Gloster Javelin FAW.8 (XH992)

Gloster Javelin FAW.8 (XH992)  [@ Newark Air Museum]

A mere 10 complete Javelins now remain in various states of preservation and, unfortunately, none of which will ever fly again.   It was the world’s first twin-jet delta and an extremely radical design for its day.   Developed as a replacement for the night fighter versions of the Meteor, Vampire and Venom, the Gloster GA.5 Javelin prototype flew for the first time on 26th November 1951 and was powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Sapphires.   A serious snag in the shape of rudder buffeting attended the maiden flight and further flight-testing was delayed while modifications were carried out.  Then, on 29th June 1952, the prototype lost both elevators and was destroyed in a crash landing at Boscombe Down.  There were further delays, including the loss of a second prototype, before the Javelin FAW.1 was ordered into ‘super-priority’ production for the RAF.  The first production aircraft flew on 22nd July 1954 and deliveries began to 46 Squadron at RAF Odiham in February 1956.

XH992 was delivered into RAF service on the 5th January 1960 and was the first FAW.8 to enter service with the RAF when XH992 joined 85 Squadron.  Later on transferred to 27 MU before being used at RAF Cosford as an instructional airframe on the 21st February 1964.  Unfortunately XH992 lacks engines and so arrived at Newark by road in 1981.  In the photograph XH992 is displayed in the colours of 85 Squadron.

Gloster Javelin FAW.7/FAW.9 (XH897)

Gloster Javelin FAW.7/FAW.9 (XH897)  [@ RAF Duxford]

The Javelin FAW.2 differed from the FAW.1 only in its use of the American-designed AI22 (APQ43) radar, while the FAW.4, featured an all-moving tailplane.  Several further variants of the Javelin were produced, featuring either aerodynamic refinements or different avionics; the last production model was the FAW.8, the final aircraft being completed in June 1960, but a number of Javelin FAW.7s were brought up to FAW.8 standard (although with British AI radar) and designated FAW.9.  The T.3 was a trainer version.

Built as an FAW.7 XH897 was delivered for service on the 30th December 1958.  Later converted to an FAW.9 XH987 and became the last Javelin to fly on the 24th January 1975 when it landed at RAF Duxford to join the museum.  XH897 was originally delivered to 25 Squadron at RAF Waterbeach in 1959 but later on XH897 served with 33 and 5 Squadron until becoming a test aircraft at A&AEE, Boscombe Down.  Used for various purposes, mostly chase and calibration duties whereby the aircraft would fly alongside newer types so their airspeed indicators could be accurately calibrated against a known target.  In this way XH897 helped out on the Shorts SC.9, Concorde and MRCA (Tornado) projects. In the photograph XH897 is displayed in its colours while at Boscombe Down.

Gloster Javelin FAW.5 (XA699) Gloster Javelin FAW.5 (XA699)

Gloster Javelin FAW.5 (XA699)  [@ Midland Air Museum]

Constructed at the Armstrong Whitworth plant at Baginton, Coventry, XA699 was delivered for RAF service on the 18th April 1957.  Originally allocated in May 1957 to 151 Squadron based at RAF Leuchars, XA699 on the  30th November 1961 flown out to Germany to strengthen 5 Squadron based at RAF Laarbruch.  Employed as an all-weather night fighter about half of its flying hours in Germany were logged as night flights.  On the 24th May 1962 XA699 was flown back to Britain to 27MU at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, where both engines were replaced.  The final flight was on the 13th November 1962, after which XA699 was dismantled for transportation and moved initially to RAF Locking and then to RAF Cosford for use as an instructional airframe.  XA699 was acquired by the Midland Air Museum in 1983 and in the photograph is displayed in the markings of 5 Squadron (Germany 1961/62).