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Folland Gnat - Development & Derivatives

TsrJoe

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Jemiba

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Hello, I would like to see the Fo.146 drawing, if possible. The other versions
are illustrated in "Sabre Slayer and Red Arrow" and in "Project Cancelled", but
not the 146. A Gnat with Airpass radar is referred to as F.Mk.2 . Is it identical
to the Mk.4 ?
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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I have nice drawing of Mk2 and Mk4 in an old Air Enthusiast article. Will post when I get a chance.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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several quite different airframe layouts were proposed, including such features as a prone pilot position, a twin boom tail, an undercarriage with a central main wheel (as later adopted in the Harrier) and wing mounted engines.

Source:
Charles Burnet "Folland's (G)natty Fighters" in Air Enthusiast 24 April-July 1984
 

Sentinel Chicken

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Out of curiosity, what was in the nose radome of the Ajeet? I've seen pics that show a darker color for the nose cone and I always figured it housed some sort of simple ranging radar for the gunsight.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Here's the drawings from the article:

Gnat Mk 2, thin wing + reheat for Mach 1.28, and projected trainer version below.

Gnat Mk 4, and naval version below.

Flaps and spoilers, plus reheat system.
 

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TinWing

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overscan said:
Gnat Mk 4, and naval version below.

I do have to wonder about the flight endurance of the proposed Naval Gnat. Internal fuel capacity for the Midge/Gnat was barely more than 900 liters, unimpressive when you consider that the contemporary Skyhawk carried about 3,000 liters.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Gnat Mk 5

Via whatifmodelers forum, trainer and fighter versions.
 

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Jemiba

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These Mk.5 drawings are from D.Wood "Project Cancelled", aren't they ?
They are different from the illustrations in "Sabre Slayer and Red Arrow"
and since I've seen both books, I don't know, in which to believe more.
 

Jemiba

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Derek Wood mentions in "Project Cancelled", that the Gnat Mk.2 could have
rivalled the Northrop F-5 on the international market, if there would have
been an order by the RAF. And as there wasn't a chance for such an order,
there was nearly no chance for the Gant at all. It probably could have been
flying in 1958 or 59. Interesting for ne was, that several sources mentioned,
that the acceptance problems of the Gnat, were to a large part problems of
the acceptance of Teddy Petter by some RAF Marshalls, not of the aircraft
itself. Well, armament procurement never was a strictly logical affair. The
trainer version was more succesful, but then, in August 1959, it Folland had
become part of Hawker Siddeley !
 

TinWing

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Jemiba said:
Derek Wood mentions in "Project Cancelled", that the Gnat Mk.2 could have
rivalled the Northrop F-5 on the international market, if there would have
been an order by the RAF. And as there wasn't a chance for such an order,
there was nearly no chance for the Gant at all. It probably could have been
flying in 1958 or 59. Interesting for ne was, that several sources mentioned,
that the acceptance problems of the Gnat, were to a large part problems of
the acceptance of Teddy Petter by some RAF Marshalls, not of the aircraft
itself. Well, armament procurement never was a strictly logical affair. The
trainer version was more succesful, but then, in August 1959, it Folland had
become part of Hawker Siddeley !

Keep in mind that the Northrop F-5 was backed by American financing, and was quite impressive in its own right. Even the double level Northrop assembly line was quite advanced by the standards of the era. Even in the mid-to-late 1950s, Britain still relied on American funds for the development and production of types such as the Hawker Hunter and Blackburn Buccaneer.

The British government wasn't able or willing to fund the Gnat for the export market, so its very modest success was limited to non-alligned countries such as India. Incidentally, the Gnat might have seen an even greater production run for India if it hadn't been in competition with both new and especially used examples of the American funded Hawker Hunter.

So in the end, it wasn't just the RAF's indifference which undermined the Folland Gnat as a potential F-5 competitor.
 

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Jemiba said:
It probably could have been flying in 1958 or 59. Interesting for ne was, that several sources mentioned, that the acceptance problems of the Gnat, were to a large part problems of the acceptance of Teddy Petter by some RAF Marshalls, not of the aircraft itself. Well, armament procurement never was a strictly logical affair. The trainer version was more succesful, but then, in August 1959, it Folland had become part of Hawker Siddeley !
So there was a better chance of the trainer version of the Gnat Mk.2, then? Interesting given that it would have been only one of a handful of supersonic trainer aircraft.

I know that the Gnat Mk.4 had a more capable radar, but what was planned for the fighter version of the Gnat Mk.2? It seems that perhaps a simple gunsight/ranging radar, perhaps?
 

Jemiba

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It meant the Fo.145 Gant T.Mk.1, the later standard, subsonic trainer derivative
of the Gnat.

Regarding the second question , again from Derek Wood :
"Four phases of armament/electronics fit were proposed:
1. retaining the twin 30mm guns and radar ranging
2.replacing the radar ranging with the Ferranti AI.23 radar
3.Aden guns replced by unguided air-to-air rockets or IR homing missiles
4. automatic computing system, allowing beam attacks with ait-to-air rockets
 

TinWing

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Sentinel Chicken said:
Jemiba said:
So there was a better chance of the trainer version of the Gnat Mk.2, then?

The definitive Gnat trainer for the RAF was indeed based on the larger Gnat Mk.2 wing - so the cancellation of the Mk.2 fighter wasn't a complete waste.
 

Rickshaw

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Jemiba said:
It meant the Fo.145 Gant T.Mk.1, the later standard, subsonic trainer derivative
of the Gnat.

