Folland Gnat T1 XP505 Science Museum Swindon
RELEASED 26th FEBRUARY 2014
The Folland Gnat was a small, swept-wing British subsonic jet trainer and light fighter aircraft developed for the Royal Air Force,
and flown extensively by the Indian Air Force. It was designed by W.E.W. Petter, and first flew in 1955.
Although RAF interest waned in its possible use as a fighter, the Gnat was modified to meet the 1957 Trainer Specification T.185D that called for an advanced two-seat trainer that could transition pilots between the current DH Vampire T 11 and operational fighters such as the English Electric Lightning. After review of Folland's proposals, an initial contract for 14 modified Gnat trainers was issued in 7 January 1958. The Folland Fo.144 Gnat Trainer served in the RAF with the designation Gnat T Mk 1. It was notable as the demonstration aircraft of the Red Arrows aerobatic display team between 1964, when the team was formed, and 1979, when it was replaced by the Hawk.
When the RAF sold off its Gnats, many were bought by private collectors and some subsequently appeared in the 1991 comedy film Hot Shots!