The doughty Hawker Hurricane single-seat fighter is famous for destroying more enemy aircraft than any other Allied fighter during; World War II. Designed by Sydney Camm, it made its maiden flight in November 1935. When the Hurricane entered service in December 1937, it was the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) first monoplane fighter and its first aircraft with a top speed greater than 300mph. The eight-gun armament was also unprecedented. Yet, with a tubular metal frame covered in wood and fabric, it was structurally a trifle old-fashioned compared with its all-metal contemporaries.
The Hurricane was soon upstaged by the introduction of the more glamorous Spitfire, which was superior in speed and climb. But the Hurricane was easier to build and repair, and its sturdy structure could absorb substantial punishment. Although the Spitfire took the glory, it was the Hurricane that proved the mainstay of RAF Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain in 1940. No fewer than 1,7 I 5 were flown during that epic conflict, and four-fifths of the enemy aircraft destroyed fell to their guns. Various versions of the Hurricane emerged during the course of the war, with upgraded engines and adapted to a wide variety of roles, including ground attack and anti-tank missions. In total, more than 14,000 Hurricanes were produced.