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Google Map of Many Gloster Meteors at Rasin El Aboud Air Base

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The Syrian Air Force was still small and its first jets, a single squadron of Gloster Meteor F.8s, were its only jets. Twelve had been ordered from Britain, with two Meteor T.7 trainers, back in January 1950. This first order was delayed by a Middle East arms embargo which came into force in October 1951, but the Meteor F.8s were finally delivered between December 3, 1952, and March 9, 1953, in batches of four, and were serialled 401 to 412. The T.7s were delivered on November 4, 1952, and bore serials 91 and 92 (ex-WL471 and '472). The aircraft originally earmarked for Syria had been diverted to the RAF with the British serial numbers WK814-817, WK824-827, and WK862-WK865, but whether the same machines were eventually sent to Syria is unclear.

During the summer of 1954, six ex-RAF Meteor NF.13 night-fighters were also supplied to Syria, though, of course, without the radar equipment which would have made them effective. As a result, these NF.13s seem to have served as dual-control conversion trainers with the Syrian Air Force, serial numbers 471 to 476 (ex-WM332, 336, 330, 337, 341 and 333, respectively). A second batch of seven Meteor F.8s arrived in 1956, apparently being given serial numbers from 413. The latter were again ex-RAF machines (WA785, WL174, WK868, WK984, WH503, WE965 and WH260), and served the Syrians in the ground-attack role. A small British training mission had helped the Syrian Air Force absorb these aircraft and taught the Syrians how to maintain them, but not how to use them in air combat. Two photo-reconnaissance Meteor FR.9s, WB133 and WX972, were delivered around the same time and were probably given serial numbers 480 and 481.


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