Gloster F.9/37

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Gloster F.9/37
Gloster f9 37.jpg
Gloster F.9/37
Role Heavy fighter
Manufacturer Gloster Aircraft Company
Designer George Carter
First flight 3 April 1939
Primary user Royal Air Force (intended)
Number built 2

The Gloster F.9/37, also known as the Gloster G.39, was a British twin-engined design from the Gloster Aircraft Company for a cannon-armed heavy fighter to serve with the Royal Air Force, planned before the Second World War. The F.9/37 was rejected in favour of other designs.

A development of the F.9/37 as a night fighter, for a new Air Ministry Specifications F.29/40 – known unofficially as the "Gloster Reaper" – was dropped so that Gloster would be able to concentrate on existing work and on the nascent British jet projects.

Design and development[edit]

Gloster had designed a twin-engined turret-fighter for specification F.34/35 but the single-engine design from Boulton Paul (Boulton Paul Defiant) for F.9/35 was seen to cover both requirements and the F.34/55 design dropped. Less than two years later, F.9/37 for a "twin-engined single-seat fighter with fixed armament" was issued.[1]

The F.9/37 was designed under the direction of W. G. Carter, his first for Gloster, to F.9/37 (hence the name) as a single-seat fighter carrying an armament of four 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns and two 20 mm Hispano cannon in the nose. Intended for dispersed production by semi-skilled labour, the structure broke down into sub-assemblies.[2]

A prototype (military serial number L7999) with 1,060 hp Bristol Taurus T-S(a) radial engines flew on 3 April 1939,[3] and demonstrated excellent performance, its maximum speed of 360 mph (580 km/h) being the best recorded by a British fighter at the time.[3] Test flights revealed that the prototype was very manoeuvrable and "a delight to fly."[4] However, after being badly damaged in a landing accident in July 1939, it was re-engined with 900 hp Taurus T-S(a)-IIIs in 1940, which resulted in reduced performance. A second prototype (L8002) with 880 hp Rolls-Royce Peregrine I liquid-cooled inline engines flew on 22 February 1940;[3] it proved capable of 330 mph (530 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,570 m).[5]

F.18/40 and F.29/40[edit]

Specification F.18/40, for a dedicated night fighter, with both nose- and turret-mounted guns, led to Gloster submitting a design based on the F.9/37, fitted with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, a dorsal four-gun turret and Airborne Interception (AI) radar.[6] This received support from the Air Staff who saw it as superior to the Bristol Beaufighter and the Air Ministry ordered one of the F.9/37 prototypes to be converted to the new specification as F.29/40.[7]

Unofficially known as the "Gloster Reaper", it inherited the admirable handling characteristics of the F.9/37, and despite being judged superior to other designs, including turreted variants of the Beaufighter and de Havilland Mosquito, the Reaper was terminated[7] in May 1941, so that Gloster could concentrate on other work, especially its work on jet aircraft.

Specifications (L7999 with Taurus engine)[edit]

Data from The British Fighter since 1912[3]Gloster Aircraft since 1917[8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 37 ft ½ in (11.29 m)
  • Wingspan: 50 ft ½ in (15.26 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 7 in (3.53 m)
  • Wing area: 386 ft² (35.9 m²)
  • Empty weight: 8,828 lb (4,013 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 11,615 lb (5,280 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Bristol Taurus T-S(a) 14 cylinder radial engine, 1,000 hp (746 kW) each
  • Propellers: 3-bladed metal Rotol variable pitch [8] propeller, 1 per engine
    • Propeller diameter: 10 ft (3.04 m)



See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. ^ King, H. F. "From Mars to Javelin: F.9/37 (Taurus engines)." Flight, 27 May 1955, p. 275.
  2. ^ Mondey, David (1982). Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II. Chancellor Press. p. 117. ISBN 1851526684. 
  3. ^ a b c d Mason 1992, p. 279.
  4. ^ Green 1961, p. 51.
  5. ^ James 1987, p. 236.
  6. ^ Morgan 1992, p. 360.
  7. ^ a b Buttler 2004, p. 62.
  8. ^ a b c James 1987, pp. 233–234.
  9. ^ Green and Swanborough 1994[page needed]


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. Interceptor Fighters for the Royal Air Force 1935–45. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1984. ISBN 0-85059-726-9.
  • Buttler, Tony. Secret Projects: British Fighters and Bombers 1935 -1950 (British Secret Projects 3). Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-85780-179-2.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Two: Fighters. London: MacDonald & Co. (Publishers), 1961.
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. The Complete Book of Fighters. New York: Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  • James, Derek N. Gloster Aircraft since 1917. London: Putnam, 1987, First edition 1971. ISBN 0-85177-807-0.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter Since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.
  • Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II. London: Chancellor Press, 1994. ISBN 1-85152-668-4.
  • Morgan, Eric B. "The Gloster F.9/37" Twentyfirst Profile Volume 1, No. 12, March 1992. New Milton, Hampshire, UK: 21st Profile Ltd., 1992.

External links[edit]