A little bit of background on the Hawker Sea Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. Some versions were built in Canada by the Canada Car and Foundry Co Ltd.
Sea Hurricane Mk IA
The Sea Hurricane Mk IA was a Hurricane Mk I modified by General Aircraft Limited. They were modified to be carried by CAM ships (catapult armed merchantman). These were cargo ships equipped with a catapult for launching an aircraft, but without facilities to recover them. Thus, if the aircraft were not in range of a land base, pilots were forced to bail out and be picked up by the ship. They were informally known as “Hurricats”.
The majority of the aircraft modified had suffered wear-and-tear from 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. A total of 50 aircraft were converted from Hurricane Mk Is. CAM launched Hurricanes were used on 8 operational sorties and the Hurricanes shot down 6 enemy aircraft, for the loss of only one Hurricane pilot killed. The first Sea Hurricane 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 enabling aircraft to be launched and recovered. A total of 340 aircraft were converted. The first Sea Hurricane IB kill occurred on 31 July 1941, when Sea Hurricanes of 880 squadron, operating from HMS Furious shot down a Do 18 flying-boat. The Fleet Air Arm preferred the lighter de Havilland propellers over the Rotol types; it was found during tests that the Rotol unit could lead to the nose dipping during arrested landings, causing the propeller blades to “peck” the carrier deck. The lighter de Havilland units avoided this problem.
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 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 5 kills while flying a Sea Hurricane IC during Operation Pedestal.
Sea Hurricane Mk IIC
Hurricane Mk IIC version equipped with catapult spools, an arrester hook and full naval avionics; 400 aircraft were converted and used on fleet and escort 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 13,500ft and 342 mph at 22,000 ft.
Sea Hurricane Mk XIIA
Canadian-built Hurricane Mk XIIA converted into Sea Hurricanes equipped with catapult spools and arrester hook.