Hawker Hurricane


Hurricane IIA

The family tree of the Hurricane can be traced back to a 'Fury monoplane' proposal of 1933, then to be powered by the Rolls-Royce Goshawk evaporative-cooled power plant. Instead it was decided in early 1934 to adapt this design to incorporate the new PV.12 engine which Rolls-Royce had developed - and which was the direct forbear of the famous Merlin. From that time the airframe/engine combination bore so little relation to the Fury that it then became identified as the 'Interceptor Monoplane'.

This finalised design was submitted to the Air Ministry in 1934, and in the following year a prototype was ordered to Specification F.36/34, and the Air Ministry asked for an armament of no less than eight machine-guns.

In 1934, the monoplane layout was still very new for combat aircraft and thick airfoils for monoplanes were much in vogue for structural rea-sons, if nothing else. Hurricane designer Sir Sydney Camm seemed to have had misgivings from the start. "When its design had gone beyond the point of no return," he once admitted, "I had a sudden foreboding that it would be no good. Strength had to be an important factor in this ship, but I always wished that the wing had been thinner. If we had had more time, the Hurricane would have been the greatest aircraft of all time." But if Hawker hadn't frozen the design and gone ahead with mass production when it did, even without an official order. It was Hawker's gamble in laying down a production line of 1,000 Hurricanes before the Air Ministry ordered such a vast quantity was available the Battle of Britain.

The prototype Hurricane flew on November 6, 1935 powered by a 767kW Merlin 'C' engine, and was followed by the first production model on October 12, 1937, a contract for 600 having been placed in June 1936. This was increased to 1000 in November 1938.


Hawker Hurricane Mk 1


Although of cantilever monoplane configuration, its construction was typical of the Fury from which it stemmed, and even its wings were fabric-covered in early Mk Is, with a metal leading edge and trailing-edge flaps. The tailwheel-type landing gear had hydraulically retractable main units of wide track. Armament of production Mk Is comprised four 7.7mm Browning machine-guns in each wing, making this the RAF's first eight-gun fighter. Designated the Hurricane I, it was outfitted with a Rolls-Royce Merlin II or III engine, fabric-covered wings, and a wooden prop. It lacked armor and selfsealing fuel tanks.


In Yugoslav, Ikarus and Zmaj shared the order for the production of Hurricane MK1.



The first Hurricane II went into production in 1940 and was powered by a Merlin XX V-12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. Improvements included wing alterations for increased armament, redesigned engine mount, strengthened fuselage, and tanks protected with self-sealing rubber.

In early February 1938, during the night, No 111 Squadron's commanding officer (Sqdn Ldr J. GilIan) had flown his Hurricane from Edinburgh to Northolt at an average speed of 657km/h, assisted by a tail wind.


No.111 Sqn RAF August 1938


By December 1937 No. 111 Squadron was beginning to re-equip with the type, by the outbreak of war in 1939, 500 Hurricanes had been delivered and by August 7, 1940, when the Battle or Britain started, there were 32 Hurricane squadrons as against 19 Spitfire squadrons. By that time, the Hurricane had already been in action in France, Norway and Malta.

Hurricanes downed more enemy aircraft than did the Spits in the Battle, and the highest-scoring RAF pilot in the Battle, a Polish sergeant named Josef Frantitek (with a score of 17, all in a single month) flew Hurricanes.

One of the significant statistics of the Hurricane's contribution to this hard-fought battle was the fact that these aircraft destroyed more enemy aircraft than the combined total of all other defence systems, air or ground. Even that factor must be equated with the information that at the beginning of the battle (on 8 August 1940) approximately 65% more Hurricanes than Spitfires (2,309 to 1,400) had been delivered to the RAF's Fighter Command.

After 1940, Hurricanes served largely in the Middle East and North Africa, with a distinctive sand filter under the nose to protect the Merlin's innards. They were tried as night fighters over Britain after the Luftwaffe switched to night raids, but the night-fighting Hurricanes had generally poor success.

Subsequent Hurricane versions included the Mk IIA with Merlin XX and eight guns; Mk IIB with 12 guns; and Mk IIC with four 20mm cannon. Mk IID with two 40mm Vickers 'S' guns and two 7.7mm guns (plus additional armour for low attack) were used extensively in the Western Desert. The final production version was the Mk IV with a wing able to accept armament comprising two Browning machine-guns plus two 40mm guns, or eight rocket projectiles, or two 110kg or 225kg bombs, or long-range fuel tanks. The Hurricane V (only two built) was powered by a Merlin 27 or 32 engine.

