Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB

Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB

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Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB

The Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB was the first version of the aircraft to be designed for use of aircraft carriers, and was equipped with an arrester hook as well as the catapult spools and naval radio of the Mk IA. The first Hurricane to be equipped with an arrestor hook was delivered to Farnborough in March 1941 and underwent trials while work focused on the catapult-launched Mk IA. A conversion order was then placed for around 300 Mk IBs, with most of the work to be carried out by General Aircraft Ltd. Most of these aircraft used the Merlin III engine and the eight-gun wing, and were sometimes known as the Hooked Hurricane. In November 1941 twenty-five Hurricane IIA Series 2 aircraft were converted to the same standard, keeping the Mk IB designation, but also being known as the Hooked Hurricane II.

The Sea Hurricane Mk IB was the first high performance aircraft to enter Fleet Air Arm service in significant numbers (the Grumman Martlet also appeared at about the same time, but in small numbers). The Sea Hurricane did have one big flaw as a carrier aircraft - it didn't have folding wings, and so on smaller carriers had to be stored on deck. This reduced the number of aircraft that could be carried, and also shortened the operational life of each aircraft as expose to sea water damaged the airframe. Despite these flaws the Sea Hurricane Mk IB was used in large numbers, equipping 32 Fleet Air Arm squadrons.

The Mk IB entered service in October 1941, operating from converted merchant ships - the MAC-ships. These ships had a small through-flight deck, and could carry a small number of fighters and anti-submarine aircraft - often the Sea Hurricane and Fairey Swordfish.

The first Arctic convoy to be accompanied by an escort carrier was PQ18, the first convoy after the disastrous PQ17. PQ18 was escorted by the US-built escort carrier HMS Avenger, which carried three Swordfish from 825 Squadron and twelve Sea Hurricanes from 802 and 883 Squadrons - six assembled on deck and six dismantled and stored below deck as replacements. The convoy also included the CAM-ship Empire Morn and her Sea Hurricane Mk IA, a cruiser, two destroyers, two anti-aircraft vessels, four corvettes, two anti-submarine trawlers, three minesweepers and two submarines. On the outwards journey the Sea Hurricanes shot down five enemy aircraft and damaged seventeen, in return for four losses. These were replaced with five aircraft from below decks, before the carrier transferred to the home-bound convoy QP14, which contained the survivors from PQ17.

The Sea Hurricane Mk IB and Mk IC played an important role in the defence of the August 1942 Malta convoy (Operational Pedestal). The convoy was escorted by four aircraft carriers with Indomitable (800 Squadron), Eagle (801 Squadron) and Victorious (885 Squadron) carrying 43 Sea Hurricanes between them. There were also sixteen Fairey Fulmars and nine Grumman Mantlets. The convoy began badly with the loss of HMS Eagle, along with sixteen of her Hurricanes - the only four to escape were on Combat Air Patrol (CAP) duty over the convoy. Between 10-15 August the convoy came under attack by up to 500 German and Italian aircraft. 39 enemy aircraft were claimed shot down at a cost of eight naval fighters lost. Only five of the convoy's fourteen merchant ships reached Malta, but the supplies they carried played a crucial role in allowing the island to withstand the Axis siege. The fighting around the Pedestal convoy did demonstrate one increasing problem for the Sea Hurricane - although it had been a high performance fighter when introduced, it was already being outpaced by the Junkers Ju 88, and the Fleet Air Arm would soon need a faster interceptor.

Sea Hurricane IB Carrier Service








Pegasus, Eagle, Argus, Furious, Dasher








Chaser, Nairana


Furious, Indomitable







Escort Carrier fighter
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin III
Power: 1,030hp
Crew: 1
Wing span: 40ft
Length: 31ft 4in
Height: 12ft 11.5in
Normal Loaded Weight: 7,410lb
Max Speed: 317mph at 15,000ft
Cruising Speed:
Time to 20,000ft: 11 minutes
Service Ceiling: 34,200ft
Range: 505 miles
Armament: Eight 0.303in Browning machine guns
Bomb-load: none
Naval equipment: Naval radio set, A-frame arrestor hook, catapult spools

Hawker Sea Hurricane 1B

Z7015 was built by Canadian Car & Foundry and first flown on 18 January 1941. After being shipped to England it was issued to General Aircraft for conversion to Sea Hurricane IB standard. On 19 July, it was delivered to HMS Heron (RNAS Yeovilton), collected 29th July 1941 by 880 Squadron and went to the Orkney Isles. On 7 October the Squadron left to embark on HMS Indomitable but during transit Z7015 went unserviceable and was not embarked.

