Hawker-CCF Sea Hurricane MK.1b
Canadian Built Royal Navy WWII Single-Engine Single-Seat Low-Wing Ship-Borne Monoplane Fighter, UK

Archive Photos 1

Hawker-CCF Sea Hurricane Mk.1B (G-BKTH, Z7015, c/n CCF/41H/4013, 1939) on display (c.1994) at the Imperial Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England

Overview 2

Aircraft Carrier Operations 2

The Sea Hurricane became operational in mid-1941 and scored its first kill while operating from HMS Furious on 31 July 1941. During the next three years, Fleet Air Arm Sea Hurricanes were to feature prominently while operating from Royal Navy aircraft carriers. The Sea Hurricane scored an impressive kill-to-loss ratio, primarily while defending Malta convoys, and operating from escort carriers in the Atlantic Ocean. As an example, on 26 May 1944, Royal Navy Sea Hurricanes operating from the escort carrier HMS Nairana claimed the destruction of three Ju.290 reconnaissance aircraft during the defense of a convoy.

See Hurricane Variants 2

Sea Hurricane Mk.IA: The Sea Hurricane Mk.IA was a Hurricane Mk.I modified by General Aircraft Limited. These conversions numbered approximately 250 aircraft. They were modified to be carried by CAM ships (catapult armed merchantman), whose ships’ crews were Merchant Marine and whose Hurricanes were crewed and serviced by RAF personnel, or Fighter Catapult Ships, which were Naval Auxiliary Vessels crewed by naval personnel and aircraft operated by the Fleet Air Arm. These ships were equipped with a catapult for launching an aircraft, but without facilities to recover them. Consequently, if the aircraft were not in range of a land base, pilots were forced to bail out or to ditch. Both of these options had their problems - there was always a chance of striking part of the fuselage when bailing out and a number of pilots had been killed in this way. Ditching the Hurricane Mk.I in the sea called for skill as the radiator housing acted as a water brake, pitching the nose of the fighter downwards when it hit the water, while also acting as very efficient scoop, helping to flood the Hurricane so that a quick exit was advisable before the aircraft sank. Then the pilot had to be picked up by the ship. More than 80 modifications were needed to convert a Hurricane Mk.I into a Sea Hurricane, including new radios to conform with those used by the Fleet Air Arm and new instrumentation to read in knots rather than miles per hour. They were informally known as "Hurricats". The majority of the aircraft modified had suffered wear-and-tear serving with front line squadrons, so much so that at least one example used during trials broke up under the stress of a catapult launching. CAM Sea Hurricanes were launched operationally on eight occasions and the Hurricanes shot down six enemy aircraft for the loss of one Hurricane pilot killed. The first Sea Hurricane Mk.IA kill was an FW.200C Condor, shot down on 2 August 1941.

Sea Hurricane Mk.IB: Hurricane Mk.I version equipped with catapult spools plus an arrester hook. From July 1941 they operated from HMS Furious and from October 1941, they were used on Merchant aircraft carrier (MAC ships), which were large cargo vessels with a flight deck fitted, enabling aircraft to be launched and recovered. A total of 340 aircraft were converted. The first Sea Hurricane Mk.IB kill occurred on 31 July 1941 when Sea Hurricanes of 880 squadron FAA operating from HMS Furious shot down a Do.18 flying-boat.

Sea Hurricane Mk.IC: Hurricane Mk.I version equipped with catapult spools, an arrester hook and the four-cannon wing. From February 1942, 400 aircraft were converted. The Sea Hurricane Mk.IC used during Operation Pedestal had their Merlin III engines modified to accept 16 lb boost, and could generate more than 1400 hp at low altitude. Lt. R. J. Cork was credited with five kills while flying a Sea Hurricane Mk.IC during Operation Pedestal.

Sea Hurricane Mk.IIC: Hurricane Mk.IIC version equipped with naval radio gear; 400 aircraft were converted and used on fleet carriers. The Merlin XX engine on the Sea Hurricane generated 1460 hp at 6,250 ft and 1435 hp at 11,000 ft. Top speed was 322 mph at 13,500 ft and 342 mph at 22,000 ft.

Sea Hurricane Mk.XIIA: Canadian-built Hurricane Mk.XIIA converted into Sea Hurricanes. Hillson F.40 (a.k.a. F.H.40) A full-scale version of the Hills & Son Bi-mono slip-wing Biplane/monoplane, using a Hawker Hurricane Mk.I returned from Canada as RCAF ser no 321 (RAF serial L1884). Taxi and flight trials carried out at RAF Sealand during May 1943, and at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down from September 1943. The upper wing was not released in flight before the program was terminated due to poor performance.


  1. Shupek, John. Photos, copyright © 1994 John Shupek/Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Hawker Hurricane

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