had always been pre-eminent in fighter design since the first world war,
and were responsible for a series of biplane fighters culminating in the
Fury, the RAF's first 200 mph fighter. During talks with the Air Ministry,
Hawker's chief designer Sydney Camm began to think about the next generation
of RAF fighter. It would need a top speed in excess of 300 mph and enough
hitting power to knock down an enemy bomber in the limited time allowed.
Hawker's and Camm always followed a policy of evolution, rather than radical
innovation and the starting point for the new fighter was the Hawker
Fury and was initially called the Fury monoplane.
aircraft that emerged retained the steel tube method of construction which
was a Hawker trademark and was largely fabric covered. Although anachronistic
in the coming age of stressed steel monocoque construction the new fighter
was exceptionally easy to build. It also embodied many innovative features
such as a retractable undercarriage and enclosed cockpit and was armed
with eight wing mounted Browning machine guns. Power was supplied by the
new Rolls Royce PV12, or Merlin as was to be called.
new fighter, now named, Hurricane made it's first flight in November 1935
and deliveries of the Hawker Hurricane MK1 began to 111 Squadron in 1937
with production escalating rapidly with the prospect of war becoming a
reality. Improvements were made to the Hurricane to enhance it's performance,
the Watts two bladed propellor was replaced with variable pitch, three
bladed metal propellors and the fabric covered wings were replaced with
metal skinned examples.
the outbreak of war the Hurricane was heavilly involved in the disasterous
Norwegian campaign and the battle of France and began to carve a reputation
as a formidable weapon. The Hurricane will always be associated with the
Battle of Britain and was the RAF's main fighter type outnumbering the
Spitfire 2:1 and destroying twice as many enemy aircraft as the Spitfire.
Battle of Britain was at it's height when a new version of the Hurricane,
the mark II was introduced which was powered by the more powerful Merlin
XX. Initially the eight gun armament was retained, later to be increased
to twelve guns. The most effective armament was later found to be four
20 mm Hispano cannon and as the Hurricane became obsolete as an air superiority
fighter it found a new and impressive career as a strike aircraft which
could carry a wide variety of under wing stores such as the Hurricane
IID which carried a pair of Vickers 40mm S cannon and was used for
Hurricane although never the fastest or most glamourous fighter of the
second world war was loved for it's viceless handling qualities, it's
amazing structural strength, agility in combat and steadiness as a gun
platform. Because the Hurricane could be built quickly and easilly it
was always available in large numbers wherever the fighting was hardest,
the western desert, Malta, Russia, and the Far East. Because of this Hurricane
pilots destroyed more German, Italian and Japanese aircraft than any other
allied fighter in the second world war.
level speed: 328 mph at 18000 ft.
Weight: (empty): 5467lbs.
Powerplant:One Rolls Royce Merlin XX, 1460 hp.
Armament: four twenty mm Hispano cannon, two 500lb bombs, or eight 60lb
rocket projectiles, or two 40mm Vickers S Cannon.