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The Bristol Scout was a simple, single seat, rotary-engined biplane originally intended as a civilian racing aircraft. Like other similar fast, light aircraft of the period - it was acquired by the RNAS and the RFC as a 'scout', or fast reconnaissance type. In the event it was one of the first single-seaters to be used as fighter aircraft, although it was not possible to fit it with an effective armament until the first British synchronisation gears became available, by which time it was outmoded by later types. Single seat fighters continued to be called 'scouts' in British usage into the early 1920s.