No. 1474. Gloster G.47 Meteor TT.Mk.20 (N94749)
Photographed at Mojave, California, USA, 1987, by Phil Juvet

Gloster G.47 Meteor TT.Mk.20

10/31/2012. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd. developed the Meteor TT.Mk.20 from the NF.Mk.11 night fighter, principally to satisfy the Royal Navy's requirements for a high-speed target-towing aircraft for worldwide shore-based operation of ground-to-air gunnery and guided missile practice. The TT.20 could carry four high-speed radar, or non-radar, responsive targets, either 15 ft (4.57 m) long and 3 ft (0.91 m) diameter or 20 ft (6.10 m) long and 4 ft (1.22 m) diameter, which were stowed in the specially modified rear fuselage and launched while the aircraft was airborne.

An M.L. Aviation type G fully-feathering windmill-driven winch with a 6,100 ft (1,859 m) long towing cable was mounted on a streamlined pylon on the starboard center section. Near-miss recording gear, together with conductive cable and target microphone, was carried on the targets and with this equipment projectile shock waves were used to detect near-misses which were signaled via the towing cable to an indicator on the winch operator's control panel in the rear cockpit.

The towing cable was routed from the rear of the winch to a pulley at the trailing edge of the wing through a tubular strut to a pulley below the fuselage and thence through a cable-cutter to the target exchange and release unit. The cable-cutter's blade-trip mechanism was remotely controllable from the rear and front cockpits.

Apart from the installation of the target winch, stowage canisters and the associated control and indicating equipment, the rudder and elevator control cables were rerouted through the rear fuselage in the region of the target canisters, the four wing-mounted guns were removed together with the magazines and magazine feed necks and other non-essential items of equipment. This enabled the TT.Mk.20 to operate at weights comparable to those of the standard NF.Mk.11 Meteors and have similar airfield performance.

In addition to modifying ex-RAF NF.Mk.11s for the Royal Navy's use, Armstrong Whitworth also modified four Danish AF NF.Mk.11s, s/n 508, 512, 517 and 519. These aircraft were subsequently registered SE-DCR, SE-DCF, SE-DCG and SE-DCI respectively and, although they were owned by the Danish Air Board, were operated by Svensk Flygtjänst AB (Swedish Flight Service) in target-towing for the Danish Defense Forces.

The pictured aircraft was built as a Meteor NF.Mk.11 under s/n WD592, and was delivered to the A&AEE on April 18, 1951, and later served with No. 264 Squadron; subsequently it was converted to a Meteor TT.Mk.20, and coded HF-864 it was operated by the RN. It was struck off charge in 1974, and in December of that year it was sold to Al Letcher & Associates of Mojave, California, USA, who registered it as N94749, although the aircraft remained in the UK.

The following June it was flown from Biggin Hill to Mojave, being repainted in overall white, by 1987 it had the shown unmarked paint scheme. In 1988 it was sold to Al Hansen and Ascher Ward, also of Mojave, and in May 1993, it was donated to the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB for static display; its registration was cancelled January 4, 1994."

Created April 21, 2002