Gloster Javelin

From Academic Kids

Gloster Javelin F(AW) Mk.9
Javelin FAW.7
RoleAll-weather interceptor
CrewTwo, pilot and radar operator
First Flight26 November 1951 (Mk.1)
Entered Service29 February 1956
Length56 ft 9 in17.15 m
Wingspan52 ft15.85 m
Height16 ft4.88 m
Wing area927 ft²86 m²
Empty24,000 lb10,886 kg
Loaded31,580 lb14,325 kg
Maximum takeoff43,165 lb19,580 kg
Engines2x Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 7 turbojets
Thrust24,600 lbf109.42 kN
Maximum speed710 mph1,140 km/h
Range954 miles1,530 km
Service ceiling52,800 ft15,865 m
Rate of climb5,400 ft/min1,647 m/min
Wing loading34 lb/ft²166 kg/m²
AvionicsWestinghouse AN/APQ-43 radar
Guns2 x 30 mm Aden cannons
MissilesUp to four Fairey Firestreak AAMs

The Gloster Javelin was an interceptor aircraft that served with Britain's Royal Air Force in the late 1950s and most of the 1960s. It was a large tailed delta aircraft designed for night and adverse weather operations.


The Javelin began with a 1947 Air Ministry requirement for a high-performance night fighter that led to orders for prototypes of two of the competing designs, the Gloster GA.5 and the de Havilland DH.110. 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, (although the company was to continue development as a private venture that eventually resulted in the de Havilland Sea Vixen). The aircraft had a highly distinctive appearance, its broad delta wings surmounted by a huge fin topped by a T-tail.

The GA.5 first flew on 26 November 1951 (as it happened, exactly two months after the prototype DH.110 took to the air), and protracted fight testing took place until 1956, when the first 14 production machines were delivered, designated F(AW) Mk.1. Continued development and improvements were on-going, leading to small production runs of different models of the aircraft throughout the year.

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 updated to the FAW.9 standard). Indeed, the Javelin was evolving so quickly that deliveries of the FAW.8 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 prototypes.

The closest that the RAF's Javelins ever came to combat was a deployment with 60 Squadron to Kai Tak during the Malayan Emergency. In 1964, an Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules crashed while trying to evade interception by a Javelin.

The last of the type was withdrawn from service in 1968, although one aircraft remained flying at Boscombe Downs through 1976. Ten examples are preserved in museums, none of them airworthy.

 Gloster Javelin at the Farnborough Air Show, England
Gloster Javelin at the Farnborough Air Show, England


Most of the many variants of the Javelin were continual updates of the basic design. A total of 435 airframes was built, several of them converted to different marks (sometimes repeatedly).

  • FAW.1: Initial version with Armstrong-Siddley Sapphire Sa.6 engines with 8,000 lbf (35.6 kN thrust each), British AI.17 radar, four 30mm ADEN cannon in wings. 40 produced, and the seven prototypes were later fitted to this standard.
  • FAW.2: Replaced AI.17 with U.S.-made Westinghouse AN/APQ-43 radar. 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 center of gravity, adding additional internal fuel. Retained four cannon. 22 produced.
  • FAW.4: Similar to FAW.2, but with vortex generators on wings for improved stall characteristics. 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.
  • FAW.7: Introduced new Sa.7 engines with 11,000 lbf (48.9 kN) thrust each, powered rudder, extended rear fuselage. Armed with two 30mm 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 inefficient afterburner actually reduced thrust while increasing fuel consumption. New 'drooped' wing leading edge and auto-stabilizer for better handling.
  • FAW.9: 76 FAW.7s refitted with the revised wing of the Mk.8.
  • FAW.9R: 40 Mk.9s refitted with in-flight refueling probes.

Several variants were proposed, but not produced, including recce versions, a fighter bomber version with underwing panniers for bombs, and a supersonic variant with area-ruled fuselage, thinner wings, and a new tail.

External links

  • Javelins in Service (
Related content
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Designation Series Gloster Ga.1 - Gloster Ga.2 - Gloster Ga.5
Related Lists List of aircraft of the RAF - List of fighter aircraft

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Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation


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