Aircraft Wiki
Hawker Hurricane Mk I[1]
300px-Hurricane mk1 r4118 fairford arp

Hurricane R4118 in flight[2]

Origin Hawker Aircraft
Type Single Seat Fighter
Engine 1,030hp Rolls Royce Merlin II
Fuel 94 Imperial gallons (427 litres)[3]
Span 40ft (12.19m)
Length 31ft 5in (9.58m)
Height 13ft 1in (4m)[1] 12ft 11 1/2in (3.95m)[4]
Empty 4,670lb (2,118kg)[1] 5,085lb (2,307kg)[4]
Loaded 6,600lb (2,994kg)[1] 6,661lb (3,021kg)[4]
Speed 318mph (511km/h)[1] 316mph (508km/h)[4]
Service Ceiling 36,000ft (10,973m)
Range 460 miles (740km)[1] 600 miles (965 km)[4]
Armament Eight 0.303in Browning machine guns with 333rpg
First Flight (Production Mk I) 12 October 1937
End of Production (All versions) September 1944
End of service
Operators (Mk I) Great Britain, Belgium, Canada, Yugoslavia
Number Produced (all versions)12,780 (Plus 1,451 in Canada)

The Hawker Hurricane was one of the most common British aircraft early in World War II, and one of the most effective throughout the war. It was made famous by its role in the Battle of Britain where it primarily fought German bombers (mainly Ju 88 and He 111) while Spitfire fighters engaged German escort fighters. (mainly Bf 109s and Me 110) The Hurricane was produced between 1937 and 1944 and 14,533 were built. Later in the war the Hurricane was used as a Fighter-bomber before it was eventually retired.


Originally designed by Sidney Camm as the Fury Monoplane, with Rolls Royce Goshawk engune and spatted undercarriage, the Hurricane was altered on the drawing board to have a Merlin engine, inwardly retracting undercarriage and the unprecedented armament of eight machine guns. The Air Ministry wrote Specification F.36/34 around the aircraft, and reacted to tests with the prototype by ordering 600 in June 1936. There were 497 in service with 18 squadrons when war was declared in September 1939, increasing to 2,309 with 32 squadrons by 7 August 1940. Gloster's[N 1] output in 1940 was 130 per month, by which time the Hurricane I was in service with metal wings and three blade variable pitch (later constant speed) propeller. In the hectic days of 1940 the Hurricane was found to be an ideal bomber destroyer, with steady sighting and devastating cone of fire; turn radius was better than that of any other monoplane fighter, but the all round performance of the Bf 109 was considerably higher.[6]

A Hurricane Mk I airframe was flown with a 1,300hp two staged supercharged Merlin XX on 11 June 1940, becoming the prototype for the Mk II, with initial Srs I examples - retaining the wings of the Mk I - commencing deliveries in September 1940. These were followed by Srs II aircraft with strengthening for later wings, featuring universal attachment points to allow the carriage of external stores, and an extra fuselage bay. These were themselves followed by the IIB, with 12 machine guns, and the IIC, with four 20mm Hispano cannon. A specialised variant, the IID, was fitted with a pair of 40mm guns under the wings for anti tank work, retaining a single 0.303in (7.7mm) machine gun in each wing for sighting purposes. The IIE - later Hurricane IV - was a dedicated ground attack version with a universal armament wing permitting carriage of 40mm cannon, bombs or rockets, which first flew on 14 March 1943, with 794 production examples using the 1,620hp Merlin 24 or 27.

Early in 1941, the adaptation of the Hurricane for naval use was initiated by the fitting of V Frame arrestor hooks and catapult spools for trials, with some 300 Hurricanes assigned for conversion. The first 50, known as Sea Hurricane IAs, only received catapult spools for launching from CAM Ships, with the rest being fitted with spools and hooks as Sea Hurricane IBs. In early 1942 these were joined by Sea Hurricane ICs - basically navalised late model Hurricane Is fitted with Hurricane IIC outer wing panels carrying 20mm Hispano cannon. They were followed in late 1942 by the Sea Hurricane IIC conversion of the Hurricane IIC. 600 examples of various marks were in FAA inventory by mid 1942, but the type had been superseded in most FAA squadrons by the end of 1943, with the last FAA Sea Hurricane unit disembarking in April 1944.[3]

Other Users[]

As well as the RAF, Hurricane Mk Is were also delivered to the air arms of Turkey (15), Romania (12), Poland (1), Finland (12), Yugoslavia (24, plus 20 - out of 100 ordered - built by Zmaj) and Belgium (15 out of 20 purchased, plus 3 - out of 80 ordered - built by Avions Fairey). Almost 3,000 Mk IIs were later passed to the Soviet Union.[7]


Due to the lack of airworthy Hurricanes available during filming of the miniseries Piece of Cake, the producers were forced to use various versions of Supermarine Spitfire. A plan to use reduced size replicas - presumably Sindlinger Hawker Hurricanes - was dropped due to the flat four engine producing an unrealistic nose shape.[8] [9]



  1. Gloster was part of the Hawker Siddeley Group since the late 1930's, which led to them producing the majority of Hawker Typhoons built.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War Two.
  2. Wikipedia
  3. 3.0 3.1 Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. 2001. Pages 286-287. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Complete Fighters pp286-287" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. 2001. Page 285.
  5. Bridgeman, Leonard. 1945/46 (1988).
  6. Gunston, Bill. 1988. Pages 44/46.
  7. Green and Swanborough. 2001. Page 285
  8. How They Made Piece of Cake.
  9. For information about the Sindlinger aircraft, see the aircraft's entry on Wikipedia.


  • Bridgeman, Leonard. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1945/46 (Reprinted 1988 as Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II)
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. Complete Book of Fighters. Salamander Books. 2001. ISBN 1-84065-269-1
  • Gunston, Bill. Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. Salamander Books. 1988. ISBN 0-86101-390-5