Hawker Hurricane

The Hawker Hurricane was the first modern monoplane fighter to enter service with a British Commonwealth air force. It resulted from a private project by the Hawker aircraft company to develop the Fury biplane fighter, and was flown for the first time on 6 November 1935. With eight wing-mounted machine-guns, the Hurricane packed a punch not hitherto seen in fighter aircraft. The first Hurricanes entered service with Britain's Royal Air Force in January 1938, and by the time of the Battle of Britain in mid-1940 they provided the backbone of its fighter force. Hurricanes were responsible for 75% of all air combat victories during the Battle of Britain, and destroyed more German aircraft during 1940 than all other British types combined.

Even in 1940, however, the Hurricane's performance was inferior to that of German fighters, and as improved British fighters became available it was adapted and re-armed for other roles - principally ground support. The Hurricane's robust construction made it ideally suited to this work and it was employed extensively in the Middle East and Burma, and with the Soviet air force on the Eastern Front. The last Hurricane was manufactured in September 1944, by which time 14,159 had been produced in Britain and Canada.

The only Royal Australian Air Force squadron to operate Hurricanes was 3 Squadron, and only a single Hurricane was ever flown in Australia. Numerous Australian pilots, however, flew Hurricanes in the RAF, particularly in Burma.


Hawker Hurricane Mk I

Type:   Fighter
Entered service:   1938
Crew:   1
Wing span:   12.19 m
Length:   9.54 m
Weight (laden):   2,820 kg
Ceiling:   10,424 m
Endurance:   Maximum range 547 km
Speed:   515 km/h
Armament:   8 x .303-in machine-guns

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