Gloster Meteor FR9 / PR10The need to replace the Spitfire PR XI and PR10 made the Gloster Meteor the obvious choice and eventually the Air Ministry requested Gloster to develop a dedicated fighter reconnaissance version. The Meteor F4 was chosen to be adapted and the first aircraft VT347 was fitted with vertical and oblique cameras, unfortunately this aircraft broke up on its maiden flight killing the pilot Rodney Dryland. Eventually Gloster developed the FR9, which retained the usual four-cannon armament of the standard Meteor, as well as a variety of portholes for forward and oblique photography using the F24 camera in a new nose and two further cameras in the rear fuselage for vertical photography. In total 126 FR9's were built and served with 2, 8, 79 and 208 Sqns. The FR9 served effectively in the low-level reconnaissance role for a number of years before being replaced by the Canberra and Swift. After service with the RAF a number of FR9's were refurbished and sold to Ecuador, Israel and Syria.
However, probably the most effective reconnaissance version of the Meteor was the PR10, which could reach an altitude of 47,000ft and had an endurance with wing and ventral tanks of 3 hrs 40mins, giving an absolute range of 1000nms. Intended for high-altitude strategic reconnaissance, this aircraft was fitted with the long-span wings of the F3, an F4 tail unit and an F8 centre section. The nose camera section was the same as the FR9, but the PR10 also carried two F52 cameras in the ventral position of the rear fuselage. A total of 59 PR10ís were produced and they equipped 2 Sqn, 13 Sqn, 81 Sqn and 541 Sqn.
PR10s were issued to 541 Sqn at Benson in Dec 1950 and in Jun 51 the squadron deployed to Buckeburg as part of 2ATAF. It is believed that between 1951-5 the PR10ís operated by 541 Sqn took part in a series of short-range, high-level reconnaissance sorties over East Germany. These cross border reconnaissance flights were ended when the Soviet Air Force deployed MiG-19 interceptors to East Germany in 1956, but the PR10s continued to fly reconnaissance sorties along the edge of East German airspace.