On 5 April 1942 the aircraft was delivered to David Rosenfield Ltd for repair. On December 7 it was delivered to the Naval Fighter School (759) Squadron at HMS Heron and by autumn 1943 had moved to Loughborough College as an instructional airframe.

In 1961 an attempt was made to make the Hurricane airworthy for the Battle of Britain film but the work involved was too great. In January 1986, the team that had restored Spitfire VC AR501 took on the task in a joint operation between the Shuttleworth Collection and the Imperial War Museum.

On 16 September 1995 Z7015 made a successful post restoration flight powered by what was, at the time, the world’s only operational Merlin III.

This is the last airworthy example of a Hawker Sea Hurricane 1B in the world, flying here regularly.

It is one of the four aircraft featured in the Shuttleworth Discovery app

Airfix Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib 1:48

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.

(Photo: Six Fleet Air Arm Hawker Sea Hurricanes operating from Yeovilton, flying in formation)

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.

(Photo: Privately-owned Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk.1b (Royal Navy code 7-L and Z7015, civilian code G-BKTH) arrives at the 2016 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, England. Built in 1939 and restored in 1995, the aircraft is displayed at Old Warden, England, as part of the Shuttleworth Collection. It is in the Fleet Air Arm colours of 880 squadron and is the only airworthy Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib in the world (as at August 2016). The Sea Hurricane 1b was a modification of the Hurricane Mk.1 with the addition of catapult spools and an arrester hook – Courtesy of Adrian Pingstone)

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.

Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB - History

War Thunder Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB and IC

Sea Hurricane Mk IB
Hurricane Mk I version equipped with catapult spools plus an arrester hook. This airplane mounted eight Browning Mk.II 303 machine guns of 7.7mm calibre. 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.

Sea Hurricane Mk IB
Versione Hurricane Mk I dotato di ganci per catapulta più un gancio di arresto. Questo aereo (WT rank II) montava 8 mitragliatrici Browning MK II 303 calibro 7.7. Dal luglio 194 operò nella HMS Furious e da ottobre 1941 vennero utilizzati sulla portaerei Merchant (navi MAC), che erano grandi navi da carico con un ponte di volo attrezzato, consentendoad un aereo per essere lanciato e recuperato. Un totale di 340 velivoli vennero convertiti.

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.[111][112] Lt. R. J. Cork was credited with five kills while flying a Sea Hurricane IC during Operation Pedestal.

Sea Hurricane Mk IC
Versione Hurricane Mk I dotato di ganci per catapulta più un gancio di arresto. Sulle ali montava quattro cannoni da 20mm. Dal febbraio 1942, 400 aerei vennero convertiti. I Sea Hurricane IC usato durante l’Operazione Pedestal avevano i loro motori Merlin III modificati per accettare 16lb di spinta, e avrebbero potuto generare più di 1400 CV a bassa quota. Lt. RJ Cork è stato accreditato con cinque uccisioni durante il volo a Sea Hurricane IC durante l’Operazione Pedestal.

Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib

It's funny, the perceived wisdom is almost always this idea that the Spitfire has somehow taken or stolen all the glory from the Hurricane. In my experience however, this is far from the actual truth. Of course I'm not trying to dispute the facts. History does indeed show that during the Battle of Britain, Hurricanes scored greater numbers of downed enemy aircraft, and was indeed there when it was needed in greater numbers, more capable of taking damage and easier to repair etc. The facts are indeed the facts, but what I have always taken exception to, is the idea that the Hurricane has been somehow overshadowed by the Spitfire. This may well have been true in the immediate aftermath of the war, but I would say that it is far from the truth now. You ask almost anybody about the subject of the Battle of Britain, and they will almost always say pretty much precisely what you have. That the Hurricane was the hero, the Spitfire was secondary etc. But surely if everybody is saying that, then surely the Hurricane is far from overshadowed. It's now pretty common knowledge that the Hurricane pulled more than it's fair share of the weight. So I reckon the Hurricane is doing pretty well on the glory front.

