In the late 40s, second-generation jet fighters began to emerge. Significant upgrades were required to bring the Meteor closer to their level. The Gloster designers embarked on developing a new version, designated the Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 (Type G.41K), at the end of 1947.
The first prototype F.Mk.8 model (converted from a production F.Mk.4) flew on October 12, 1948. In December 1949, its full-scale production started, and it was in the summer of 1950 that F.Mk.8 fighters were delivered to the RAF.
The F.Mk.8 version had the same stretched fuselage as the training T.Mk.7 version did. The tail assembly was changed, and an extra 432-liter fuel tank and a blown cockpit canopy were mounted.
The F.Mk.8 had Rolls-Royce Derwent Mk.8 turbojet engines producing 1,590 kg of thrust. The wing structure was significantly reinforced, with alloy steels being used more in the framework. The nacelle structure was changed yet again, making its disassembly easier.
The F.Mk.8 had the F.Mk.4's 20mm British Hispano Mk.II cannons replaced by British-Hispano Mk.V of the same caliber but with a higher rate of fire, reliability and ballistic characteristics. The magazine capacity was 190 rounds per gun. A standard mount to suspend HVAR missiles was provided under the wing panels.
The F.Mk.8 was the first aircraft to have a Martin Baker ejection seat. The pilot's chances of survival were significantly increased, but the massive headrest impaired his rear view.
The first production aircraft had their cannon bore evacuators modified; previously, shell casings could strike the tail assembly and external fuel tanks. The diameter of the engine's air intakes was increased. This improvement added approximately 100 kg of thrust to each engine, bringing the aircraft's maximum speed to 950 km/h.
The total number of Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 fighters produced by April 1954 was 747. The aircraft of the F.Mk.8 version were (at various times) in service with over 40 RAF squadrons. From 1950 to 1955, Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 fighters were the principal aircraft of the RAF Fighter Command.
The F.Mk.8 aircraft were also accepted for service with the Air Forces of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands and Syria. Meteors of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) took part in the Korean War.
Since the early 50s, Gloster Meteor day fighters in the RAF began to be replaced with more advanced swept-wing machines. Different Gloster Meteor versions were flown in training and auxiliary units up to the mid-60s.