Initially designed in the early 1950s as a light-weight fighter the Gnat became the primary advanced jet trainer for the Royal Air Force during the 1960s and 1970s. Gnat fighters served with reasonable success in the Indian Air Force during the 1965 war with Pakistan, but it was as a two-seat trainer that the Gnat saw its most widespread service. Development of the trainer began in 1956 and it first flew on August 31, 1959. The Gnat’s most visible use was with the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows flight display team. It flew with the Red Arrows from 1963 until 1980. Just over 100 Gnat trainers were built for the Royal Air Force.
Royal Air Force flight test colors, 1961
Pima Air & Space Museum