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The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–1940s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Supermarine Spitfire's role during Battle of Britain in 1940, the Hurricane actually inflicted 60 percent of the losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in the engagement. The Hurricane went on to fight in all the major theatres of The Second World Wa
The Hurricane originated from discussions during the early 1930s between RAF officials and British aircraft designer Sir Sydney Camm on the topic of a proposed monoplane derivative of the Hawker Fury biplane. Despite an institutional preference at the time for biplanes and repeated lack of interest by the Air Ministry, Hawker chose to continue refining their monoplane proposal, which resulted in the incorporation of several innovations that would become critical to wartime fighter aircraft, including retractable undercarriage and a more powerful engine in the form of the newly developed Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. In late 1934, the Air Ministry placed an order for Hawker's "Interceptor Monoplane". On 6 November 1935, the prototype Hurricane, K5083, performed its maiden flight.
In June 1936, the Hurricane was ordered into production by the Air Ministry; it entered squadron service on 25 December 1937. The manufacture and maintenance of the aircraft was eased by its use of conventional construction methods, which enabled squadrons to perform many major repairs themselves without external support. The Hurricane was rapidly procured prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, when the RAF had 18 Hurricane-equipped squadrons in service. The aircraft was relied upon to defend against the numerous and varied German aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe, including dogfighting with the capable Messerschmitt Bf 109, across multiple theatres of action.
The Hurricane evolved through several versions and adaptations, as bomber-interceptors, fighter-bombers and ground support aircraft in addition to fighters. Further navalised versions, which were popularly known as the Sea Hurricane, had modifications enabling their operation from ships. Some were converted to be used as catapult-launched convoy escorts. By the end of production in July 1944, 14,487 Hurricanes had been completed in Britain and Canada.