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Hawker Siddeley

Hawker Siddeley Group Limited
Public company
Industry Aerospace, Engineering
Fate Aircraft merged with British Aircraft Corporation and Scottish Aviation.
Group divested.
Successor British Aerospace, Bristol Siddeley
Founded 1934 (as Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Co.)
Defunct Aircraft: 29 April 1977
as a whole 1992
Headquarters Kingston Upon Thames Greater London, England, UK
Key people
Harry Hawker, J. D. Siddeley Sir Thomas Sopwith Founder, Chairman and life President
Subsidiaries Hawker Aircraft, Gloster Aircraft Company, A. V. Roe and Company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft,
A.V. Roe Canada/Hawker Siddeley Canada (from 1945),
Folland Aircraft (from 1959),
de Havilland Aircraft (from 1960),
Blackburn Aircraft (from 1960)

Hawker Siddeley was a group of British manufacturing companies engaged in aircraft production. Hawker Siddeley combined the legacies of several British aircraft manufacturers, emerging through a series of mergers and acquisitions as one of only two such major British companies in the 1960s. In 1977, Hawker Siddeley became a founding component of the nationalised British Aerospace (BAe). Hawker Siddeley also operated in other industrial markets, such as locomotive building (through its ownership of Brush Traction) and diesel engine manufacture (through its ownership of Lister Petter). The Company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Avro Canada 1.2
    • Postwar 1.3
    • Expansion into railways 1.4
    • Nationalisation of aircraft production 1.5
    • Rationalisation and sale to BTR 1.6
    • Hawker Siddeley name today 1.7
  • Products 2
    • Aircraft 2.1
    • Missiles and rockets 2.2
    • Space hardware 2.3
    • Heavy Equipment 2.4
    • Hawker Siddeley Canada 2.5
  • Key people 3
    • Aircraft designers and engineers 3.1
    • Test pilots 3.2
    • Managing Directors 3.3
    • Founder President 3.4
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7



Hawker Siddeley Aircraft was formed in 1935 as a result of the purchase by Hawker Aircraft of the companies of J. D. Siddeley, the automotive and engine builder Armstrong Siddeley and the aircraft manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.[1] At this time, Hawker Siddeley also acquired A.V. Roe & Company (Avro), Gloster Aircraft Company (Gloster) and Air Training Services.[1] The constituent companies continued to produce their own aircraft designs under their own name as well as sharing manufacturing work throughout the group.

During the Second World War, Hawker Siddeley was one of the United Kingdom's most important aviation concerns, producing numerous designs including the famous Hawker Hurricane fighter plane that, along with the Supermarine Spitfire, was Britain's front-line defence in the Battle of Britain.[1] During this campaign, Hurricanes outnumbered all other British fighters, combined, in service and were responsible for shooting down 55 percent of all enemy aircraft destroyed.

Avro Canada

In 1945, the Hawker Siddeley purchased Victory Aircraft of Malton, Ontario, Canada from the Canadian government, renaming the company A.V. Roe Canada, commonly known as Avro Canada, initially a wholly owned subsidiary of Hawker Siddeley.[2] Avro Canada underwent a major expansion through aircraft development and acquisition of aircraft engine, mining, steel, railway rolling stock, computers, electronics, and other businesses to become, by 1958, Canada's third largest company directly employing over 14,000 people and providing 45% of the parent company's revenues.[3] During its operation, Avro Canada aircraft (built) included the C102 Jetliner, CF-100 Canuck, CF-105 Arrow and VZ-9- AV Avrocar. Only the CF-100 fighter entered full-scale production.[2] Other design projects (not built) included supersonic transport (SST) passenger aircraft, a mach-2 VTOL fighter, hovercraft, a jet engine-powered tank, and the hypersonic Space Threshold Vehicle.[4] After the cancellation of the Arrow, the company began to unravel. In 1962, A.V. Roe Canada was dissolved and the remaining assets were transferred to the now defunct Hawker Siddeley Canada.[2]

Royal Air Force Hawker Siddeley Hawk T.1A, with its pilot. This aircraft, used for aerobatic displays, is in a special colour scheme.


In 1948, the company name was changed to Hawker Siddeley Group. The aircraft division would become Hawker Siddeley Aviation (HSA) and the guided missile and space technology operations as Hawker Siddeley Dynamics (HSD). In 1959, the aero engine business, Armstrong Siddeley was merged with that of the Bristol Aero Engines to form Bristol Siddeley.[1] In the late 1950s, the British government decided that with the decreasing number of aircraft contracts being offered, it was better to merge the existing companies, of which there were about 15 surviving at this point, into several much larger firms. Out of this decision, came the "order" that all future contracts being offered had to include agreements to merge companies. In 1959, Folland Aircraft was acquired, followed by de Havilland Aircraft Company[1] and Blackburn Aircraft in 1960. In 1963, the names of the constituent companies were dropped, with products being rebranded as "Hawker Siddeley" or "HS". In this period, the company developed the first operational, and, by far, the most successful VTOL jet aircraft, the Harrier family.[1] This aircraft remained in production into the 1990s and remains in service.

Expansion into railways

In 1957, Hawker Siddeley purchased the Brush group of companies that included Brush Electrical Machines, and Brush Traction who manufacture electromotive equipment and railway locomotives.[5] The Brush prototype locomotives Falcon and the futuristic but over-weight HS4000 'Kestrel' were produced here. Other railway engineering assets were acquired, including Westinghouse Brake & Signal[6] and the engine builder Mirrlees Blackstone, which came with the Brush businesses.[7]

Caboose built in the Hawker Siddeley plant of Thunder Bay, Ontario[8]

In the early 1970s Hawker Siddeley's Canada Car and Foundry subsidiary began to build rapid transit vehicles for the North American market. The first order was for the Port Authority Trans-Hudson line and consisted of 38 PA-3 cars, which were largely based on the original hexagonal profile PA car design built by the St. Louis Car Company. Later Hawker Siddeley would sell the same general design to the MBTA in Boston for their Blue and Orange Lines. 70 48' cars were delivered to the Blue Line in 1978–80[9] and 120 65' cars were delivered to the Orange Line in 1980–81.[10] Hawker Siddeley also manufactured much of the Toronto subway system's older rolling stock, the H5 and H6 models. The heavy rail manufacturing business, based in Mississauga and Thunder Bay, Ontario, are now part of Bombardier Transportation.

MBTA also bought a number of commuter rail coaches from the German firm Messerschmitt, teaming up Hawker Siddeley with its old wartime rival under the same organisation.

Nationalisation of aircraft production

On 29 April 1977, as a result of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977, Hawker Siddeley Aviation and Dynamics were nationalised and merged with British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) and Scottish Aviation to form British Aerospace.[1] However, HSA and HSD accounted for only 25% of the Hawker Siddeley business by this time, and the non-aviation and foreign interests were retained by a holding company known as 'Hawker Siddeley Group Plc after 1980.

Rationalisation and sale to BTR

The group rationalised in the 1980s, focusing on railway engineering and signalling, industrial electronics and instrumentation and signalling equipment.

Orenda Aerospace, the only remaining original company from the Avro Canada / Hawker Siddeley Canada era, although greatly diminished in size and scope of operations, became part of the Magellan Aerospace Corporation.[11]

The late 1980s also saw Hawker Siddeley divest itself of much of its other North American heavy manufacturing enterprises. Its Talladega, Alabama-based TreeFarmer heavy equipment business was sold to Franklin Equipment in 1990[12] and its Canadian rail car production facilities were split between SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier in 1992.[13]

In 1992, Hawker Siddeley Group Plc was acquired by BTR plc for £1.5bn.[14]

Hawker Siddeley name today

In 1973, HS acquired the industrial electronics firm South Wales Switchgear. Later known as Aberdare Holdings, in 1992 this company was renamed Hawker Siddeley Switchgear (HSS).[15] They have an Australian subsidiary, Hawker Siddeley Switchgear Australia. Another company which retains the name is Hawker Siddeley Power Transformers.[16]

In 1993, British Aerospace sold its corporate jet product line to the American Raytheon Aircraft Company. In 2006 the product line was sold to a new company to be known as Hawker Beechcraft, owned by Onex Partners and Goldman Sachs.[17]



The Hawker Siddeley name was not used to brand aircraft until 1963. Prior to this, aircraft were produced under the name of the subsidiary company (e.g. Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Sea Hawk, Gloster Javelin, Gloster Meteor). First flight date is in parentheses.

