Gloster Gladiator

The Gloster Gladiator was a British-built biplane fighter.

It was used by the RAF and the FAA as the Sea Gladiator, it was also exported to a number of other air forces during the late 1930s.

Variants

SS.37

Prototype.

Gladiator I

Version powered by a single 840 hp (630 kW) Bristol Mercury IX air-cooled radial piston engine.

The aircraft was designated J 8 in Swedish Air Force service.

Delivered 1937–38, 378 built.

Gladiator II

Version powered by a single Bristol Mercury VIIIA air-cooled radial piston engine.

The aircraft was designated J 8A in Swedish Air Force service.

Delivered 1938–39, 270 built.

Sea Gladiator Interim

Single-seat fighter biplane for the Royal Navy, 38 modified Gladiator II aircraft.

Fitted with arrestor hooks.

Sea Gladiator

Single-seat fighter biplane for the Royal Navy, 60 built.

Fitted with arrestor hooks and provision for dinghy stowage.

Specifications

Crew

1

Length

27 ft 5 in (8.36 m)

Wingspan

32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)

Height

11 ft 9 in (3.58 m)

Wing area

323 sq ft (30.0 m2)

Airfoil

RAF 28

Empty weight

3,217 lb (1,459 kg)

Gross weight

4,594 lb (2,084 kg)

Powerplant

1 × Bristol Mercury IX 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 830 hp (620 kW)

Propellers

3-bladed fixed-pitch metal propeller

Performance

Maximum speed

253 mph (407 km/h, 220 kn) at 14,500 ft (4,420 m)

Cruise speed

210 mph (340 km/h, 180 kn)

Stall speed

53 mph (85 km/h, 46 kn)

Endurance

2 hours

Service ceiling

32,800 ft (10,000 m)

Rate of climb

2,300 ft/min (12 m/s)

Time to altitude

10,000 ft (3,048 m) in 4 minutes 45 seconds

Armament

Guns

Initially

Two synchronised .303 in Vickers machine guns in fuselage sides, two .303 in Lewis machine guns; one beneath each lower wing.

Later aircraft

Four .303 calibre M1919 Browning machine guns; two synchronised guns in fuselage sides and one beneath each lower wing.

On at least some Sea Gladiators, provision existed for a pair of Brownings to be fitted under the upper wings as well, bringing the total to six.

Official service release trials were not completed before the Sea Gladiators were replaced by later types, although some upper wing Brownings may have been fitted in the field, in particular in Malta.

 

 

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