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Gloster SS.19B / Gauntlet


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Specifications F.9/26 and F.20/27 remained unfulfilled; and F.7/30 calling for a 402km/h four-gun fighter seemed initially even more unlikely to be attained. Gloster's first submission had been an improved version of the all-metal Goldfinch, and with the progression of time this design had been subjected to several permutations of airframe innovations and differing engines. When, in 1933, Gloster's SS.19B demonstrated a maximum speed of 346km/h during tests at Martlesham Heath, it was ordered into production under the name Gauntlet I.


During the period 1935 to 1937 Gauntlets were the fastest fighters in RAF service, partially replaced by Gladiators and Hurricanes in 1938 and finally ousted by Spitfires in 1939. Aircraft produced from 1935, after Hawker Aircraft had taken over the Gloster company, were constructed according to Hawker production methods, bringing changes to wing spar and fuselage structure. These differing aircraft were designated Gauntlet II.


Last open-cockpit biplane in RAF service, the Gauntlet equipped 14 squadrons at its peak period of usage. It was during this same period that a very different performance was given under most secret conditions when (in November 1936) three of No 32 Squadron's Gauntlets intercepted a civil airliner under the guidance of an experimental ground-radar installation at Bawdsey Manor, Suffolk. Thus the Gauntlet has the distinction of carrying out the world's first radar-controlled interception.

Gloster SS 19 B Gauntlet

Engine: Bristol Mercury VI S.2, 631 hp
Length: 26.411 ft / 8.05 m
Height: 10.236 ft / 3.12 m
Wingspan: 32.776 ft / 9.99 m
Wing area: 314.955 sq.ft / 29.26 sq.m
Max take off weight: 3971.2 lb / 1801.0 kg
Weight empty: 2769.5 lb / 1256.0 kg
Max. speed: 200 kts / 370 km/h
Service ceiling: 33497 ft / 10210 m
Wing load: 12.71 lb/sq.ft / 62.0 kg/sq.m
Range: 400 nm / 740 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 2x cal.303 MG Vickers (7,7mm)

Gauntlet Mk II
Engine: 1 x Bristol Mercury VIS2, 477kW
Max take-off weight: 1801 kg / 3971 lb
Empty weight: 1256 kg / 2769 lb
Wingspan: 9.99 m / 32 ft 9 in
Length: 8.05 m / 26 ft 5 in
Height: 3.12 m / 10 ft 3 in
Wing area: 29.26 sq.m / 314.95 sq ft
Max. speed: 370 km/h / 230 mph
Ceiling: 10210 m / 33500 ft
Range: 740 km / 460 miles
Armament: 2 x 7.7mm machine-guns

 

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