S 9 - Hawker Osprey (1934-1947)

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The aircraft cruiser HMS Gotland, launched in 1934 and scrapped in 1960, was the only aircraft carrier ever in the Swedish Navy. In fact, it served as an aircraft cruiser only for nine years. In 1943-1944, the aircraft deck was removed and the Gotland was rebuilt as an anti-aircraft cruiser. In 1955, the armament was modernised and fire direction radar installed. HMS Gotland was used for long cruises abroad with cadets during the winters and to represent the Swedish Navy at other occasions. 

The Gotland had room for eleven aircraft type Hawker Osprey, but only six were procured. The aircraft deck was placed over the quarterdeck. The aircraft were stored on trolleys that went on rails. The were launched by of a catapult, operated by compressed air. The aircraft had to land in the water and be lifted aboard the ship by a crane. Test were also made by a ”drag sail”, which was towed behind the ship. The landed aircraft taxied up on the ”sail” and could now easier be lifted aboard. But both methods had the great disadvantage that the ship had to stop or at least slow down considerably, which of course could be disastrous in a war situation. In practise, the aircraft started from the Gotland and landed somewhere along the coast. 

Hawker Osprey, Swedish designation S 9, were similar to the Hawker Hart (B 4), which was used by the Swedish Air Force as a dive bomber. The six S9s were delivered in 1934-1935. They got the registration numbers 2401-2406. The main tasks of the two-seat Osprey was reconnaissance and fire direction, but it could also be used as a fighter. The S 9 was armed with one fixed and one moveable 8 mm machine-gun m/22. 

The S 9 was powered with a Bristol Mercury My VI engine, built on licence by Nohab in Trollhättan. The nine-cylinder engine (in Britain manufactured under the name ”Bristol Pegasus I”) delivered 600 hp. This engine was also used in several other of the aircraft types of the Air Force. 

The S 9 was fitted with aluminium floats of Shorts make and had backward foldable wings. Wheel landing gear were also provided. The fuselage was made of steel- and aluminium piping, covered with canvas. The part around the engine was covered with aluminium plating. The wings were covered with ply and impregnated canvas. The observer/radio operator had his seat turned backward. 

After their service as combat aircraft, three of  the Ospreys were rebuilt as target towing aircraft. 

Length: 9,64 m. Span: 11,28 m. MTOW: 2.450 kg. Max. speed: about 230 km/h. 

Photo at top: # 2403 taking off from HMS Gotland. 

Below: Model of HMS Gotland exhibited at Flygvapenmuseum (Swedish Air Force Museum).

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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-07-17