried out on 11 June 1940. Not long after this the Hartbees were withdrawnfrom front-line use, then relegated to training and communications roles in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia for the remainder of war.

One fixed forward-firing 0.303 in (7.7mm) forward-firing machine-gun and one 0.303 in (7.7mm) Lewis gun on a pivoted mount in the rear cockpit, plus underwing racks to carry light bombs, smoke-laying equipment, supply canisters or water containers.


Hartbees 805, the first Hartbees built in SA. Hartbees 866. Hartbees in flight. Hawker Hartbees 1 851 at the SAMMH, Johannesburg.