History of the Gloster Javelin: The First All Weather British Fighter

Author(s): Ian Smith Watson 

ISBN: 9781781553749
$24.00 $33.00
The history of the first all weather fighter to serve with the RAF.
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  • A fresh and comprehensive review of the Gloster Javelin fighter

  • Comprehensive with exhaustive research from the National Archives, previously unpublished RAF operational record books and many anecdotes from former airmen and officers

  • Gloriously illustrated throughout with a varied and interesting selection of images, many previously unpublished

During the early Cold War years, the RAF was in need of an all-weather high-performance fighter. There were two designs available as prototypes in 1951: the DH110 and GA5 (Gloster), which became the Sea Vixen and Javelin. Neither was a classic or a beauty, but both were operational during the 1950s.

The Sea Vixen entered service with the Navy and the Javelin, on the promise of being available earlier, with the RAF; however, so unready were the first production Javelins, there were no fewer than nine versions entering service with RAF squadrons between 1956 and 1959.

Although the ‘Flat Iron’ met the requirements of range, weapons and all-weather capability, it was underpowered and cumbersome. Nevertheless, the Gloster Javelin was under-rated.

Entering service at the wrong time as Duncan Sandys’ 1957 Defence White Paper unwittingly claimed the end of the manned fighter, the Javelin was also superseded by the English Electric Lightning with its truly supersonic performance. These factors combined to produce a situation that shortened the service life of the Javelin and halted further development.

BOOK ISBN 9781781553749
FORMAT 238 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 240 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 118 black and white and 34 colour photographs



Ian Smith Watson was born in 1960 and served in the RAF from 1977 to 1990 as an Air Defence Radar Operator. He also worked in Saudi Arabia from 1991 to 1993 on contract to the RSAF under the GENA programme and received the FAA Flight Despatch Licence in 1993. His first book was The Royal Air Force At Home.