The Gloster Meteor F Mk.IV was the first post-war version of the Meteor, and was a dramatic improvement on the Meteor F Mk.III. The main reason for the improved performance of the Meteor IV was its engines. Rolls-Royce had developed a new jet engine, the Nene. This was much more powerful than the early Derwent engines used in the Meteor, but was too big to fit into the Meteor’s engine nacelles.
Rolls-Royce responded by producing a scaled down version, 85.5% of the size of the Nene, which it gave the name Derwent V. This new engine provided 3,500lb of thrust, a 50% increase on the power offered by the Derwent IV used in later Meteor IIIs. The Derwent V ran for the first time on the test bench on 7 June 1945.
This new engine was then fitted to a Meteor Mk.III (serial EE360), to make the F Mk.IV prototype. This made its maiden flight on 15 August 1945, with Eric Greenwood at the controls. Tests revealed that the new Meteor had much better performance than earlier models, reaching 570mph at 10,000ft, nearly 80mph than the fastest Mk.IIIs. Acceleration was also dramatically improved. While earlier versions of the Meteor had been somewhat pedestrian, the Mk.IV would twice create new World Air Speed Records. The Mk.IV also had fully harmonised controls, making it much easier to fly.
At this point it is work making a quick comment on the numbering of RAF aircraft. Until June 1948 mark numbers were indicated in Roman numerals, thus the F Mk.IV. In that month Arabic numerals were adopted instead, and the F Mk.IV became the F Mk.4. All later versions of the Meteor used Arabic numerals.
The increased power of the Meteor IV did cause some problems. The most important related to the wing, which was no longer strong enough to cope with high speeds being achieved. After a small number of aircraft had been built with the original wing, a new shorter but stronger wing was introduced. This solved the original weakness problems and also allowed the Meteor to carry 2,000lb of munitions under the wings. It also increased the rate of role of the Meteor by 80 degrees per second. The improved performance of the clipped wing aircraft was recognised in specification F.11/46 and became the standard model of the Meteor IV.
The Meteor IV was a major export success, selling to six countries – Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt and Holland purchased significant numbers, while France took two aircraft.
In the immediate post-war world, the RAF no longer felt the urgent need to re-equip its squadrons with the newest models, and the Meteor IV did not enter RAF squadron service until the start of 1947, when No.91 Squadron received the type. Five more squadrons began to receive the type in November-December 1947, operating the Mk.III and the Mk.IV together for some months. Eventually the Meteor F Mk.IV was used by twenty seven RAF squadrons, remaining in service in large numbers until 1952, but at the end of that year only No.263 squadron still operated the type.
Engine: Two Rolls-Royce Derwent V engines
Thrust: 3,500lb each
Gross Weight: 13,900lb
Maximum level speed at sea level: 583mph
Maximum level speed at 30,000ft: 570mph
Rate of climb at sea level: 7,900ft/min
Cruise Range at normal load: 510 miles
Cruise Range with external tanks: 713 miles
Armament: Four 20mm cannon in nose and two 1,000lb bombs or sixteen 90lb rocket projectiles under the wings
Short Span: As above apart from
Gross Weight: 15,175lb
Maximum level speed at sea level: 590mph
Rate of climb at sea level: 7,350ft/,in