Hawker Hind (Afghan)

Hawker Hind (Afghan)  [@ RAF Cosford]

The Hawker Hind was designed by Sir Sydney Camm (designer of the Hurricane) and began to replace the Hawker Hart as the RAF’s standard light bomber late in 1935.  The prototype Hind first flew on 12th September 1934, and was essentially an improved Hart with a more powerful engine and refined aerodynamics.  The Hind, 527 examples of which were produced, equipped no fewer than 47 RAF bomber squadrons between 1935 and 1939, when it was replaced by more modern types such as the Bristol Blenheim and Fairey Battle.  The Hind differed from the Hart in having a tail-wheel in place of the skid, a more developed exhaust system and a cutaway rear cockpit to provide a better field of view for the gunner.

In August 1937 eight Hawker Hinds, two with dual controls, were ordered via the British Air Ministry by the newly established Royal Afghan Air Force.  Taken by ship and then road to Kabul the Hinds were assembled, tested and handed over by April 1938.  During August 1967 the Afghan Government decided to donate the Hind to the RAF Museum and after refurbishment by the Afghan Air Force the Hind was airlifted out by a Hercules C1 of 36 Squadron on the 19th January 1968.  First stored at RAF Henlow the Hind was first displayed at RAF Hendon from 1972 and then at RAF Cosford since 2001.  Although it differs from British Hinds in certain details it is hoped that one day this aircraft can be returned to Royal Air Force colours.

Hawker Hind (Afghan)

Hawker Hind (Afghan)  [@ Shuttleworth Collection]

Several overseas air forces used Hawker biplanes, and the Royal Afghan Air Force took delivery of 18 Hinds between 1938 and 1940, these remained in service until 1956.

The Shuttleworth Hind was one of the eight Hinds delivered new to the Royal Afghan Air Force in 1938 and continued in use until the 1950s.  It was collected from Afghan in 1970 and the journey of 6000 miles from Kabul took four weeks with the team enduring many trials before the Hind landed safely in the UK.  Restoration followed and the Hind flew again on 17th August 1981, resplendent in Afghan Air Force Markings.  The Hind was repainted in 1985 to represent K5414 of 15 Squadron Royal Air Force.  Since then the Hind has suffered with problems in the Kestrel engine and was grounded while a new engine was built.  The Hind flew again in June 2003. This Hind is the last remaining airworthy example of the type.