Javelin was an "all-weather" interceptor aircraft that served with
Britain's Royal Air Force in
the late 1950s and most of the 1960s.
It was a T-tailed delta-wing
aircraft designed for night
weather operations and was the last aircraft
to bear the Gloster
Design and development
The Javelin began with a 1947 Air
requirement for a high-performance night fighter
that led to orders for prototypes
under specification F.44/46
two of the competing designs, the Gloster GA.5
the de Havilland DH.110
was also under consideration for the Royal
. When it appeared that the Gloster design would be ready
sooner and would be simpler and cheaper to build, the de Havilland
submission was rejected; though the company was to continue
development of the DH.110 as a private venture that eventually
resulted in the naval Sea Vixen. The Gloster design had a
distinctive appearance, its broad delta wings surmounted by a large
finned T-tail. The F.44/46 specification subsequently became F.4/48
related to the "Operational Requirement" OR.227.
Gloster Javelin, probably a flight
test aircraft, at Farnborough.
The GA.5 first flew on 26 November 1951 flown by test pilot
(two months after the
prototype DH 110 took to the air), with protracted flight testing
taking place until 1956, when the first 14 production machines were
delivered, designated F(AW) Mk 1
. Development and
improvements continued, leading to small production runs of
different models of the aircraft throughout the years.
By the end of 1956, the Javelin was up to a FAW 7
variant, which was the first to actually meet the specifications of
the original Air Ministry requirement, and which was to become the
definitive version of the aircraft (most of which were later
altered to the FAW 9
standard). Indeed, the
Javelin was evolving so quickly that deliveries of the FAW
began before FAW.7 production had ended. As a result,
the final 80 FAW.7 aircraft went straight from the factory into
storage, eventually flying after being remanufactured as FAW.9s. A
total of 427 were produced in all variants, plus seven
The Javelin entered service with the RAF in 1956 with No. 46 Squadron
RAF based at RAF
Odiham, England and at its peak (in the years 1959 to
1962), equipped 14 squadrons.
After 1962, numbers dropped
rapidly and, by 1964, only four squadrons were flying the
The closest that the RAF's Javelins came to combat was during the
from September 1963 until August 1966.
of 60 Squadron, later joined by
64 Squadron operated out of
Tengah, Singapore flying combat patrols over the jungles of Malaysia.
1964, an Indonesian Air Force
crashed while trying
to evade interception by a Javelin. During June 1967, following the
disbandment of No. 64 Squadron RAF, 60 Squadron were
deployed to Kai
Kong because of unrest in the colony during China's Cultural Revolution.
were also deployed to Zambia during the early stages of Rhodesias
UDI, to protect Zambia from any action by the Rhodesian Air
The last of the type was withdrawn from service in 1968 with the
disbandment of 60 Squadron at RAF Tengah at the end of April 1968.
aircraft remained flying with the Aeroplane and
Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down until 24 January 1975.
A total of 435 airframes were built by Gloster and Armstrong-Whitworth
; both companies part
of the Hawker Siddeley
Several of them were converted to different marks (sometimes
- FAW .1
- Initial version with Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire Sa.6
engines with 8,000 lbf (35.6 kN thrust) each, British AI.17
radar, four 30 mm ADEN
cannon in wings; 40 produced, and the seven prototypes were
later fitted to this standard.
- FAW 2
- Replaced the AI.17 radar with U.S.-made Westinghouse AN/APQ-43 radar (known as the
AI-22); 30 produced.
- T 3
- Dual-control trainer version
with no radar, bulged canopy for
improved instructor visibility. All-moving tailplane, lengthened fuselage to compensate for altered centre of gravity, adding
additional internal fuel. Retained four cannon; 22 produced.
- FAW 4
- Similar to FAW 2, but with the original AI.17 radar of the
FAW.1, and with the addition of vortex
generators on wings for improved stall characteristics, as well as an
all-moving tailplane. 50 produced.
- FAW 5
- Based on FAW 4, with revised wing structure incorporating
additional fuel tanks, provision for missile
pylons (never actually fitted); 64 produced.
- FAW 6
- Combined FAW 2's American radar with the revised wing of the
FAW.5. 33 produced.
- Introduced new Sa.7 engines with 11,000 lbf (48.9 kN) thrust
each, powered rudder, extended rear fuselage.
Armed with two 30 mm ADEN plus four Firestreak air-to-air missiles; 142 produced.
- FAW 8
- Upgraded Sa.7R engines with reheat, raising thrust to 12,300 lbf
(54.7 kN) thrust above 20,000 ft (6,100 m); at lower altitudes, the
limitation of the fuel pump caused a loss
of cold thrust. .New "drooped" wing leading edge and auto-stabilizer for better handling.
- A total of 76 FAW 7s refitted with the revised wing of the Mk
- FAW 9R
- R standing for "Range". A total of 40 Mk 9s were refitted with
in-flight refueling probes.
Several variants were proposed and investigated but not produced,
version with underwing
panniers for bombs, and a supersonic
variant with area-ruled
wings, and a new tail
. The "thin wing
Javelin" would have been capable of about Mach 1.6 and with a
than contemporary US
designs. Initial work started with fitting a thinner section wing
to a Javelin fuselage but as the project developed the changes
became so great that it would effectively have been a different
aircraft albeit having an outward resemblance to the Javelin. The
final incarnation of the thin wing Javelin just before cancellation
was a large aircraft carrying two Red Dean
all aspect missiles as a possible contender for Operational Requirement
- On display
- Javelin FAW9 XH768 as XH707 at
- On display
- On display
- Javelin FAW1 XA564 at the National
Cold War exhibition at the Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford,
- Javelin FAW4 XA634 at RAF Leeming, England in No. 228 Operational
Conversion Unit RAF markings coded L.
- Javelin FAW5 XA699 in No. 5 Squadron
RAF markings at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England.
- Javelin FAW9 XH767 in No. 23 Squadron
RAF markings at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, England.
- Javelin FAW9R XH892 at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation
Museum Flixton, Suffolk, England.
- Javelin FAW9 XH897 at the Imperial War
Museum Duxford, England
- Javelin FAW9 XH903 in No. 33 Squadron
RAF markings coded G at Staverton, England on loan from the RAF Museum.
- Javelin FAW8 XH992 in No. 85 Squadron
RAF markings coded P at the Newark Air
Museum, Newark, England.
Specifications (Gloster Javelin FAW Mk 9)
- Gloster Javelin - History
- Ellis 2008, page 177
- Ellis 2008, page 268
- Ellis 2008, page 219
- Ellis 2008, page 267
- Ellis 2008, page 200
- Ellis 2008, page 20
- Ellis 2008, page 60
- Ellis 2008, page 171
- British Aircraft Directory Retrieved: 22 October 2007.
- Thunder and Lightnings
- Ellis, Ken. Wrecks & Relics, 21st edition.
Manchester: Crecy Publishing, 2008. ISBN 9 780859 791342
- Winchester, Jim. "Gloster Javelin." Military Aircraft of
the Cold War (The Aviation Factfile). Rochester, Kent, UK: The
Grange plc., 2006. ISBN 1-84013-929-7.