HE evolution of the Gloster Gladiator, England's last biplane fighter, can be traced back to WW I. It was designed by H.P. Folland, who also designed the famous SE-5 used in that war, and the particular chord-gap-stagger relationships of the Gladiator's wings are strongly reminiscent of the SE-5. The Gladiator represented the final stage in England's development of the classic biplane fighter. It featured such latter-day refinements as single-leg landing gear and enclosed cockpit, and it reflected the trend toward increased armament.
The company-owned prototype, then designated S.S.17, flew in September 1934. Orders for 23 and then 186 were placed in July 1935. The Gladiator I's powerplant was the 840hp Bristol Mercury I, which drove a two-blade, fixed-pitch, wooden propeller. Its armament was four .303-caliber machine guns (two in troughs in the fuselage sides and two in the lower wing). Later, a fixed-pitch, three-
This restored Gladiator I has the postwar British civil registration G-AMRK. The prewar R.A.F. serial number was L8032. Note the absence ol guns from fuselage troughs and underwing pods.
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