Hawker had its roots in the aftermath of the First World War which resulted in the bankruptcy of the Sopwith Aviation Company. Sopwith test pilot Harry Hawker and three others, including Thomas Sopwith, bought the assets of Sopwith and formed H.G. Hawker Engineering in 1920.
Hawker Aircraft continued to produce designs under its own name as a part of the Hawker Siddeley Aircraft, from 1955 division of Hawker Siddeley Group. The "Hawker" brand name was dropped, along with those of the sister companies, in 1963. The Hawker P.1127 was the last aircraft branded as "Hawker".
The Hawker legacy was maintained by the American company Raytheon who produced business jets (including some derived from the 125, whose original design dated back to de Havilland days) under the "Hawker" name. This was the result of purchasing British Aerospace's product line in 1993. The name is currently used by Hawker Beechcraft after Raytheon's business jet interests (Hawker and Beechcraft) were acquired by investors and merged.
During the Second World War, the Hawker Siddeley company 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 instrumental in winning the Battle of Britain. (During the battle, Hawker Hurricanes in service outnumbered all other British fighters combined, and were responsible for shooting down 55 percent of all enemy aircraft destroyed.)
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