- Yes, as a tech tree vehicle
- Yes, as a premium vehicle
- Yes, as an event vehicle
- Yes, as a squadron vehicle
- No, I would not like to see the F.9/40H in game.
Gloster F.9/40H prototype DG206/G with open nacelles showing the Halford H.1 engines.
The story of the Gloster Meteor is just as fascinating as the Messerschmitt Me 262, and much like the latter plane, the Meteor went through several variants before being refined and entering the line of battle. Of these, a very rare bird took its first flight and proved the worth of the Halford H.1 engine (later known as the de Havilland Goblin). I would like to suggest the Gloster F.9/40H for consideration in the early jet battle rating range as I believe it would pad out the Meteor line, create some natural, balanced competition with the other early jets, and bring life to a little-known aircraft.
TL;DR: The first Meteor to get off the ground, powered by de Havilland Goblin engines. Similar top speed to the Meteor F Mk.I, but with a better power/weight ratio.
Sir Frank Whittle’s turbojet engine designs led the RAF to issue a specification for an aircraft that could utilize the new technology. After the Gloster Pioneer (E.28/39) showed promise, the Ministry of Aircraft Production ordered Gloster to focus on developing a twin-engine jet-propelled fighter aircraft design that the chief designer at Gloster, George Carter, had conceived in 1940. The Air Staff was beginning to show interest in a jet-engine fighter, and with their previous experience with the Pioneer, Gloster was the natural choice to produce the new aircraft. The airframe design didn’t take Gloster too long to iron out, but the problem lay in the engines. The Power Jets W.2 engine (later known as the Rolls-Royce Welland) was experiencing difficulties in development, so two other potential engines were considered; the Halford H.1 and the Metropolitan-Vickers F.2. The H.1’s development program was proceeding very smoothly, and the engine had further development potential, so the H.1 was given precedence over the MetroVick engine.
The H.1 engine gave the F.9/40 a larger nacelle than the Power Jets W.2B that powered the Meteor F Mk.I (noticeable in the image above). These variants would be known as the F.9/40H. With the W.2B’s low power output and development delays, the H.1 was chosen with priority, and the first Meteor prototype to become airborne was powered by the H.1, de-rated to 2,000 lbf thrust for testing, in 1943. Despite the increased thrust, the increased drag of the large nacelles hindered the plane’s speed and in this respect it was comparable to the Meteor F Mk.I. The H.1 powered variant would be known as the Meteor F Mk.II and was advertised to the RAF by Gloster in 1942 with configurations for either four or six cannons.
In the end, the H.1 would not power any production Meteors, despite orders being placed for a large amount of Meteor F Mk.Is (with Whittle engines) and F Mk.IIs (with the H.1), due to shifting priorities with the RAF’s fighter production. The H.1-powered Meteor was determined to have poor endurance at high altitude and the engine was prioritized for the de Havilland Vampire, while the W.2, co-opted and developed by Rolls-Royce, would power the Meteor F Mk.I. Despite this fact, DG206/G has an important place in history as the first Meteor to leave the ground.
Wingspan: 44ft 3in (13.49m)
Length: 41ft 5in (12.62m)
Height: 13ft 0in (3.96m)
Wing Area: 374 sq.ft (34.8 sq.m)
Gross Weight: 13,750 lb (6,237 kg)
Powerplant: 2 x 2,000 lbf (907 kgf) Halford H.1 turbojet engines
Maximum Speed: 411 mph (661 km/h) at sea level ; 446 mph (718 km/h) at 30,000 ft (9,144 m)
Operational Ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,200 m)
Armament: 4 x Hispano 20mm cannon
Prototype DG206/G at Farnborough in 1944. Note the unique intake cover.
Drawing showing the proposed arrangement of six 20mm Hispano cannons for the Meteor.
Gloster Meteor: Britain’s Celebrated First-Generation Jet by Paul Butler and Tony Buttler, 2006