By 1942, most Hurricanes had been switched to ground attack, with a powerful variety of weapons: 12 Brownings; or four 20mm cannon that slowed you down by 30 mph when you fired them; or a pair of Brownings plus two 40mm cannon with just 20 armor-piercing rounds . Another variant was the "Hurribomber", with racks for two 250-pounders, or even two 500-pounders, sometimes delivered by skip-bombing. Rocket rails were also com-monly fitted. In the Far East, Burma and India, the Hurricane remained the principal British fighter opposing the Japanese right up to the war's end. Some 3,000 Hurricanes (one in five of all built) were given to the Soviet Union, most shipped by convoy around the North Cape to Murmansk.


Hawker Hurricane MkII converted by the Soviets with a back seat and machine gun position.


Sea Hurricanes joined the Royal Navy in January 1941 and became the first carrier-based British single-seat monoplane fighter when taken to sea by HMS Furious in July 1941. Under the 'Catfighter' scheme, Sea Hurricane IA were equipped for catapult launch from the decks of CAM merchant ships (catapult-equipped merchantmen) to counter the threat posed by Germany's Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors, introduced in the spring in 1941. Only the Mk IA was specially built. The approximate figure of 800 Sea Hurricanes which entered service included 50 Mk IA and about 750 conversions of Mk II and Canadian-built aircraft.
These were 35 ordinary mer-chant ships that had been modified to carry a Hurricane on a rocket launch rig on the bow. These CAM ships, carrying ordinary cargo as well, accompanied the great convoys sailing from Britain to Russia and the Mediterranean, and from Canada to Britain. The Hurricats were assigned to convoy defense against the Luftwaffe's Focke-Wulf
Condor long-range, four-engine reconnaissance bombers, which were not only attacking convoys, but tracking them for U boats and other bomber units. If a Hurricat pilot was lucky, he could make it back to shore after launch and combat if not, he had to ditch (not recommended, since the Hurri-cane invariably turned over and sank) or else bail out over the convoy.

During the Second World War Gloster built 2,750 Hurricanes and 3,330 Typhoons,

The Hurricane was eventually replaced on Hawker's production lines by the Typhoon, the Tempest, the Fury and the Sea Fury.
Hurricane evolution effectively stopped at the Mark IV.

