The Gladiator was developed from the Gloster Gauntlet. It first flew in 1934 and entered service in 1937. Even as it was introduced, the design was being eclipsed by the new generation of monoplane fighters. In the North African and Greek theatres, RAF Gladiators achieved some success against the Italian Regia Aeronautica, which was mainly equipped with Fiat CR.32 and Fiat CR.42 biplanes. It suffered heavier losses against the Fiat G.50 and Macchi C.200 monoplanes.
After the declaration of war by Italy in 1940, RAAF 3 squadron was deployed to the Middle East under Royal Air Force command, and was partly equipped with RAF Gloster Gladiator, but by 1941 received the more modern Hawker Hurricane.
Length: 27 ft 5 in (8.4 m)
Wingspan: 32 ft 3 in (9.8 m)
Height: 11 ft 7 in (3.2 m)
Wing area: 323 ft² (30 m²)
Empty weight: 3,444 lb (1,560 kg)
Loaded weight: 4,864 lb (2,205 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Bristol Mercury IX radial engine, 850 hp (630 kW)
Maximum speed: 257 mph (414 km/h) at 14,600 ft (4,500 m)
Range: 444 mi (710 km)
Service ceiling: 33,500 ft (10,200 m)
Rate of climb: 2220 ft/min (11.2 m/s)
Guns: 2 x .303in Browning machine guns on sides of front fuselage
1 x .303in Browning machine gun beneath the lower wing
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