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, which led to the Air Ministry writing Specification F.36/34 around the aircraft.
Following submission of the detailed design on September 4 1934, and inspection of a full-size mock-up on January 10 1935, the Air Ministry agreed a contract dated February 21 1935 for a single 'high-speed monoplane' envisaged with two Vickers Mk V machine guns in the fuselage and two Browning guns in the wings. On July 20 1935 the armament listed in the contract was changed to eight wing mounted Brownings. The prototype was allocated the serial number K5083, and moved on October 23 1935 from Kingston to Brooklands, making it's first flight in the hands of Hawker's Chief test pilot, P. W. S. Bulman on November 6. In February 1936, the aircraft was transferred to the A&AEE at Martlesham Heath for official trails. 
The Air Ministry reacted to tests with the prototype by ordering 600 in June 1936, resulting in 497 being 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.
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, 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 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.
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.
- ↑ Gloster was part of the Hawker Siddeley Group since the late 1930's, which led to them producing the majority of Hawker Typhoons built.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Gunston, Bill. 1988. Pages 44/46.
- ↑ Green, William. Fighters 1975. Page 268
- ↑ Bridgeman, Leonard. 1945/46 (1988).
- ↑ Green and Swanborough. 2001. Pages 286-287
- ↑ Green and Swanborough. 2001. Page 285
- Bridgeman, Leonard. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1945/46 (Reprinted 1988 as Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II)
- Green, William. Famous Fighters of the Second World War. Book Club Associates. 1975.
- 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
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