Hawker Hurricane

British fighter plane and fighter-bomber Hawker Hurricane

Hurricane I in formation with two Spitfires

Idyllic study of a Hurricane I (one of a batch of 600 built by Gloster) in formation with two Spitfires from a batch of 1,000 Mk IIAs and IIBs built at Castle Bromwich. The photograph was taken in 1942 when hundreds of these former front-line machines were standard equipment at OTUs (Operational Training Units).

Hawker Hurricane I to XII, Sea Hurricane IA to XIIA.
Type: British fighter planes; later, fighter-bomber, tank buster and ship-based fighter.


Until well into 1941 the Hawker Hurricane was by far the most numerous of the RAF’s combat aircraft and it bore the brunt of the early combats with the Luftwaffe over France and Britain.

Designed by Camm as a Fury Monoplane, with Goshawk engine and spatted landing gear, it was altered on the drawing board to have the more powerful PV.12 (Merlin) and inwards-retracting gear and, later, to have not four machine guns but the unprecedented total of eight. The Air Ministry wrote Specification F.36/34 around it and after tests with the prototype ordered the then-fantastic total of 600 in June 1936.

In September 1939 the 497 delivered equipped 18 squadrons and by 7 August 1940 no fewer than 2,309 had been delivered, compared with 1,383 Spitfires, equipping 32 squadrons, compared with 18 1/2 Spitfire squadrons.

Gloster’s output in 1940 was 130 per month. By this time the Hurricane I was in service with new metal-skinned wings, instead of fabric, and three-blade variable pitch (later constant-speed) propeller instead of the wooden Watts two-blader. In the hectic days of 1940 the Hawker 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 Me 109 E was considerably higher.

The more powerful Mk II replaced the 1,030hp Merlin II by the 1,280hp Merlin XX and introduced new armament and drop tanks. In North West Europe it became a ground-attack aircraft and in North Africa a tank-buster with 40mm guns against German Panzer III and Panzer IV.

While operating from merchant-ship catapults and carriers it took part in countless fleet-defence actions, the greatest being the defence of the August 1942 Malta convoy, when 70 Sea Hurricanes fought off more than 600 Axis attackers, destroying 39 for the loss of seven fighters.

The Hurricane was increasingly transferred to the Far East, Africa and other theatres, and 2,952 were dispatched to Russia, same receiving skis. Hurricanes were used for many special trials of armament and novel flight techniques (one having a jettisonable biplane upper wing).

Total production amounted to 12,780 in Britain and 1,451 in Canada (after 1941 with Packard Merlins) and many hundreds were exported both before and after WW2.

Users: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Finland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Yugoslavia, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Soviet Union, Turkey, UK (RAF and RN).

Pictures Hawker Hurricane

Specifications Hawker Hurricane I

Hawker Hurricane I Specification
Type fighter
Power plantone Rolls-Royce Merlin vee-12 liquid-cooled with 1,030hp
Accommodation 1
Wing span 40 ft
Length overall 32 ft
Height overall 13 ft 1 in
Weight empty4,670 lb
Weight loaded6,600 lb
Max level speed 318 mph
Initial climb2,520 ft/min
Service ceiling36,000 ft
Range 460 miles
Hawker Hurricane I Specification
in wingseight 0.303in Brownings; each with 333 rounds (Belgian model four 0.5in FN-Brownings)
Service statistics
Hawker Hurricane data
First flight (prototype) 6 November 1935
Production delivery12 October 1937 (in Canada as MkX January 1940)
Final delivery September 1944
Total production figure14,233 (of these 2,952 for Russia)
Production figure 1940c. 130 per month

Animated 3D model Hawker Hurricane I

Supremacy 1914
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