Gloster Meteor

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The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, it first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Gloster Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft but the Gloster design team succeeded in producing an effective jet fighter that served the RAF and other air forces for decades. Meteors saw action with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Korean War, and remained in service with numerous air forces until the 1970s. Two Meteors, WL419 and WA638, remain in service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds.

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Design and development

Development of a turbojet-powered fighter by Sir Frank Whittle's firm, Power Jets Ltd., and the Gloster Aircraft Company began in 1940, with George Carter, Gloster's chief designer, presenting initial proposals for a twin-engined jet fighter with a nosewheel undercarriage in August 1940. Gloster received an order for twelve prototypes (later reduced to eight) under Specification F9/40 on 7 February 1941.[1] The first British jet powered aircraft, the single-engined Gloster E28/39 prototype, had its maiden flight on 15 May 1941.[2] A letter of intent for production of 300 of the new fighter, to be named Thunderbolt, was placed on 21 June but to avoid confusion with the USAAF P-47 Thunderbolt, the name was changed to Meteor.[3][4]

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