During the early Cold War years the RAF found itself increasingly in need of a truly all-weather high performance fighter. There were two leading designs available as prototypes in 1951; the DH110 from de Havilland and from Gloster, the GA5. These were to become respectively, the Sea Vixen and the Javelin. Neither was a classic or a Beauty, but both operational during the 1950s. The Sea Vixen, hence the title, entered service with the Royal Navy and the Javelin, on the promise of being made ready earlier, with the Royal Air Force. However, so unready were the first production Javelins, with pressure to get them in service when expected, there were no fewer than nine versions entering service with operational RAF squadrons between 1956 and 1959. Although the Flat Iron met the requirements of range, weapons and all-weather capability, it was much under powered and cumbersome for a fighter. Nevertheless, the Gloster Javelin was also just as much underrated. Entering service at the wrong time as the Sandys Defence White Paper unwittingly claimed the end of the manned fighter and following on the Javelin s heels came the English Electric Lightning with its truly supersonic performance. These factors combined to produce a situation which shortened the service years of the Javelin and halted further development.
HISTORY OF THE GLOSTER JAVELIN
This is a very good and comprehensive review, with exhaustive research from the National Archives, and previously unpublished RAF operational record books, of the Gloster Javelin the twin-engined T-tailed delta-wing subsonic night and all-weather interceptor aircraft that served with Britain’s Royal Air Force from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s. Illustrated throughout with a varied and interesting selection of images.
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Ian Smith Watson
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Hardback 240 pages with 118 black and white and 34 colour photographs
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