  • HS.121 Trident (1962) – originated as de Havilland DH.121 airliner.
  • HS.125 & Dominie (1962) – originated as the de Havilland DH.125. Military service as Dominie
  • P.139B - AEW and COD aircraft project.
  • HS.141 (1978/1979) - V/STOL airliner project submission.
  • HS.146 (1981) – entered production and later renamed the BAe 146.
  • HS.748 (1960) – originated as Avro 748 turboprop airliner.
  • HS.780 Andover (1965) – military derivative of HS748
  • P.1121 – a Hawker project
  • Kestrel (1964) – a Hawker project
  • Harrier (1966) - see also Harrier Jump Jet
  • P.1154 (1960s) - V/STOL combat aircraft project
  • HS.801 Nimrod (1967) – development of the de Havilland Comet as a naval patrol aircraft
  • HS.1182 Hawk (1974) - advanced jet trainer
  • Airbus A300 – Hawker Siddeley designed and built the wings of the A300 airliner.
  • Argosy (1959) – known as Armstrong Whitworth Argosy until individual "brands" dropped in 1963. Built by Hawker Siddeley during the early 1960s. The last Argosy was built in 1965.
  • Buccaneer (1958) – originated as the Blackburn Buccaneer. Hawker Siddeley built the Buccaneer for the Royal Navy, plus the South African Air Force during the 1960s, also a number of S Mk.2B aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
  • Comet 4 – first flying as the de Havilland Comet airliner in 1949. The Comet 4 was still being built by Hawker Siddeley in the early 1960s. The final Comet 4 rolled off the production line in 1964.
  • Dove – originated as the de Havilland Dove. Hawker Siddeley built the Dove during the 1960s. The last Dove was rolled off the production line in 1967.
  • Gnat – originated as the Folland Gnat. Hawker Siddeley built a number Gnats during the early 1960s, for the Finnish Air Force, Indian Air Force and the RAF.
  • Heron – originated as the de Havilland Heron. Built by Hawker Siddeley in the early 1960s. The Last Heron was rolled off the production line in 1963.
  • Hunter – originated as the Hawker Hunter. The Hunter was still being built by Hawker Siddeley in early 1960s. The final Hunter rolled off the production line in 1966.
  • Sea Vixen – originated as the de Havilland Sea Vixen. Hawker Siddeley built the Sea Vixen during the early 1960s. The last Sea Vixen was delivered to the Royal Navy in 1965.
  • Vulcan – originated as the Avro Vulcan. Hawker Siddeley built the Vulcan during the early 1960s. The last Vulcan was delivered to the RAF in 1965.
  • Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 - transport project renamed as HS.681
  • Hawker-Siddeley Helicrane - a cancelled flying crane helicopter project in three variants, HS (Helicopter Small), HM (Helicopter Medium) and HL (Helicopter Large). The project was inherited from Blackburn, their Blackburn SP.62 design had six Bristol Siddeley turbojets in the rotor head exhausting at the rotor tips.[18]

Missiles and rockets

Space hardware

Heavy Equipment

  • TreeFarmer (heavy logging equipment)

Hawker Siddeley Canada

HS Canadian unit produced rail cars, transit vehicles, engines (aircraft and ship):

Key people

Aircraft designers and engineers

Test pilots

Managing Directors

Founder President

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g US Centiennal of Flight Commission – Hawker Siddeley
  2. ^ a b c The Avro Arrow – A Broken Dream
  3. ^ Whitcomb, p. 26
  4. ^ Whitcomb, pp. 10, 11, 236, 275.
  5. ^ Brush: History
  6. ^ Invensys Rail: History
  7. ^ Anson Engine Museum
  8. ^ "Caboosesa." Welcome to, 11 September 2008. Retrieved: 6 March 2009.
  9. ^ MBTA Blue Line
  10. ^ MBTA Orange Line
  11. ^ Magellan Aerospace Corporation: History
  12. ^ Franklin: The realisation of the American Dream
  13. ^ CAW members ratify three-year agreement
  14. ^ Brush Traction: History
  15. ^ HSS: History
  16. ^ Hawker Siddeley Power Transformers
  17. ^ Raytheon to sell jet subsidiary
  18. ^ Woods, Derek Project Cancelled


  • Campagna, Palmira. Requiem For a Giant: A.V. Roe Canada and the Avro Arrow, Dundurn Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Oxford, UK;
  • Whitcomb, Randall. Cold War Tech War: The politics of America's air defense, Apogee Books, Burlington, Ontario, Canada, 2008. ISBN 978-1-894959-77-3
  • Zuk, Bill. Avrocar: Canada's Flying Saucer: The story of Avro Canada's Secret Projects. Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ontario, Canada 2001. ISBN 1-55046-359-4

External links

  • Hawker Siddeley Australia corporate website
  • Funding Universe | Hawker Siddeley Group Public Limited Company – company history
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