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However, the necessary airframe modifications would have severely disrupted production. The only realistic alternative was the two-speed supercharged Merlin XX. It was first fitted to P3269, which became the first Hurricane II and was flown on its maiden flight by Philip Lucas on 11 June 1940. The first aircraft were delivered in September 1940 with standard eight-gun armament as the Hurricane IIA. 303 in machine-guns. Following the trial installation of two 20-mm Oerlikon cannon fitted to L1750 in May 1939, production aircraft with four 20-mm Hispano cannon entered service in June 1941 as the Hurricane IIC.
By using large amounts of rudder and aileron, the control column could be brought right back, but the aircraft tended to pitch violently and either wing could drop, which could only be counteracted by full aileron. There was no tendency for the aircraft to spin unless a big yaw couple was applied. With the flaps and undercarriage down the aircraft stalled at 68 mph IAS. Once again, there was very little warning and at the stall either wing could fall sharply through about 60 degrees, immediately followed by a drop of the nose.
By the end of the Battle of Britain, most Spitfires had been fitted with constant-speed propellers. The Spitfire II was virtually identical to the Mark I, apart from having a Merlin XII and Coffman cartridge start. The next major production variant was the Spitfire V, which was powered by a 1440 hp Merlin 45 and was to be the mainstay of Fighter Command from 1941–3. Its problems with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (see Chapter 9) led to the hurried introduction of the Spitfire IX in June 1942. Although it possessed the same basic airframe as its predecessor, the Mark IX introduced the two-speed, two-stage supercharged Merlin 61, which brought about a significant improvement in performance.