The need for a replacement for the Gloster Meteor was the genesis for the design of the Hawker Hunter. Sir Sydney Camm of Hawker quickly laid out the design of Britain's first swept-winged jet. The prototype was first flown in 1951. It was a mid-wing, stressed skin monoplane with a 40-degree sweep and a beautifully sculptured high tail. Early performance results were impressive so in 1958 the Hunter entered service with the Royal Air Force.
In January 1958 the Swiss Government signed an initial contract for the delivery of 100 Hunters Mk 6, after incorporating a number of modifications. These modifications included installing a brake-parachute in the tail section that later became standard for all export Hunters. The Swiss Hunters also got enlarged ammunition link containers; this was necessary to protect Swiss farmers from cascading metal in the vicinity of the confined mountain gunnery ranges. The modified aircraft was designated the Hunter Mk.58.
In addition to the standard armament of four 30-mm cannons, the Hunter could carry a variety of under-wing stores including 2-inch rockets, 500- or 1,000-lb. bombs, 1 80-qallon napalm tanks, or drop tanks carrying an additional 600 gallons of fuel.
The Hunter was one of the most successful jet fighter/ bombers of its era and was flown by many countries. It was not until 1991 that the Swiss finally retired their much-loved Hunters.
Planes of Fame Air Museum's Hawker Hunter Mk.58 is on loan to Pima Air Museum in Tucson, AZ and is displayed there.