As it happens, I agree with you with regards to the aircraft itself though, the Hurricane is the aircraft I prefer out of the two. This has more to do with design than anything else though, she's a beautiful aircraft and she has a beauty that is somehow more down to earth so to speak than the obviously glamorous Spitfire. The Hurricane is a real aeroplane built with old fashioned methods and that really appeals to me.

What we must realise though when it comes to which aircraft won the hearts of the nation, is that the Battle of Britain came very early in a long conflict. The Hurricane may well have been the star of the show back in Summer 1940, but it simply didn't have what it took to continue on the front lines during the war and was relegated to ground attack duties pretty much immediately after. The Spitfire however was a fighter through and through, and kept up with the pace of development throughout the war. If she is loved by the British people, it is because of that. She is a symbol of freedom and British technological ability. In short the Hurricane may have been a Battle winner, but the Spitfire was a war winner.

The Airfix kit

I have already seen a couple of completed 1:48 Hawker Hurricane models originating from this new-tool from Airfix and this time we have the Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib. The box art as ever is stunning and when you get inside the contents don’t disappoint. The main feedback I have heard is how nice the kit is to build and certainly the completed models look great and so we have high expectations of the forthcoming full build that’s on the way to Aircraft-Build Now :)

What do you get?

You can see the sprues as well as I can so take a good look at the images and I think you’ll be pretty pleased.

Let’s start with the plastic

The plastic is just like the manufacturer’s other recent releases – slightly soft yet well-tooled light blue-grey parts. Panel line detail is scribed and well done for the scale. detail and finesse of parts is high – even better than usual from this manufacturer and that’s a great step in the continuing general improvement in new products from Airfix.

Parts breakdown is pretty conventional for a Hurricane kit – separate upper main wing panels over the one-piece lower wing section.

Fuselage – general shape looks very authentic and the fabric effect is as good as you’ll get on the rear fuselage and control surfaces. I have cut the fuselage halves from their sprues and test-fitted them and they fit very well – promising. A neat separate lower rear insert includes the arrestor kook.

Main wings – separate upper wing halves split in two horizontally and attaching to the one-piece lower wing section. It’s good to see surface detail provided on the wheel bay interiors – speaking of which these are excellent with separate detailed rear walls that combine as wing spars to give the whole wing rigidity.

A highlight is the option for open gun bays revealing the detailed guns within and the latter are very delicately moulded and will appeal to many. Some good diorama possibilities with ground crew and vehicles etc (also available from this manufacturer).

I suppose what I’m thinking at this point and maybe you too… is that if the fit of the doors for all the open panels is good, then that’s great – if not… well, we’ll see (keep a close eye on the SMN What’s New page and Build Now).

Flaps – are not provided as separate items, being moulded in the closed position.

Rudder / elevators – These are neatly moulded separately so that you can add some interest by slightly offsetting if required.

Cockpit – One of the real strengths in my view – everything is there to make a perfectly representative Hurricane. The internal tubular framework is there as are the main instruments that attach to it to make the whole area look busy and the main panel also has raised details and the decal instrument panel could work very well over this, using plenty of decal setting solution – we’ll see.

The seat just needs a harness to complete the look.

Undercarriage – again, another strength in the kit – all the detail is there as far as I can see to make these areas eye-catching. The wheel wells are well done too with their rear sections integral with the equally detailed main wing spar as mentioned above.

The wheels are provided with and without tyre-flats for the tyres and the fact that the hubs are separate will make painting quicker and neater.

Propeller – the three-bladed prop is well formed as are the exhaust stacks, although these have some mould sink marks to take care of if they bother you. Both pointed and rounded spinners are included.

Pilot figure – a seated pilot figure is included and he looks well tooled. Separate arms can allow you to fine tune his position in relation to the cockpit seat and controls.ß

Clear parts

The canopy is helpfully split so front windscreen and rear sections are separate allowing you to pose your canopy open or closed. Crystal clear, blemish-free and well moulded without any distortion. I like the inclusion of slightly different sized main canopy sliding sections to allow you to pick the one you want to show – open or closed.


The simple foldout instruction booklet is clear enough with references to paint colours reference to exact colours and photos will help match your preferred paints to what’s needed. There are full colour painting/decal guides included for each version supplied.


