Mk-II Fighter Aircraft Technical Specifications
- Crew – 1 person
- Engine-Rolls-Royce “Merlin” XX
- Power – 1185 hp
- Wingspan-12.19 m
- The wing area is 23.92 sq. m
- Empty aircraft weight-2569 kg
- Maximum take-off weight-3649 kg
- Maximum speed – 526 km / h
- Practical ceiling – 10,970 m
- Maximum range-965 km
- Armament: 4×20-mm guns “Hispano-Suiza” Mk 1 or 4×12. 7-mm machine gun UBS; 8 NURS RS-82
- The maximum bomb load is 450 kg.
Mk-II Fighter Aircraft Details
“Hurricane “(Hurricane) – one of the main fighters of the British Air Force during the Second World War, was developed by the chief designer of the famous English aviation company Hawker Aircraft Ltd Sidney Kemm in 1934. The first flight of a prototype of the new British fighter, called the Hurricane, took place on November 6, 1935, and on June 3, 1936, Hawker received an initial order for the supply of 600 Hurricane I aircraft for the Royal Air Force of Great Britain (RAF).
The British single-seat Hurricane fighter was an all-metal monoplane of mixed construction (with only the skin of the tail parts of the wing and fuselage was plain) with a retractable landing gear. However, even at the time of its creation, the Hurricane, despite its higher speed compared to the biplane fighters in service with the British Air Force, was outdated. Its power frame was made using the same technology as the biplane frame, where rivets were preferred to welded joints. Initially, its rather thick wing consisted of two spars and was also covered with fabric. On the first version of this aircraft, a Rolls-Royce Merlin II V-shaped liquid-cooled engine with a capacity of 1030 hp and a two-bladed fixed-pitch propeller were installed.
In April 1939, Hawker Aircraft Ltd began work on upgrading its fighter jet. Its improved version of the Hurricane II received a reinforced Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine with a power of 1,185 hp and a three-bladed Rotol R. X. 5/2 fixed-pitch propeller, which increased the speed of the aircraft to 526 km / h (with its mass of 3,034 kg). It also received enhanced armament; a duralumin metal wing skin and additional armor. In the same way, previously released samples were finalized. Already in September 1940, the Royal Air Force began to receive Hurricane II fighters in several versions: with eight 7.71-mm Browning Mk. II air throwers (Model II A); with twelve 7.71-mm Browning Mk. II machine guns (model II B); with four 20-mm Hispano-Suiza Mk1 guns and the ability to suspend up to 454 kg of aerial bombs (Model II C). Some of the machines were made in a tropical version and were equipped with an air filter. A number of Hurricane II D aircraft were equipped with two 40 mm Vickers Type S anti-tank guns in underwing nacelles and two 7.71 mm Browning Mk machine guns. II in the wing (after replacing the engine and improving the booking, the Model II D was renamed Hurricane IV).
By the beginning of the Second World War, Hurricane fighter aircraft were in service with 19 squadrons of the British Air Force. Their ease of maintenance, wide chassis track, and good flight characteristics allowed the Hurricane to be widely used in those theaters of military operations of the Second World War, where reliability, ease of operation and a stable platform for weapons were more important than flight characteristics, for example, as an attack aircraft. From the second half of 1941, Hurricane fighters began to be used in large numbers in other theaters of war, far from Great Britain. This machine had high survivability, was technologically advanced in production, which made it possible to establish its production in wartime at non-aviation enterprises.
