The first monoplane fighter and the first with a top speed of over 483 km/h (300 mph) to enter RAF service, the Hawker Hurricane was designed by Sydney Camm and first flown on 6 November 1935, joining the RAF in December 1937. The Hurricane Mk I with 768-kW (1,030-hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin II and an armament of eight 7.7-mm (0.303-in) machine-guns was Fighter Command's principal fighter in the Battle of Britain in 1940, and destroyed more enemy aircraft than all other defences combined. It was followed by the Hurricane Mk IIA with 955-kW (1,280-hp) Merlin XX before the end of 1940, the Hurricane Mk IIB with 12 machine-guns and the Hurricane Mk IIC with four 20-mm cannon during 1941. These versions were also able to carry up to two 227-kg (500-lb) bombs, drop tanks or other stores under the wings; they served as fighters, fighterbombers, night-fighters, intruders and photo-reconnaissance aircraft on all fronts until 1943, and in the Far East until the end of the war. The Hurricane Mk IID introduced the 40-mm anti-tank gun in 1942. Two of these weapons were carried under the wings, and this version was particularly successful in North Africa. The Hurricane Mk IV featured a 'universal wing' which allowed carriage of up to eight 27,2-kg (60-lb) rocket projectiles or any of the external stores carried by the Mk II. It is believed 14,231 Hurricanes were produced, including 1,451 built in Canada (Hurricane Mks X, XI and XII). This total, also included many Sea Hurricane models of which early versions were catapulted from merchant ships and flown from converted merchant aircraft carriers, and later served aboard Royal Navy fleet carriers. Always regarded as somewhat slow among RAF fighters, the Hurricane was highly manoeuvrable and capable of withstanding considerable battle damage.
Specification Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC
Type: single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber
Powerplant: one 955-kW (1,280-hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V-12 piston engine
Performance: maximum speed 541 km/h (336 mph) at 3810 m (12,500 ft); climb to 6095 m (20,000 ft) in 9.1 minutes; service ceiling 10850 m (35,600 ft)