Regarding the second question , again from Derek Wood :
"Four phases of armament/electronics fit were proposed:
1. retaining the twin 30mm guns and radar ranging
2.replacing the radar ranging with the Ferranti AI.23 radar
3.Aden guns replced by unguided air-to-air rockets or IR homing missiles
4. automatic computing system, allowing beam attacks with ait-to-air rockets

I've just been reading about the Gnat. I wonder, why couldn't they have retained the guns and had Firestreak? It would have been much more capable than relying on unreliable air-to-air rockets.

Was there ever any consideration to putting wingtip rails for IR homing missiles, like Firestreak on the Gnat?
 

Jemiba

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Could have looked like the quick "conversion" below, but ...
I've seen no project for a firestreak armed Gnat, that carried
more than one missile. In my drawing, I've used the proposed
Gnat nightfighter, which should have carried a firestreak under
the left wing and a drop tank under the right. In relation to the
Gnat, the firestreak was a relatively large missile, so firing probably
would have demanded to release the drop tank, too. And flying
without drop tanks AND the additional weight of two guns could
have led to a very restricted range, I think.
 

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hesham

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By the way,

The Gnat 2 given the company designation Fo.143.
 

Rickshaw

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overscan said:
Indeed, Firestreak was big, compared to Sidewinder.

As was Redtop. Both however had greater range and capabilities than the early models of Sidewinder (6.4 km, 12 km versus 4.8 km).
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Supersonic Gnat (with at least one Firestreak) from Farnborough 1960.

Source:
Flying Review October 1960
 

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Jemiba

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Looks to me like an F.5 to me and the model probably really had only one
Firestreak, closer to the centerline than the two sidewinders, which were
shown in other publications. Maybe for weight reasons ?
 

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Rickshaw

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Wasn't there a twin engined strike version of the Gnat planned, as well? Would the larger airframe and twin engines have made it a more useful fighter? Able to carry a larger radar and more missiles?
 

starviking

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rickshaw said:
Wasn't there a twin engined strike version of the Gnat planned, as well? Would the larger airframe and twin engines have made it a more useful fighter? Able to carry a larger radar and more missiles?

Looking at both Overscan and Jemiba's pictures, they seem twin engined. The rear fusalage is much wider than a normal Gnat's.

For reference there's a good picture on this page http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/gnat/index.html

Starviking
 

Jemiba

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"Yes- twin RB.153 turbofans I think?"

... those, or two Bristol Siddeley Viper 20, that's what
Derek Wood tells us in "Project Cancelled".
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Early evolution of the Gnat is shown here in Flight:
http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201710.pdf
http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201711.pdf
 

TinWing

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overscan said:
Early evolution of the Gnat is shown here in Flight:
http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201710.pdf
http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201711.pdf

I am very fond of the "Derwent Gnat."

It would have looked something like a miniature Supermarine Swift.
 

hesham

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Hi,

The Gnat projects,notice Fo.140.


http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201710.pdf
 

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Antonio

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Great!

Thanks Hesham, you're doing a great research work at Flight archives :)
 

Jemiba

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Interesting find, indeed !
With regard to "Sabreslayer and Red Arrows", the Fo.140 was the follow-on design to a
twin engined proposal for O.R.303.
And to answer eventually Sentinel Chickens question, what's in the nose of the Ajeet:
I've found a cut-away, that clearly shows a small radar installation, without mentioning
the type, but it probably was coupled to the Ferranti ISIS Type 195 gunsight.
 

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Jemiba

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As the article in FLIGHT from November 1957 mentiones, the aircraft, that
later emerged as the Gnat, started its life as a kind of expendable, very light
and very simple jet fighter. Powered by two short-life turbojets ( RR R.B.93
soar, I would suggest), the pilot in a prone postion and armament consisting
of a battery of unguided rockets. A modified layout used twin booms, housing
the engines and an inverted butterfly tail (In this form it could have closely
resembled the model of the Martin Midget, as shown in the photo posted by
Skybolt recently ).
At least the first variant was wind tunnel tested using a half scale model, so
maybe there's a chance, that at least some model photos can be found
somewhere ? Or maybe even drawings ?? Would be great, to get the Gnat
development as complete as possible ! 8)
 

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hesham

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Hi,

the Folland Fo.147 VG strike fighter trainer.
http://www.flightglobal.com/PDFArchive/View/1975/1975%20-%201445.html?search=aircraft%20project%201975
 

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Jemiba

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Well, in fact two different VG layouts were proposed for the F.O.147,
the one shown, tailless with a fore-plane and a conventional.
remarkable was the sweeping method, which moved the wing forward,
when it was swept
 

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Barrington Bond

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Early 60's Interavia sorry don't know issue...
 

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Jemiba

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And here we have without doubt TWO Firestreak missiles ! Was it just
optimism ? Or a configuration as a kind of point-defence fighter ?
 

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Jemiba said:
And here we have without doubt TWO Firestreak missiles ! Was it just
optimism ? Or a configuration as a kind of point-defence fighter ?

Take a look at the Mk.5's drawing (posted in this thread on 10 Nov, 2006 by Overscan http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,769.msg8118.html#msg8118). Its caption clearly indicates that there were to be TWO Firestreaks. I wonder, by the way, whether the Mk5 would carry any drop-tanks. Any clues?

Piotr
 

Jemiba

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"I wonder, by the way, whether the Mk5 would carry any drop-tanks. Any clues?"
Exactly that's the question !
If you have a look at the drawings in "Sabre Slayer and Red Arrow", the payload of the
Firestreak (or Red Top, similar weight and dimensions, I think) armed variants consists
of one missile and one droptank under the other wing.
Two missiles plus two tanks probably would have meant overstretching the load carrying
capability of the Gnat, no drop tanks would probably have given very short range.
Even with the smaller and lighter sidewinder, often just one missile is shown.
 

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