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Gloster F.9/37


Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1939



"Two prototypes of the Gloster F.9-37 heavy fighter aircraft were built for Britain during World War 2 - the type was not adopted."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/13/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Gloster F.9/37 was a British pre-World War 2 aircraft developed by the Gloster Aircraft Company to satisfy a 1935 Air Ministry Requirement for a twin-engine heavy fighter / "turret fighter" platform (whose design was also to progress into a dedicated night-fighter platform). The aircraft was evolved along this line under the care of various lead engineers and was able to record a first-flight in April of 1939. However, the Royal Air Force (RAF) realized that the aircraft would become obsolete before it could be produced in the numbers required for 1940 and the design was dropped after two flyable prototypes were made.

The aircraft existed in an initial form known as the F.34/35 and it was this aircraft that was drawn up with the dorsal turret in place as well as nose-mounted machine gun armament. The aircraft appeared conventional by late-1930s standards and featured the cockpit aft of the nosecone. The wing mainplanes were straight with rounded tips and set well ahead of midships. Each wing held an aerodynamically refined engine nacelle and each unit drove three-bladed propellers. The fuselage tapered towards the tail to which a double-finned tail unit was affixed. A tail-dragger undercarriage completed the look of this aircraft. The dorsal turret was given complete 360-degree rotation over the aircraft and held 4 x 7.7mm machine guns in paired side-by-side installations.

Though ordered in prototype form in 1936, this design was cancelled before any physical work could begin (the requirement being fulfilled by the Boulton Paul Defiant turret fighter). However, Gloster was allowed to evolve this aircraft into something more under Specification F.9/37 of 1937. This revised requirement sought a new heavy fighter with a minimum speed of 300 miles per hour with a minimum rate-of-climb of 2,725 feet-per-minute. Power would come from 2 x Bristol Taurus T-S(a) engines or 2 x Rolls-Royce Kestrel KV.26 engines and these would be fitted one per wing element. In terms of armament, the heavy fighter would carry 2 x 20mm cannons at the nose, these managed by the pilot, and the rear crewman would manage the powered dorsal turret armed with 4 x 7.7mm machine guns. Before the end of 1938, the second crewman and his position were dropped from the design to better streamline the fighter. In place of the dorsal turret was 3 x 20mm cannons arranged to fire over the cockpit and aircraft's nose, providing the fighter with a lethal forward "punch" against any target in the sky.

The first prototype was equipped with the Taurus engine and the second followed with the Rolls-Royce installations - though the latter was now changed to the Rolls-Royce "Peregrine" series. After early runs for the aircraft, which proved successful and eased development, a first-flight was recorded on April 3rd, 1939. At 360 miles per hour, the F.9/37 was a speedster compared to British fighters in service. Pilots admired the design and found her easy to fly and control.

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However, a belly-landing of the first prototype on July 27th delayed development and the specimen was reinstated with Bristol Taurus T-S(a) III engines - but this served to reduce performance for the design. More test flights and weapons evaluation followed but these were lengthy and drawn out.

The second prototype appeared with its Peregrine engines but suffered from excess weight and being underpowered compared to the first - able to make just 330 mph in testing.

Other forms were considered including a dedicated night fighter - the two-seat F.18/40 - and this was to feature a 4 x 20mm cannons under the cockpit floor and reach speeds of 390 mph to take down enemy bombers under the cover of darkness with assistance from onboard (AI = Airborne Interception) radar. One of the existing F.9/37 prototypes was slated to be converted to the F.29/40 "Reaper" night fighter but the project was ended in May of 1941 with the war in full swing - the twin-engined de Havilland DH.98 "Mosquito" heavy fighter proved itself more than capable of conversion to a night fighter.

The F.9/37 program never achieved more than its flyable prototype forms despite its promising nature and was heavily delayed in development to the point that it made itself an unlikely candidate for a serial production contract.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Gloster F.9/37 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft.
2 x Bristol Taurus T-S(a) 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,000 horsepower each and driving three-bladed propeller units.
Propulsion
360 mph
580 kph | 313 kts
Max Speed
30,020 ft
9,150 m | 6 miles
Service Ceiling
2,450 ft/min
747 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Gloster F.9/37 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
37.1 ft
11.30 m
O/A Length
50.0 ft
(15.25 m)
O/A Width
11.6 ft
(3.55 m)
O/A Height
8,852 lb
(4,015 kg)
Empty Weight
11,640 lb
(5,280 kg)
MTOW
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Gloster F.9/37 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft .
PROPOSED:
2 x 20mm Hispano automatic cannons.
4 x 0.303 caliber (7.7mm) Browning machine guns.

Provision for limited bomb load.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Gloster F.9/37 family line.
F.9/37 - Base Project Designation; twin-engine heavy fighter.
F.18/40 - Modified F.9/37 for night fighter role, becoming the F.29/40.
F.29/40 "Gloster Reaper" - Proposed night fighter variant.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Gloster F.9/37. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Gloster Aircraft Company - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (360mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
2
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Gloster F.9/37
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Gloster F.9/37 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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