An improved Hawker Hart bomber defined by Specification G.7/34, was purchased by the RAF as an interim aircraft, while more modern monoplane bombers such as the Fairey Battle were still in development. Structural elements were a mixture of steel and duralumin with the wings being fabric covered; the main differences compared to the earlier Hart was a new powerplant, (the Rolls Royce Kestrel V) and the inclusion of refinements from the earlier derivatives such as the cut-down rear cockpit developed for the Demon. The prototype (Serial numberK2915) was constructed very rapidly due to Hawker's development work for other proposals and made its first flight on 12 September 1934. A variety of changes were subsequently incorporated ("ram's horn" exhaust manifolds, Fairey-Reed metal propeller and engine improvements) with the first production Hind (K4636) flown on 4 September 1935.
The Hind found a new career in 1938 as a training aircraft, representing the next step up from basic training on Tiger Moths. It continued in use as an intermediate trainer during the war. Hind trainers were also operated by Canada and New Zealand. In 1941, Hinds flew operations in their original role as light bombers against Axis forces. South African Hinds were employed against Italian forces in Kenya during the East African Campaign and Yugoslav Hinds were used against the Germans and Italians. Iranian Hinds were used briefly against Allied forces during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. Imperial Iranian Air Force bases were occupied by the Allies and their aircraft were destroyed or dismantled by the invading British. Hawker Hind aircraft were also used by the Afghan government to suppress the tribal revolts of 1944-1945.
In 1937-39, 28 Hinds were sold to the Afghan government in two batches. After being retired in 1956, two airframes were donated to the United Kingdom in 1967-68. A further two airframes were donated to the National Aeronautical Collection in 1975 by the Afghan president.