The Gloster Gauntlet had its origins in the Mercury IIA powered SS.18 J9125 which was designed against specification F.20/27 and flew in January 1929. It was the last 'open-cockpit' fighter to be supplied to the RAF and the penultimate bi-plane to see fighter service.
Progressive modification via the SS.18A (Jupiter VII), SS.18B (Panther III), SS.19 (Jupiter VIIF), SS.19A and SS.19B (Mercury IVS2) resulted in the production Gauntlet (powered by the Mercury VIS). The SS19B first flew in Gauntlet configuration in July 1933.
The type was a two-bay, single-seat biplane armed with two fuselage-mounted 0.303 Vickers guns. Like many other Gloster fighters, the type offered a combination of excellent performance and handling.
The first of twenty-four production Gauntlet I K4081 flew on 17 December 1934, first deliveries into RAF service was with 19 Squadron at Duxford commencing in May 1935. At the time, the Gauntlet provided a huge leap forward in performance being 56 mph faster than the outgoing Bristol Bulldog and for over 2 years it was the fastest fighter in the RAF.
204 Gauntlet II followed with structural revisions to adopt a Hawker-style construction – reflecting Hawker’s take-over of the Gloster business.
A further 17 were built in Denmark by the Army Air service workshops. 25 ex-RAF aircraft were also transferred to Finland and fought against the Soviet forces following invasion at the end of November 1939.
Variants & Numbers Built
|Prototype||One aircraft J9125 flown as SS.18 and SS.19 with different engines|
|Gauntlet I||24 initial production aircraft for the RAF|
|Gauntlet II||231 aircraft of which 17 built in Denmark|
|Gauntlet I||Gauntlet II|
|Powerplant||One 640 hp Bristol Mercury VIS2 radial engine|
|Span||29 ft 9½ in||30 ft 1 in|
|Maximum Weight||3,950 lb||3,970 lb|
|Capacity & Armament||Single pilot; Two Vickers Mk III or Mk V machine guns|
|Maximum Speed||230 mph||230 mph|
|GT-400 Gauntlet II||
Airworthy at Kymi Airfield Aviation Museum, Finland.