In November 1938, the Canadian Car and Foundry Company was awarded a contract to produce Hawker Hurricanes for the RAF at its Fort William plant. The initial order was for forty aircraft (P5170 to P5209) to Mk 1 specification with British-made Rolls-Royce Merlin III engines and eight .303 Browning machine guns. These models depended almost entirely on British materials such as steel tubing, aluminium sheeting and metal castings which were formed, pressed and machined at Fort William, since the Canadian aircraft industry did not at that time have the capability to produce these items from scratch.
With the outbreak of war, shipping delays and losses created problems with such a system and as late as 1941 shortages of imported British materials reduced production considerably. Mr G C Kemp, a foreman at that time, recollects that at one point a delay in the arrival of Merlin engines was overcome by flying as many as thirty Fairey Battles into Fort William, where the engines were removed and fitted into the Hurricanes. In time, with new Canadian sources of supply and the introduction of the Packard Merlin engine from the US, production rose to reach a peak of 700 aircraft in 1942. In all, between January 1940, when the prototype (P5170) flew, and June 1943, when the last Hurricane left the plant at Fort William, 1,451 aircraft of various marks were built, representing some 10% of all Hurricanes produced and almost half of Can-Car's total production during the war years.
The Hurricane 1 was in many ways a transitional design between the wood, metal and fabric biplanes of the 1920s and 1930s and the metal-skinned monoplane fighters of the 1940s. It incorporated a metal frame with a combination of wooden fairing and fabric over the fuselage and fabric covering the wings. All of the CCF-built Hurricanes however had aluminium covered wings and indeed, when Mr A D Norton, head of the Tool Design Section at Can-Car, visited the Hawker works in England in 1939, he found the development of the metal-skinned wings less advanced than at Fort William. Apart from that, the basic structure of the Hurricane changed little in its lifetime. Some were fitted to carry bombs, some had catapult fittings, others had arrester gear, some were tropicalised and at least two were fitted with skis by the RCAF. The normal elements used to differentiate the variants, however, were powerplant and armaments.
The initial order for forty machines was renewed and in total 160 Mk 1 aircraft were built in five different batches. Most of these seem to have been sent directly to Britain, where they were distributed as the need arose rather than being assigned by batch to any one squadron, this being made possible by the inter-changeability of components among British and Canadian--built aircraft. Twenty were delivered before the Battle of Britain and some of these participated in the fierce aerial fighting of August and September 1940.
The majority of the Hurricanes built by CCF at Fort William were Mk X or Mk XII variants, equivalent to the British-built 1 and IIB, and amounting to 900 aircraft or 62% of the total. Both were equipped with Packard engines, the Merlin 28 in the case of the Mk X and the Merlin 29 in the Mk XII, while the latter carried twelve Brownings compared to the eight of the Mk X. Most of the Hurricane Xs were initially sent to Britain, but
some were later tropicalised and used in India. After many requests, about thirty of these aircraft were also released for use by the RCAF in Canada.
Those sent to Britain seem to have been modified quite regularly as the Hurricane evolved into its intruder and ground attack role. Many with serial numbers between AM270 and AM369, for example, built as Mk Xs were later designated IIB or IIC, presumably because of changes in armaments and the addition of external bomb racks or fuel tanks rather than the wholesale replacement of the Packard Merlin with its Rolls-Royce equivalent, although, of course, the latter may have applied in some cases also. With some, multiple conversions took place. Hurricane AM280, for example, started life as a Mk X but appears in late 1941 or early 1942 on the books of 1 Squadron as a Mk X converted to IIB configuration. Later in 1942 and 1943 it is referred to variously as a Mk X/11C with 534 Squadron and a "Mk X, modified with four-cannon wings - with 3 Squadron.
Unlike the Mk Xs, the Hurricane XII's (RCAF 5376 to 5775) with their Merlin 29 engines and twelve Browning guns armament remained in Canada with the RCAF, flying defensive patrols along the east and west coasts, but without becoming involved in combat. This applies also to a batch of fifty Hurricane XIIAs, built as Sea Hurricanes for the Fleet Air Arm, but subsequently released for service with the RCAF. These aircraft were similar to the Mk XII in that they had Merlin 29 engines, but were fitted with eight gun Mk 1 or Mk X wings.
The situation with the Mk XII variants is complicated by the fact that some of the later aircraft shipped to Britain without engines, instruments or armament were fitted with Merlin XX engines and either twelve Browning or four cannon wings and designated Mk 1IB/XII or IIC/XII although during construction in Canada they were nominally IIB or IIC. This applied to aircraft of the JS219 to JS468 batch which began to appear in Britian in 1942 to be used in intruder activities or as night fighters with the Turbinlite squadrons. Others of this group served with various squadrons in the Middle East and India.
The final four batches of Hurricanes (PJ660 to P.1695, PJ711 to PJ758, PJ779 to PJ813 and PJ842 to PJ872), built to Mk IIC specifications, were also intended for shipping to Britain for the fitting of engines, instruments and armament. Although some doubt has been expressed as to whether or not these were actually constructed, aircraft with serials from the second, third and fourth groups are recorded as serving in India in 1943 and 1944, flying escort to bombing raids or involved in low-level fighter-bomber activity over Burma.
Hurricane production continued until 1944. In all, Hawker produced 10,030, supplemented by 2750 from Gloster, and 1451 from Canada.

More than 4,000 Hurricanes were supplied to other air forces, including Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Eire, Finland, India, Persia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, the Soviet Union, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.



Engine: 767kW Merlin 'C'

Mk I
Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin II or III, 990-1030 hp
Prop: Rotol 3 blade wood
Length: 31.4 ft. (9.55 m)
Height: 13 ft. 11 in
Wing span: 40 ft. (12.2 m)
Wing area: 257.5 sq. ft
MAUW: 6600 lb
Weight empty: 4,670 lb. (2,118 kg)
Max speed 325 mph @ 20,000 ft
Service ceiling 36000 feet.
Initial climb rate 2,950 fpm
Range: 460 miles (740 km)
Armament: 8 x 7.7mm / 0.303in Browning machine-guns
Bomb load: 1,000 lb. (450 kg)
Crew: 1

