First-Generation Jet Fighter
The story of the Gloster Meteor is one of the greatest in the history of the aviation industry and one generally taken for granted. This pioneering aircraft was not particularly advanced, was given very little chance to prove itself in combat but, as a ‘first-generation’ jet, its arrival launched the RAF into a new era. Development of the jet engine began in 1936, and accelerated by the outbreak of World War Two, the first Meteor F Mk 1s entered service with 616 Squadron in 1944. This was an incredible achievement that saw the Meteor poised to re-equip a host of RAF squadrons during the immediate post-war era. By 1950, the best of the day fighter breed had arrived in the shape of the F Mk 8 and, for the next five years, over 30 operational units were flying the type, up until the arrival of the ‘second-generation’ Hawker Hunter.
However, approximately 890 Meteors were lost in RAF service; and this was during peacetime. Despite this, the Meteor was a huge success story for the Gloster Aircraft Company and the industry as a whole. Overseas orders were healthy as well with all marks, from the F Mk 3 onwards, seeing service across the globe. This new book edition of Aeroplane Icons: Meteor tracks the design and development, service and variants of Britain’s first jet fighter.