Decals for two different Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib aircraft is included:

Option A: Aircraft flown by Lieutenant Richard John (Dickie) Cork (DSO and DSC), No 880 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS Indomitable, Operation “Ironclad”, Diego Suarez, Madagascar, May 1942

Option B: No 804 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS Eagle, 1941

Full stencil data is included and a clear diagram showing where each tiny item goes. The different schemes are shown on a high quality colour fold-out sheet.

The decals are very well printed and look to be good quality – let’s hope so. From building some of their recent releases these decals work well with decal softening solutions that help the markings settle down into the recessed detail.

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Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB - History

DISCONTINUED This product has been discontinued
and is no longer available. List price: $29.99
You pay: $22.99
(All prices in U.S. Dollars)

Manufacturer: Airfix Models
Stock Number: AIR 5134
Scale: 1/48
View all products of type "Hurricane"

This model kit requires assembly. Cement, paint and other construction materials not included unless specifically stated in the description.

Having proved itself during the savage dogfighting of the Battle of Britain, the Hawker Hurricane would also make a valuable contribution in protecting the vital sea lanes from German attack, both above and below the water. Modified with the addition of catapult spools and a fuselage mounted arrester hook, Sea Hurricanes were embarked aboard Britain's diminutive aircraft carriers from mid 1941.

As British shipping losses in the Atlantic began to mount, it became clear that the Royal Navy needed a fast, capable monoplane fighter that could be operated effectively at sea. At this time, the British fighter of the moment was the Supermarine Spitfire, but all production was destined for the RAF who were desperate to replace the losses suffered during the Battle of Britain and the Navy would be disappointed. Even though other aircraft were favoured by the Navy, such as the American Wildcat, the venerable Hawker Hurricane was selected for the task and once again this superbly versatile aircraft answered its country's call. Initially operating from rocket powered catapults mounted on specially modified merchant vessels, all the early naval Hurricanes were refurbished, war weary RAF machines, but they provided the convoys with invaluable aerial support in the battle against Axis raiders.

The later Sea Hurricane IB was equipped with catapult spools, an arrester hook and a multitude of additional modifications to ensure effective operation at sea. These fighters operated from Britain's relatively small aircraft carriers and specially converted merchant vessels, known as MAC ships. The large wing area and forgiving handling qualities of the Hurricane made it particularly suitable for operation from the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier at sea and it provided excellent service until more capable British and American naval fighters became available.

An Airborne Warrior at Sea

Welcome to this latest edition of Workbench and our regular look behind the scenes at the fascinating world of Airfix modelling. Our latest update will feature a modified tooling announcement in the 1/48th scale range which is already looking like being amongst the most popular releases of the year and we take a look at an extremely colourful aircraft with an interesting history which takes its place in our small starter sets range. We also have a couple of reader supplied build reviews for your delectation, including a stunning WWII Nightfighter model that will have us all rushing for the black paint. With box artwork reveals and the stories behind new kit decal options, we hope that there will be something for everyone in the latest edition of Workbench.

A Battle that must be won

Although many people would probably describe the Battle of Britain as the UK’s finest hour in the air, another battle raged throughout WWII which required brave pilots to fly from what were at first hastily prepared and relatively unsuitable ships, on operations above the incredibly hostile environment of the Atlantic Ocean. In many ways this battle was even more savage than the one fought by the Few during the summer of 1940, and carrying the very survival of the British nation in their hands there could be no thought of failure. At a time when Britain desperately needed a fighter to go to war at sea, it called upon a proven warhorse and unsung hero of the Battle of Britain – the Hawker Hurricane.

As British shipping losses in the Atlantic began to mount, it became clear that the Royal Navy needed a fast, capable monoplane fighter that could be operated effectively at sea. During the early months of WWII, the British fighter of the moment was the Supermarine Spitfire, but all production was destined for the RAF who were frantically replacing the losses suffered during the Battle of Britain. Whilst the Navy lobbied for Spitfires, they were to be disappointed – none could be spared. They would have to make do with a number of surplus and combat weary Hawker Hurricanes, but whilst the Admiralty were not particularly happy with the situation, the Hurricane proved to be the ideal aircraft for this difficult task. With no suitable, or available aircraft carriers currently in service, these early convoy protectors would need to be launched into the air using rocket powered catapults from specially modified merchant ships, for what was effectively a single-use mission for the aircraft and an extremely dangerous one for the brave pilot.

