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Folland Gnat Jet Fighter Plane

The Folland Gnat was designed as a jet fighter in the early 1950's by W. E. W. Petter,  he had already designed the Lysander, Whirlwind, English Electric Canberra and a large part of the English Electric Lightning. The Gnat first flew in July 1955 and was a very small swept-wing subsonic jet fighter, it was considered by the RAF as a replacement for it's DH Venom fighter in 1958 but the excellent Hawker Hunter fighter was chosen instead. The RAF did not dislike the Gnat, it's modern design and excellent performance combined with a relatively low cost, resulted in the aircraft being ordered as an advanced tandem seat trainer.

Folland Gnat Jet Fighter

 

The Red Arrows aerobatic team flew the two seat Gnat trainer from 1964 to 1979 when they were retired in favour of the British Aerospace Hawk T.1A. The RAF's Gnat trainers were originally designated the Folland Fo.144 Gnat Trainer, but were re-classified as the Folland Gnat T.Mk.1.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited built 176 of the 449 total Gnats produced under licence for the Indian Air Force as fighters, Some Gnats were used in combat during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War where they proved to be superior in combat to the F86 Sabre and gained the nickname "Sabre Killer". In the first engagement in East Pakistan, known as the Battle of Boyra, four Folland Gnats quickly downed three supposedly superior F-86 Sabre fighters. The Indian Air Force retired the last of it's Folland Gnat jet fighters in 1978. In 1972 a redesign of the Gnat was conceived which added a ground attack capability, the redesigned aircraft was re-named the Ajeet ("Invincible"), a total of 89 aircraft were produced and served with the Indian Air Force from 1977 to 1991, none of the Ajeets ever saw combat.

 
Folland Gnat trainer Specifications:
  • Crew: Pilot and trainee
  • Wing span: 24 ft
  • Length: 31 ft 9 in
  • Height: 9ft. 7.5in
  • Empty weight 5,140 lbs
  • Maximum Takeoff weight :8,630 lbs
  • Engine: Single 4,230 lbf thrust Bristol-Siddeley Orpheus 100 turbojet
  • Service ceiling: 48,000 ft
  • Max speed: 636 mph at 31,000 ft
  • Maximum Range: 500 miles or 1,181miles (1,900km) with twin 300-liter under-wing fuel tanks
 
 

Folland Gnat Fighters


 
Folland Gnat Fighters
 

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