The Gnat was designed the innovative W.E.W. (Teddy) Petter whose other famous designs include the English Electric Lightning and Canberra, and the Westland Lysander. Concieved as an ultra lightweight jet fighter powered by the 4000 lb Bristol Siddely Orpheus the first Gnat fighter flew in 1954. The Gnat was fully capable of exceeding 600 mph at sea level, and an altitude of 38,000 ft. Although the lightweight fighter concept never found favour with the RAF the Gnat fighter served with the Finnish and Indian air forces where 174 were built under license. The RAF chose the two seat Gnat as its advanced trainer. The Central Flying School at Little Rissington took delivery of its first Gnats in 1962 and formed the RAF display team “The Yellowjacks” in 1965 flying five yellow painted Gnats. Two years later the Yellowjacks became the “Red Arrows” flying seven, then nine Gnats. The Red Arrows flew the Gnat from 1967 until 1979, when the Gnat was finally replaced by BAe Hawks. The Red Arrows still continue to this day as the premier jet aerobatic display team
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