Air Weapons

Fighter (1944)




The British had been one of the pre-war leaders in developing jet technology thanks to the pioneering work of Frank Whittle, it is not surprising then that the first operational Allied jet was the Gloster Meteor. Designed by George Carter and featuring twin centrifugal jet engines and four cannon in the nose, the Meteor (which was originally named Thunderbolt but changed to avoid confusion with its US namesake) was fast and packed a powerful punch but it would take some time before the design reached its full potential mostly on account of improvements with its Rolls-Royce engines. From mid-1944 onwards, Meteors were used primarily as V-1 flying bomb interceptors where they performed remarkably well, only until the last months of the war were they sent to the Continent to combat the Me 262 but there is no recorded encounter between these two aircraft and as a result were used extensively for ground attack. Subsequent marks were to serve successfully up to the Korean War (by the RAAF) and featured improvements such as pressurized cockpits and more powerful engines. The Meteor was used solely by the UK during World War II but over a dozen foreign operators used this pioneering aircraft post-war where they served well after the last one was built in 1954.

Development of the G.41 began in August of 1940 and was first flown on 13 March 1943. The Meteor Mk. I was first operational on 12 July 1944 with No. 616 squadron, beating the Me 262 into service by only 8 days. It began life as a V-1 interceptor since teething problems prevented it from being an effective fighter but the considerably improved Mk. III was eventually used against the Luftwaffe over Europe. Post-war fighter variants included the F.4 which was faster and could carry drop tanks and the ultimate F.8 variant with a new tail design; these formed the mainstay of the RAF's jet fighter force until newer designs became available. Other versions included the T.7 trainer, the FR.9 fighter-recon and unarmed PR.10 photo-recon aircraft, and a series of night fighters designated NF.11 to NF.14 which were the last versions built. These were easily distinguishable by a prominent AI Mk. 10 nose radar but were only an interim design pending the introduction of the Javelin.

Preceded by:

Spitfire (1938)
Tempest (1944)

Succeeded by:

Vampire (1946)
Hunter (1954)


DesignMeteor Mk. IMeteor Mk. IIIMeteor F.4Meteor F.8
Length12.60 m12.60 m12.60 m13.59 m
Height3.962 m3.962 m3.962 m3.962 m
Wing Span13.11 m13.11 m11.33 m11.33 m
Wing Arean/an/an/an/a
Empty3,692 kg3,996 kg4,527 kg4,820 kg
Maximum6,260 kg6,314 kg6,598 kg8,664 kg
Wing Loading180.2 kg/m²181.7 kg/m²202.9 kg/m²2,867.6 kg/m²
Speed668 km/h797 km/h933 km/h941 km/h
Ceiling12,192 m13,411 m13,564 m13,106 m
Range1,609 km2,156 km982 km1,931 km
Engine2 x Welland I
771 kgf
2 x Derwent I
907 kgf
2 x Derwent 5
1,588 kgf
2 x Derwent 8
1,633 kgf
Guns4 x 20-mm
Hispano Mk. II
4 x 20-mm
Hispano Mk. II
4 x 20-mm
Hispano Mk. V
4 x 20-mm
Hispano Mk. V
Payload---907 kg