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Gloster Gauntlet

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The Gauntlet would achieve the historic landmark of becoming the first aircraft to intercept another by the use of radar. The last opened cockpit fighter used by the Royal Air Force the Gloster Gauntlet was also sold overseas and was used by the Finnish Air Force during the Winter War in 1939 - 40.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
January 1929
Entered service
Total built

Front view
Sorry, no view photo available
Side view
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Rear view
Sorry, no view photo available

With the Air Ministry looking to replace their Bristol Bulldog fighter, Specification 24/33 was issued to which Gloster submitted their Gauntlet Mk I design. The aircraft was developed from Gloster's SS.18, SS.19 and SS.19B designs and was a single seat bi-plane with fixed landing gear and tail wheels and was to be powered by the Bristol Mercury VIS.2 radial engine.

With its bi-plane design drag was always going to be an issue but Gloster took a lot of care to make sure the Gauntlets design would suffer from as little drag as possible. With this being achieved it meant that when the type appeared in Royal Air Force service it was said to be the best day/night fighter in the world.

At the height of it's service with the RAF, Fighter Command had 14 squadrons equipped with the Gauntlet. It's most notable, and important, achievement happened in 1937 when on November 8th Gauntlets of No. 32 Squadron achieved the first radar-controlled interception when they intercepted a civil airliner over the Thames.

The Gauntlet appeared in two guises the Mk I and Mk II, both of which had a top speed of 230 mph, and a total of 246 aircraft were built. A small number of the type would be supplied overseas and a number would see service in the Winter War with Finland.


Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.

Max Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Gauntlet Mk I 230 mph 460 miles 33,500 ft two Vickers machine-guns
Gauntlet Mk II 230 mph 460 miles 33,500 ft two Vickers machine-guns


Sorry, we have no photos of this aircraft

On Display

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Variant Location
No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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