Aircraft History

Hawker Hurricane

At the outbreak of the Second World War Canada had only a handful of obsolete post First World War Siskin and Atlas biplane fighters for air defence. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) attempted to fill the void with Grumman Goblins and Curtiss Kittyhawks until Canadian industry could start producing the Hurricane built under license from Hawker in England. The Canadian Car and Foundry Company, in Fort William ON (now Thunder Bay) flew the first Canadian-built Hurricane on 9 January 1940. It differed from the British-built Mark I Hurricane by having a Packard-built Merlin engine.

Hurricane production in Canada accelerated rapidly after the initial production of Mark I's. The introduction of the Packard-built Merlin 28 engine brought a designation change to Hurricane Mark X, which was similar to the British-built Mark IIB with eight machine guns. The Hurricane Mark XI, which followed, was the first built specifically for RCAF requirements. The major production version, the Hurricane Mark XII with the Packard-built Merlin 29 engine, had a 12-gun wing. However, later production Mark XII's were equipped with four cannons and a universal wing. The Mark XIIA Hurricane was identical to the Mark XII except for having an eight-gun wing.

At the outbreak of WW II, in response to the German potential to conduct air attacks on Canada with long range Focke-Wulf 200's and aircraft launched from the converted aircraft carrier "Graf Zepplin", the RCAF established an air defence network to protect Canada's eastern air approaches and Halifax's strategic harbour. The first British-built Hurricanes appeared at RCAF Station Dartmouth in November 1939 with the arrival of No. 1 Squadron. The Squadron was transferred To England in June 1940 where it was the only Canadian squadron to participate in the historic Battle of Britain. The squadron was subsequently re-numbered 401 Squadron and went on to become the RCAF's highest scoring squadron in the Second World War.

Most of Canada's Home War Establishment fighter squadrons were equipped with Canadian produced Hurricanes. Nos. 126, 127 and 129 Hurricane Squadrons were formed at RCAF Station Dartmouth in the summer of 1942. Nos. 125 and 128 Squadrons were formed at Sydney NS while 130 Squadron was formed at Mont Joli PQ, in the summer of 1942. All of these squadrons provided air defence for the East Coast, especially Halifax's strategic harbour. These six Hurricane squadrons were disbanded at the end of the war.

Type : Single seat fighter

Wing Span: 12.19 m (40 ft )

Length : 9.82 m (32 ft 2.5 in)

Height: 3.99 m (13 ft 1 in)

Max. Speed: 550 kph (342 mph)

Service Ceiling: 11,125 m (36,500 ft)

Range: 772 km (480 miles)

Max. Weight: 3311 kg (7300 lb)

Empty Weight: 2495 kg (5500 lb)

Power Plant: One 940 kW (1260 hp) Rolls Royce Merlin XX, V-12 cylinder piston engine

Armament: 12, 7.62 mm (0.303 in) forward firing machine guns in wings plus two 113 kg (250 lb) bombs