The Nakajima A1N was designed in Britain as the Gloster Gambet, but saw service with the Imperial Japanese Navy as the Type 3 Carrier-Based Fighter, replacing the Gloster Sparrowhawk.
The Gambet was designed at Gloster by Henry Folland as a private venture. It was an unequal span single-span biplane, powered by a Bristol Jupiter radial engine and armed with two forward firing Vickers machine-guns. It was designed for use as a naval aircraft, with arrester hooks and flotation gear.
In 1926 the Imperial Japanese Navy asked Aichi, Mitsubishi and Nakajima to submit designs for a carrier-borne fighter to replace the Gloster Sparrowhawk. Nakajima approached Gloster, and in July 1927 purchased both the prototype Gambet and a production licence.
The Gambet was modified by a Nakajima design team led by Takao Yoshida, partly to satisfy specific navy requirements and partly to make it easier to build in Japan. The aircraft won the Navy contract, and entered production as the Navy Type 3 Carrier-Based Fighter. Two versions were produced, the A1N1 of which fifty were built and the A1N2 of which one hundred were built. Production of all 150 aircraft took place between 1929 and 1930.
The Nakajima A1N was used during the Shanghai incident, and remained in front line service until 1935. It was replaced by the Nakajima A2N, another biplane.
Stats for Gloster Gambet
Engine: Bristol Jupiter VI radial engine
Wing span: 31ft 0in
Length: 21ft 3.5in
Height: 10ft 8in
Empty Weight: 2,010lb
Maximum take-off Weight: 3,075lb
Max Speed: 152mph
Service Ceiling: 23,200ft
Endurance: 3 hours 45 minutes at 15,000ft
Armament: Two 7.7mm Vickers machine guns
Bomb-load: Four 20lb bombs under the wings
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