FO-141 Gnat

Manufacturer: Folland Aircraft (later, Hawker Siddeley)
Designation:  FO-141
Nickname: Gnat
Type: Fighter
Specifications
Length: 29'  9''  
Height: 8'  9''  
Wingspan: 22'  2''  
Gross Weight: 6,650 to 8,885 lbs.  
Propulsion
No. of Engines:  1
Powerplant: Bristol Siddeley Orpheus 701 turbojet
Pounds of static thrust (each): 4,520
Performance
Range: 500 miles (1 hour 30 min)  
Max Speed:  695 mph  (Mach 0.98)    
     

 

Designed in the mid-1950s by W.E.W. Petter as a low-cost alternative to
increasingly expensive and overly sophisticated military aircraft, the Gnat is a
tiny, subsonic, single-seat, swept-wing fighter and trainer. Developed for
production by Folland Aircraft Ltd United Kingdom, the Gnat design permits the
aircraft to be constructed and maintained cheaply, by nominally industrialized
countries without extensive specialized tools.

With excellent performance capabilities, a top speed of 695 mile per hour and
a service ceiling of nearly 50,000 feet, the little aircraft became a favorite
of everyone who flew it. Although not used as a fighter by the Royal Air Force
the Gnat became a versatile trainer and the star of the RAF Red Arrows
Aerobatics Demonstration Team. Armed with two 30mm cannon, the Gnat's most
noteworthy achievement came as a fighter for the Indian Air Force. In repeated
conflicts with Pakistan between 1965 and the early 1970's, the Gnat became known
as the "Sabre Slayer" for its success against the Canadair Sabre, a foreign
built variant of the U.S. F-86.

March Field Air Museum's Gnat, currently painted in the colors of the RAF Red
Arrows, was obtained from the Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation (MARC).