A ‘Hooked’ Hurricane

The beautiful box artwork that will accompany the release of A05134 Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk.IB

Whilst the early catapult-launched Hurricane fighters allowed the vulnerable merchant convoys to better protect themselves against Luftwaffe maritime patrols and U-boat attacks, a dedicated carrier-based fighter would also be needed and would be developed along-side the ‘Hurricats’. The additional weight associated with a folding wing version of the Hurricane was discounted at a relatively early stage of development, but the navalised version of the fighter would have some distinct differences from the land based variant and the catapult fighters. Carrying the Royal Navy classification Sea Hurricane IB, the most significant modification was the inclusion of catapult spools and an A-frame arrestor hook to allow effective operation from British aircraft carriers. Some airframe strengthening was also required to allow the aircraft to better survive the rigors of carrier deck operation and a retaining spring was utilised on the arrestor hook, both to absorb some of the deceleration forces and to prevent the hook from bouncing up and damaging the fuselage of the fighter. A green light would illuminate in the cockpit when the arrestor hook was deployed and a deck landing could be attempted.

The Sea Hurricane IB was powered by an uprated variant of the Rolls Royce Merlin III engine, which drove a De Havilland propeller (slightly lighter than a Rotol unit) and spinner and helped to offset a shift in the aircraft's centre of gravity, as a result of the specific navalised equipment fit. The inability to fold its wings would have consequences regarding the stowage of these aircraft at sea, as few British carriers could store Sea Hurricanes below deck, with the majority of aircraft simply lashed to the deck, or even pushed precariously over the open sea, with the tail wheel supported on an outrigger strut. Despite these harsh operating conditions, the Sea Hurricane proved to be a robust and reliable naval fighter, with its large wing area and forgiving handling qualities making it particularly suitable for operation from the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier at sea. Crucially, when Britain needed it most, the Hurricane was ready for action and served at sea with distinction until more capable British and American naval fighters became available. Always in the shadow of the thoroughbred Spitfire, the Hurricane was in many ways the more important aircraft in this fighting double act.

Hawker Sea Hurricane Ib 'Z7015 / 7-L' (G-BKTH)

Seen displaying at Old Warden during the 2013 Autumn Airshow.

The details below are from the Shuttleworth Collection website:-

After the early success of the Hawker Hurricane in RAF service during the Battle of Britain, the Royal Navy decided to introduce the Hurricane as protection for the Atlantic convoys. These convoys were being monitored by FW-200 Condor aircraft, which operated far outside the range of land based aircraft, and co-ordinated the attacks of the U-boats on the convoys. An interim measure gave birth to the 'Hurricat', a modified Hurricane which was mounted on a catapult located on the bows of some modified merchant ships. The only modifications to the Hurricane for this role was the addition of catapult spools and as such were designated Sea Hurricane Ia's. These Sea Hurricanes were not ideal, as once they were launched they either had to make it back to a land base or ditch in the sea near to the convoy. An improved Sea Hurricane was the Ib, this had the catapult spools and an arrester hook to enable them to land back on merchant ships modified to have a small flight deck. Hurricane Z7015 was built by Canadian Car & Foundry at its Fort William, Ontario, plant during 1940 as a Mk I, after flight testing Z7015 was shipped to the UK. On June 27 1941 it was converted to Sea Hurricane Ib standard. Z7015 had a patchy wartime flying career, which ended in 1943, when it was delivered to Loughborough College as an instructional airframe. It remained there until it was transferred to the Shuttleworth Collection in 1961. Z7015 was used statically in the 'Battle of Britain' film, before restoration to flying condition began. Several attempts to restore the aircraft were made, until in 1981, Z7015 was transferred to Duxford and another restoration was started, this time by the Duxford Aviation Society. This restoration was progressing slowly until a formal agreement was reached between the Imperial War Museum and the Shuttleworth Collection, which meant that the same team that had restored the Collection's Spitfire would restore Z7015. The renewed restoration started in earnest in February 1986, and led to the first flight of the Worlds ONLY Sea Hurricane Ib, in the hands of pilot Andy Sephton, on September 16 1995.

Watch the video: Airfix: Hawker Sea Hurricane: 148 Scale Model: In Box Review