In August 1941, Winston Churchill proposed that Stalin supply 200 Hurricane fighters to the Red Army as part of the military assistance program to the Soviet Union. During this most difficult time, the USSR needed all the help from its allies. Already on August 28, 1941, 24 Hurricane Mk.IIB fighters from the 151st RAF Air Wing landed at Vaenga airfield near Murmansk, taking off from the deck of the British aircraft carrier Argus. Soon they were joined by 15 more aircraft delivered and assembled in Arkhangelsk by British specialists. The British group in the Soviet Union consisted of two squadrons. The task of the British pilots was to help the Soviet pilots master new technology. However, they soon joined the combat work, which included joint patrols of the Arctic air space with Soviet pilots; covering convoys and ports where cargo delivered under the Lend-lease program arrived. And since September 1941, the Hurricane fighters began to be delivered to the USSR under the Lend-lease program, and only its second model, the Hurricane II, was delivered to the Soviet Union in variants IIA and IIB, which differed in the number of machine guns.
On the Hurricane IIA, 8 non-synchronous 7.71 mm Browning Mk II machine guns were installed in the wings, and on the Hurricane IIB-12 of the same machine guns. Additionally, Hurricane II aircraft could carry 2 bombs weighing 250 or 500 pounds, although this reduced the maximum speed of flight, or two outboard fuel tanks of 45 halons (205 liters). These aircraft were delivered to the USSR by several routes, mainly via Murmansk, with polar convoys, and some of the “Hurricanes” -transferred from British air units stationed in the Middle East and from the British Air Force reserves in North-West India-went through Iran.
In the winter of 1941 / 1942, when most of the Hurricanes were delivered to the USSR, the Soviet Air Force experienced a huge shortage of modern aircraft. The mass appearance of “Hurricanes” on the Soviet-German front occurred in the spring and summer of 1942. They were widely used in naval aviation in the Northern and Baltic Fleets; in Air Force aviation regiments on the Karelian, Kalinin, North-Western, Voronezh fronts, as well as in air defense regiments. In total, the Hurricane aircraft entered the formation of 29 air regiments, which accounted for 5.2% of all fighter air regiments formed during the war. These aircraft showed their best qualities at the front, so, on the Hurricane, he fought in the Northern Fleet
Hero of the Soviet Union B. F. Safonov (who won 25 personal victories and 14 group victories on the I-16, MiG-3 and Hurricane fighters). However, the British “Hurricanes” had many significant shortcomings that determined their heavy losses, and with the advent of new Soviet aircraft, the lag of the “Hurricanes” became even more noticeable. In 1942, among the fighters lost by the Soviet Air Force, there were about 8% of Hurricanes, which exceeded their share in the total fleet. Soviet pilots did not speak about the Hurricane in the best way, especially about its ability to conduct combat on verticals:”…The pilots who flew the Hurricanes, with all their diligence and ingenuity, could not get close to the enemy aircraft on the catch-up, perform favorable maneuvers in battle – they were forced to open fire from long distances from random positions. In short, the British machine clearly lagged behind the requirements of modern combat… “It was difficult for even an experienced pilot to resist the lighter and faster German fighters on the Hurricane. Moreover, such an attitude to the Hurricane was widespread among Soviet pilots. Therefore, many Soviet aircraft mechanics and engineers tried their best to somehow improve the combat characteristics of this aircraft. Many changes in armament were made to its design in the field even before the start of the official modernization program of the aircraft. So, 7.71-mm Browning machine guns were replaced by Soviet 12.7-mm large-caliber UBK machine guns; suspension for 4-8 M-82 rocket shells was mounted; and 20-mm SHVAK air guns were installed on some aircraft. Work was also carried out to improve the booking of the cockpit, so, in the field, instead of armored plates mounted on the Hurricanes, armored seats were installed, dismantled from the I-16. Changes were made to the cooling system, but, in the end, the Hurricane’s own antifreeze was replaced with Soviet grades that worked better at low temperatures. The combat capability of the Hurricanes was also declining due to a lack of spare parts. So, there was a great shortage of wooden propellers, which not only broke when flying (landing accidents), cracked from bullets, but were also damaged by stones on takeoff. At times, due to the lack of propellers, up to 50% of the delivered Hurricane aircraft were forced to stand idle at airfields. In the end, to solve this problem, in March – April 1942, the Soviet Union launched the production of spare blades for English propellers. At the same time, this fighter had a number of advantages. So, despite some bulkiness, the plane was simple and obedient in piloting. Pilots liked the small load on the aircraft’s control stick, and the rudder trimmer was very effective. “Hurricane” also easily and steadily performed various aerobatics, being quite accessible to medium-skilled pilots, which was important in wartime conditions. The plane had a spacious cabin with good visibility. A great advantage was the complete radio identification of incoming Hurricanes (while on Soviet fighters of that time radio transmitters were supposed to be installed on every third plane). But since the English radio stations were powered by batteries (although these aircraft were also equipped with batteries), in winter, especially in the North, their charge was only enough for 1.5-2 hours of operation.
