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Meteor F.4 SW

The year of 1946 saw the start of the full-scale production of the F.Mk.4, a variant intended to replace the F.Mk.3. The prototype F.Mk.4 model flew for the first time on May 17, 1945.

The main difference between the F.Mk.3 and the F.Mk.4 was its engines. This version had Rolls-Royce Derwent Mk.5 turbojet engines, producing 1,590 kg of thrust (more than twice as much as the Derwent Mk.1). The Derwent Mk.5 engine was in fact a smaller version of the promising Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine. The engines were fitted in new extended nacelles, noticeably improving the aircraft's aerodynamics. The airframe structure was significantly reinforced so as not to let the double in-flight thrust increase ruin the fighter.

The F.Mk.4 had its ailerons modified to improve its maneuverability and a rudder trim tab installed to reduce snaking. The pilot's cockpit was in the F.Mk.4 fully pressurized and ventilated. All previous versions of the Gloster Meteor had had a non-pressurized cockpit. The plane's armament was similar to that of the F.Mk.3.

Trials of the prototype Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 fighter showed that its maximum speed was increased by 180 km/h but that the speed produced excessive stress on the wings. Therefore, the wing panels were made shorter from the ninth production plane onward. This reduced the stress level and improved horizontal maneuverability but impaired the rate of climb and the service ceiling. Type G.41F became the designation for the long-wing aircraft, and Type G.41G for the short-wing ones.

The Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 by far excelled its predecessors in terms of its characteristics and was built in large series. Based on the F.Mk.4, the two-seat training T.Mk.7 version was developed.

By 1948, F.Mk.4 fighters had completely ousted the F.Mk.3s from the service of the RAF. The F.Mk.4 became the first Gloster Meteor variant that served with other nations. In May 1947, these fighters were purchased by Argentina, followed by Denmark, Egypt, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The total number of Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 fighters produced by April 1950 was 583.

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