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Hunters over Arabia (Hardback)

Hawker Hunter Operations in the Middle East

Aviation > Royal Air Force Colour Books Photographic Books

By Ray Deacon
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 380
Illustrations: 250
ISBN: 9781526721501
Published: 16th April 2019



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Based on official records held at the National Archives and other published sources, ‘Hunters over Arabia’ presents an in-depth account of the operations performed by the Hawker Hunter squadrons policing the desert wastelands and high mountain ranges of the Middle East. Copiously illustrated with colour and black and white photographs, a high percentage of operations performed by this versatile British ground attack and reconnaissance fighter are described in detail.

Using a chronological format, the narrative focuses on the period during which the Hunter served in the Middle East, from 1960 to 1971. Further chapters are dedicated to the three Hunter variants most closely associated with the Middle East, the FGA.9, FR.10 and T.7, together with their respective allocation dates. A short background to Aden, its historical links to Britain, and RAF airfields administered by Middle East Command complete this factual account.

The text is very complete and is not limited to air operations, nor is it limited to Hunters since it also talks about Beverley, Belvedere, Canberra, Beaver, Shackleton and Scout against a backdrop of sometimes very desolate landscapes. The iconography is very interesting because, in addition to a wide selection of photos of Hunter in flight and action, there is this wide variety of aircraft in service between 1960 and 1971.

Admittedly, the approach is resolutely historical with an important geopolitical dimension, but to see these landscapes, uniforms and liveries of another era should trigger some ideas. Finally, the annexes are also very complete, with accidents/incidents, the holdings of the Squadrons and the Air Force of South Arabia (SAAF).

Cocardes International December 22/ January 23

... impressive, well-illustrated volume which will delight all Hunter fans.

Vulcan News, Spring 2020

Hunters over Arabia is a thoroughly researched and detailed account of what would be the last British colonial operations in the Middle East. Deacon also includes mainly colour pictures throughout the text which is also scattered with maps and tables on units, weapons and even operations. His access to the National Archives and consolidation of official records provides an incredible insight into not only the majestic and beautifully lined Hunter, but also to RAF operations in insurgent wars across an unforgiving region. Deacon’s work here will be referenced for years to come as the authoritative source of operations across the troubled Middle East at the end of British influence.

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Flight Line Book Review

Fantastic colour and black and white images and beautifully written with great use of National Archive documentation. This book will thrill and inform all enthusiasts of the Hawker Hunter.

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Vintage Airfix

"Hunters over Arabia is well populated with colour and black and white photographs of the aircraft engaged in the operations."

Review by

RUSI New South Wales

A first-rate documentation as complete as we can find.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Reviewed by

AVM Graham Williams for RAF Historical Society

Featured in

Royal Air Force Historical Society, Journal 72

Featured in

Royal Air Force Historical Society, Journal 72

Featured in: 'Pen & Sword Books have some great new releases for your book shelf. We have picked out the best'.

Waterside, issue 11

The definitive book on RAF Hunter operations in the area, and an invaluable reference for anybody researching any aspect of the UK's involvement in a still-troubled region.

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Amazon Customer, Damien Burke

It's really in-depth, it brings operations all together in one place. Absolutely excellent!

Watch the full video review here

Scale Modelling Now

This book is very interesting because it tells of a conflict that I knew little about, and that with a series of beautiful photos illustrates the action of an aircraft that proved to be extremely effective. The further interest is given by a narration of events that is fluid and never boring.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

About Ray Deacon

Born in Farnborough, Kent, in 1942, Ray grew up in South-East London and went on to study at William Penn Technical School before joining the Royal Air Force. On passing out in December 1959, he was posted to the Central Flying School (CFS), before arranging an exchange with a fellow radio mechanic on the DH Vampire T.11 line. Much to Ray’s delight, the squadron was also responsible for handling Hawker Hunters whenever they paid visits from their operating base at RAF Kemble. The opportunity to work on the ‘queen of the skies’ kindled a passion that has remained with him ever since.
His career in the Royal Air Force involved service in Aden, where he lived for two years, working on a busy front-line operational squadron equipped with the more potent ground attack and fighter reconnaissance versions of Hawkers impeccable aircraft. He also worked at RAF Little Rissington on the Varsity squadron, a posting that was followed by time spent at the CFS Gnat Base Engineering Team, where he became familiar with the Gnats operating with the Red Arrows Aerobatic Team and 4 Squadron CFS.
He left the RAF in May 1967. A year with the RAE at Farnborough was followed by a 25-year career in computing with IBM. Early retirement enabled Ray to dedicate his free time to carrying out in-depth studies of his favourite subjects; RAF Little Rissington during the CFS years and Hawker Hunter operations in the Middle East.

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