Tests of the Hurricanes IIA and IIB, conducted in the Soviet Union at the Air Force Research Institute, showed that they have good aerobatic qualities and horizontal maneuver characteristics. But due to the mediocre aerodynamic properties, with a relatively small specific load on the wing, their speed qualities, rate of climb and vertical maneuver were noticeably worse than those of the Soviet Yak-1 fighters and the German Messeschmitt Bf 109. In addition, due to the small caliber of machine guns, the armament of the Hurricanes IIA and IIB was considered insufficiently effective by the pilots. Therefore, in March 1942, a complete modernization of the armament of the Hurricane aircraft was carried out: two Soviet 12.7-mm UBS heavy machine guns and two 20-mm SHVAK air guns were installed on them. New powerful weapons have expanded the capabilities of the Hurricane both in air combat and in actions against ground targets. Therefore, the Hurricane was often used as a fighter-bomber and partly as an attack aircraft. With the receipt of a significant number of modern aircraft types from the domestic aviation industry, the British Hurricanes gradually ceased to be used at the front as fighters. A small number of them were used as scouts and spotters. At the Saratov Higher Aviation Gliding School, the Hurricanes were converted to tow the A-7 and G-11 amphibious gliders. They made several glider flights to the partisans. But the main area of use of “Hurricanes” in the Soviet Union in the second half of the Great Patriotic War remained fighter aviation regiments of air defense. There “Hurricanes” began to arrive almost from December 1941, and since the end of 1942, this process has accelerated dramatically. This was facilitated by the arrival from England in 1943-1944 of gun versions of the Hurricane IIC aircraft with four 20-mm Hispano-Suiza Mk1 or Oerlikon guns with drum power. At that time, no Soviet fighter aircraft had such powerful weapons (the second salvo was 5,616 kg). If on July 1, 1943, there were 495 Hurricanes in the air defense system, then on June 1, 1944 – already 711. They served there with dignity until the end of the war, on their combat account-252 enemy aircraft.
In 1944, some of the vehicles of this type were used in the air defense as illuminators to repel night raids. Usually, the Hurricane took two SAB-100 light bombs and dropped them, being 2000-2500 m above enemy bombers. The attack of the illuminated bombers was carried out by a strike group. In different air defense regiments, 2 – 4 Hurricane fighters were kept for this purpose.
The production of Hurricane fighters was carried out in 1936-1944 by the British aviation firms Hawker (in Langley and Brooklands), Gloster (Brockworth) and Austin Motors (Longsbridge), as well as the Canadian Car & Foundry (Montreal). A total of 14,533 fighters were built. Of these, during the Great Patriotic War, 2,866 (according to other sources-2,952) Hurricane fighters were delivered to the Soviet Union as British military aid under Lend – lease, including 210 Model IIA aircraft; 1557 – models IIB and similar-models X, XI, XII (manufactured by the Canadian company Canadian Car & Foundry and partially equipped with American equipment); 1009 cars-models IIC; 60 aircraft – IID and 30 – type IV.
On the open area of weapons and military equipment of the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, a mock-up of the Hurricane IIA fighter aircraft (tail number 11), which was part of the Northern Fleet Air Force in 1942-1944, is displayed, created using authentic fragments: the fuselage truss, center section, engine compartment hoods and landing gear.