Gloster Meteor F.4 (I-69) as used by the "Koninklijke Luchtmacht" (RNLAF) at the Military Aviation Museum, Kamp Zeist (the Netherlands)
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet aircraft during the Second World War.
The Meteor's development was heavily reliant on its ground-breaking turbojet engines, pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets. Development of the aircraft itself began in 1940, although work on the engines had been underway since 1936. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with the 616 Squadron of the RAF. Nicknamed the "Meatbox", the Meteor was not a sophisticated aircraft in its aerodynamics, but proved to be a successful combat fighter. Several major variants of the Meteor incorporated technological advances during
the 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of Meteors were built to fly with the RAF and other air forces and remained in use for several decades.
The Meteor saw limited action in the Second World War. Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) provided a significant contribution in the Korean War. Several other operators such as Argentina, Egypt and Israel flew Meteors in later regional conflicts. Specialised variants of the Meteor were developed for use in photo-reconnaissance and as night fighters. The Meteor F.4 had Rolls-Royce Derwent 5 engines and a strengthened fuselage, 489 were built by Gloster Aircraft Company and 46 by Armstrong Whitworth for the Royal Air Force. The F.4 was also exported to
Argentina (100 aircraft), Belgium (48 aircraft), Denmark (20 aircraft), Egypt (12 aircraft), Netherlands (65 aircraft).