Originally designated Hart General Purpose, the prototype Hardy, a converted Hart, first flew on September 7, 1934. Fitted with a message pick-up hook and wing racks for supply containers or light bombs, it was slightly longer and its empty weight was substantially higher than that of the Hart.
The first 37 were powered by 530-hp / 391kW Rolls-Royce Kestrel IB engines, the remaining ten by 585-hp Kestrel Xs.The long exhaust pipes resembling those of the Audax, and the Hart's armament of a Vickers machine-gun on the port side of the fuselage and a Scarff-mounted Lewis in the rear cockpit were retained.
A total of 47 Hardys were built by Gloster during 1935, the first examples going to 30 Squadron, RAF, in Iraq in April. The type was used in the Middle East for army co-operation, dive bombing and reconnaissance and to provide valuable close support to ground troops under pressure. These served with the RAF, latterly as a communications type, until 1941.
Engine: 1 x Rolls-Royce Kestrel IB, 395kW / 523 hp
Max take-off weight: 2270 kg / 5005 lb
Empty weight: 1450 kg / 3197 lb
Wingspan: 11.35 m / 37 ft 3 in
Wing loading: 14.35 lb/sq.ft / 70.00 kg/sq.m
Length: 9.02 m / 29 ft 7 in
Height: 3.23 m / 10 ft 7 in
Wing area: 32.33 sq.m / 348.00 sq ft
Max. speed: 140 kts / 259 km/h / 161 mph
Service Ceiling: 5180 m / 17000 ft
Armament: 2 x .303in / 7.7mm machine-guns