Following Vickers decision to rationalise its aviation interests and close the Supermarine design office in 1936, the RAF’s high performance fighter needs were served purely by the Hawker Hurricane. The Mk XIV was developed as a matter of urgency following the cancellation of the Typhoon programme in 1942 due to insuperable aerodynamic problems and the simultaneous failure of the Napier Sabre to mature into a viable powerplant.
Hawker had no choice but to look to the proven Hurricane airframe and the Rolls-Royce Griffon. The Centaurus was considered but marriage of the radial engine to the slender Hurricane fuselage was rejected as too complicated. Along with the engine change, aerodynamic and practical improvements were made to the airframe. Cutting down the rear fuselage proved relatively simple due to its steel tube and fabric construction, stability was retained by use of a large fin fillet. The tailwheel was arranged to retract into the ventral fin and the large radio mast was replaced with a simple whip aerial, further reducing drag.
Armament was unchanged from the Merlin Hurricane though the new aircraft benefited from a cleaner gun barrel fairing for its four 20 mm Hispanos.
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