The Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IC was similar to the Mk IB, but was armed with four 20mm cannon in place of the eight .303in machine guns of the earlier aircraft. The Mk IC was produced by fitting Hurricane IIC wings onto late-series Hurricane I fuselages, converted to carry the arrestor hook and catapult spools needed for naval operations. The extra weight of the cannon wings had a surprisingly dramatic impact on the top speed of the aircraft, dropping it below 300mph, but the extra firepower was invaluable.
The Sea Hurricane Mk IC entered service in January 1942 with No.811 Squadron, and was later used by Nos.801, 802, 803, 880, 883 and 885 Squadrons. Alongside the Mk IB it took part in the defence of Arctic Convoy PQ18, with aircraft from Nos. 802 and 882 Squadrons operating on HMS Avenger. Four Sea Hurricanes were lost during the battles around the convoy, although three of the pilots were rescued, and five enemy aircraft shot down, demonstrating the value of the Sea Hurricane. Although its lower speed made it difficult for the Mk IC to catch the Ju 88, the firepower from the four cannon made a kill far more likely when combat did occur, while many encounters were with older, slower German aircraft.
Fleet Carrier fighter
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin III
Wing span: 40ft
Length: 31ft 4in
Height: 12ft 11.5in
Normal Loaded Weight: 7,605lb
Tropical Normal Loaded Weight: 8,210lb
Max Speed: 276mph at 17,400ft
Service Ceiling: 34,200ft
Range: 505 miles
Armament: Four 20mm cannon
Bomb-load: Two 250lb bombs (early), two 500lb bombs (later) or two 44 Imperial gallon drop tanks
Naval Equipment: Naval radio, A-frame arrestor hook and catapult spools