Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF14


The Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF.14 was the ultimate variant of the Meteor night-fighter family, coupling the most technically advanced avionics suite with a new clear-vision canopy.

In January 1947 the Air Ministry issued a specification for a twin-engined night-fighter to replace the ageing De Havilland Mosquito NF.36. None of the designs submitted were deemed acceptable and the Air Ministry therefore asked Gloster to develop a night-fighter version of the Meteor as a stop-gap measure. By 1949 Gloster was already overloaded with work on the Meteor F.8 and the Javelin, so it was decided to contract the development and production of Meteor night-fighters to Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Limited.

The result, the Meteor NF.11, was based on the Meteor T.7 two-seat trainer with an F.8 tail unit and wings similar to those of the PR.10 added and fitted together with a new nose section and a pressurised cockpit. The first production aircraft entered RAF service with No. 29 Squadron in 1951 and the NF.11 went on to equip 15 RAF squadrons for the night defence of the United Kingdom and West Germany against potential Soviet air attacks.

The basic Meteor night-fighter design evolved through the more powerful and better equipped NF.12, and the NF.13 – effectively a tropicalised NF.11 which served with two squadrons in Egypt, Malta and Cyprus – to the NF.14. The NF.14 was the only variant to have a ‘bubble’ canopy; a development which aided the crew in spotting their targets at night.

Through the course of its career the Meteor night-fighter progressed from a cobbled-together stop-gap to a successful and liked aircraft, which, not only protected the UK and Western Germany from Soviet aggression, but was also a moderate export success serving with the Danish, Belgian, French, Israeli, Egyptian and Syrian air forces.

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