Hurricane II
Engine: One Rolls-Royce Merlin XX, 1,030 hp at sea level, 1,460 hp at 6,250ft in M gear and 1,435hp at 11,000ft in S gear.
Propeller: Rotol three-bladed constant speed 11 ft 3 in diameter.
Span, 12.2 m / 40 ft 0 in
Length, 9.8 m / 32 ft 3 in
Overall height, tail down, one blade vertical, 13 ft 3 in
Wing area, 24.0 sq.m / 258.33 sq ft
Weight empty: 4,670 lb. (2,118 kg).
Max take-off weight: 3540 kg / 7804 lb
Fuel capacity, 69 Imp gal in two wing tanks, 28 Imp gal in res fuselage tank, total 97 Imp gal.
Optional fuel: two 45 Imp gal drop or 90 Imp gal fixed ferry tanks under wings.
Max speed: 316 mph. (508 kph)
Ceiling: 10850 m / 35600 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 740 km / 460 miles
Undercarriage track, 7 ft 10 in
Aspect ratio, 62:1
Dihedral, 35 deg on outer wing panels
Crew: 1.
Armament: 4 x 20mm cannon.
Bomb load: 1,000 lb. (450 kg)

Engine: Merlin XX
Armament: eight guns

Engine: RR Merlin 25, 1280 hp.
Wing Span: 40 ft
Length: 32 ft 3 in
Height: 13 ft 1 ft
Tare weight, 5,467 lb
Empty equipped weight, 6,266 lb
Normal loaded weight, full armament and internal fuel, 7,233 lb.
Max speed, 328 mph at 18,000 ft clean, 310mph with tropical filter
Initial rate of climb, 2,950 ft/min clean, 2,800 ft/min with tropical filter
Time to 15.000 ft, 55 min. to 25,000 ft, 95 min
Service ceiling, 36,000 ft
Range, 465 mls at 177 mph clean, 935 mls with two 45 Imp gal drop tanks, 436 mls clean with tropical filter.
Armament: Twelve BSA-built Browning machine guns of 0.303-in calibre with a total of 3,988 rounds in 12 magazines (5,238 rounds in some aircraft).
Provision for two 250-lb or 500-lb bombs.

Max speed, 327 mph at 18,000 ft clean, 301 mph with tropical filter
Initial rate of climb, 2,750 ft/min clean, 2,400 ft/min with tropical filter
Time to 15,000 ft, 6 min, to 25,000 ft, 10 min
Service ceiling, 35,600 ft
Range, 460 mls at 178mph clean, 920 mls with two 45 Imp gal drop tanks, 426 mls clean with tropical filter.
Tare weight, 5,658 lb
Empty equipped weight, 6,577 lb
Normal loaded weight, full armament and internal fuel, 7,544 lb
Max overload weight with drop tanks, 8,044 lb
Armament: Four Hispano Mk I or Mk II cannon of 20-mm capacity with 90 rpg.
Provision for two 250-lb or 500-lb bombs under wings.

Armament: two 40mm Vickers 'S' guns and two 7.7mm guns

Armament: two Browning machine-guns plus two 40mm guns, or eight rocket projectiles, or two 110kg or 225kg bombs, or long-range fuel tanks.

Hurricane V
Engine: Merlin 27 or 32 engine.
No built: 2

Sea Hurricane IA

Sea Hurricane Mk II C
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin XX, 1262 hp
Length : 32.251 ft / 9.83 m
Height: 13.091 ft / 3.99 m
Wingspan: 39.993 ft / 12.19 m
Wing area: 257.475 sq.ft / 23.92 sq.m
Max take off weight: 8101.2 lb / 3674.0 kg
Weight empty: 5880.7 lb / 2667.0 kg
Max. speed: 297 kt / 550 km/h
Cruising speed: 184 kt / 341 km/h
Service ceiling: 35597 ft / 10850 m
Cruising altitude: 20013 ft / 6100 m
Wing load: 31.57 lb/sq.ft / 154.0 kg/sq.m
Maximum range: 843 nm / 1561 km
Range: 400 nm / 740 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 4x 20mm MG

Canadian Car and Foundry Co Hurricane Mk 1
Engine: British-made Rolls-Royce Merlin III
Armament: eight .303 Browning machine guns.

Canadian Car and Foundry Co Hurricane Mk X (British-built Mk 1)

Packard Merlin 28
Armament: 8 x Brownings

Canadian Car and Foundry Co Hurricane Mk XII ( British-built Mk. IIB)

Packard Merlin 29
Armament: 12 x Brownings

Canadian Car and Foundry Co Sea Hurricane XIIA

Engine: Merlin 29
Armament: eight gun


Merlin XX

Merlin XX