Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

 Search  &  Help Recruits Military History Hall of Heroes Indigenous Slouch hat + ARMY Today Uniforms Badges

 Colours & Flags Weapons Food Equipment Assorted Medals Armour Navy Air Power 

Nurses - Medical Tributes Poetry - Music Posters & Signs Leaders The Enemy Humour Links Killing Anzac

Click to escape. Subject to crown copyright
Category: Air support/Malaya-Korea

Click to go up one level

Meteor Mark 8

Pilots of 77 Squadron started out in the Korean War flying P-51 Mustang aircraft. Originally designed as a fighter during the Second World War, the piston-engine Mustang had lost its technical edge by the time of the Korean War, and was more suited to ground-support roles.

When Soviet-built, MiG-15 jet fighters appeared in Korean skies after China entered the war, they soon demonstrated their superior performance. While American squadrons had jet fighters of their own - F-80 Shooting Stars, and later Sabres - only the Sabres could match the MiGs for performance and versatility.

Also, the name of Thunderbolt was adopted for the jet, but the British officials were 'shocked' to find that the pesky Americans had beat them to the draw with the P-47!  After careful observation to make sure the same mistake was not repeated, the jet was named the Meteor.

In April 1951, 77 Squadron replaced its Mustangs with the British-built twin-jet Meteor Mark 8. The RAAF pilots were trained on the Meteors by four experienced British RAF pilots, at the Iwakuni base in Japan.

Although the Meteor had also been developed during the Second World War, it was thought to be more capable of surviving encounters with the Soviet MiG-15 jet. In Korea, air-to-air combat entered the jet age, but when in August 1951 the jet adversaries met, the Meteors did not fare well. The MiGs speed (1084 km/hour, 122 km/hour faster than Meteors), rate of climb, and performance at high altitudes made MiGs a far superior aircraft. In subsequent months, the role of the Meteor as a fighter was reconsidered, and it was withdrawn from "MiG Alley" for use as a ground-attack aircraft in areas where MiGs were rarely encountered.

"MiG Alley" was the nickname given the area between Chongchon Valley and Yalu River, on the Manchuria/Korea frontier. 

The area was a focus to intercept Chinese MiG fighters, who were based at a Chinese airfield over the border in Antung. 

While UN airpower remained generally superior over the rest of Korea, MiG Alley remained the most dangerous area to RAAF pilots. 

It was also frustrating because UN pilots were forbidden to cross the Yalu River, so MiGs could fight them, and then return to base over the border without any fear of pursuit.

Type: Single Seat Jet Fighter
Power Plants: Two 1,700lbs/thrust Rolls Royce Welland turbojets
Armament: Four 20-mm cannon in nose
Performance: Maximum Speed 458mph
Weights: Empty 8,140lbs

 MiG Alley map and some wording from

Meteors of the RAAF 77 Sqn in Korea lined up on the strip


Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces