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Gloster Javelin - United Kingdom, 1956

Detailing the development and operational history of the Gloster Javelin Twin-Seat Jet-Powered Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 6/18/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Gloster Javelin  
Picture of Gloster Javelin
Picture of Gloster Javelin

The Gloster Javelin was the very last aircraft to be produced by the renowned Gloster company.

The Gloster Javelin was the first twin-engine delta-wing jet fighter design to take up service with any one air force. The system would also become the United Kingdoms first all-weather day or night fighter and the very final production design of the fabled World War Two powerhouse company Gloster.

The Javelin was a twin-seat turbojet fighter designed to fulfill the role of all-weather interception for the Royal Air Force. The system was produced as far back as 1948 but not fielded till 1956. In between that time, three prototype and pre-production aircraft were lost in maneuvers that prompted a complete redesign of the aircraft. By designs end, the system would be fielded with an all-delta wing surface structure fitted to two Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojet engines with a dominant tailplane section consisting of a high-mounted elevator assembly with rudder.

At the time of production, the Javelin was one of the most technologically advanced aircraft of the day. The ability for the system to be able to see and attack in any weather, day or night, was quite an advantage when fielded against lesser foes. Armed with a conservative array of 2 x 20mm cannons, the system would have to wait until the FAW.Mk 7 in 1958 to see the implementation of air-to-air infra-red homing missiles, completing the transformation of the post-world war design to a more contemporary fighter. Variants later, the Javelin system would be fielded with an inflight refueling probe and drop tanks that would impressively increase the overall combat radius of the aircraft.

As it stood, the Javelin maintained a successful service record, being fielded by as many as 14 squadrons in the Royal Air Force alone. The system would see production until 1967, by which time the Javelin would be replaced by more modern turbojet and turbofan fighters - ultimately closing the book on one of the most successful aviation companies in history.

Gloster Javelin FAW.Mk 1 Specifications

Service Year: 1956
Type: Twin-Seat Jet-Powered Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
National Origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer(s): Gloster - UK
Total Production: 436

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 2
Overall Length: 56.27 feet (17.15 meters)
Overall Width: 52.00 feet (15.85 meters)
Overall Height: 16.01 feet (4.88 meters)

Weight (Empty): 24,000 lb (10,886 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 31,579 lb (14,324 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 2 x Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire ASSa.6 turbojet engines developing 8,000 lb of thrust each.

Maximum Speed: 616 knots (709 mph; 1,141 kph)
Maximum Range: 826 nautical miles (951 miles; 1,530 km)
Service Ceiling: 52,493 feet (16,000 meters; 9.94 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 5,405 feet-per-minute (1,647 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 30mm cannons

Later models upgraded with missile support:
4 x Firestreak air-to-air infra-red homing missles (in place of the 2 x 30mm cannon assembly).

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

United Kingdom

Model Variants

FAW.Mk 1 - Initial Production Model Designation; 427 produced.
FAW.Mk 2 - Uprated 8,300lb thrust powerplants; improved Westinghouse radar system.
T.3 - Dual-Control Trainer Variant; sans radar; 2 x 30mm cannons.
FAW.Mk 4 - Improved handling characteristics; all-moving tailplane feature.
FAW.Mk 5 - increased internal fuel capacity; modified wing assemblies.
FAW.Mk 6 - Based on Mk 5 but fitted with an American-produced radar system.
FAW.Mk 7 - 142 produced; fitted with Sapphire 203 11,000 thrust powerplants; provision for 4 x Firestreak air-to-air missiles in place of 2 x 30mm cannons.
FAW.Mk 8 - Afterburning powerplants for 13,390lbs of total thrust.
FAW.Mk 9 - Final Production Model Variant; based on existing FAW.Mk 7 and FAW.Mk 8 models but brought up to new standard; fitted with inflight refueling probe for increased range.

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