History of the Gloster Javelin

The First All Weather British Fighter

Ian Watson

This book follows the progress of the Javelin from the requirement stage through to final squadron disbandment in 1968. The period in between highlights the difficulties produced by rivals, political pressure for early entry into service, then a change of Government heart which jeopardized the aircraft's development and operational effectiveness.
Date Published :
May 2018
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
Color and B&W photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781781553749
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : In stock


During the plunging temperature of 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.

About The Author

Ian Smith Watson is an author and a historian.


"This is a very good read on many levels. It presents technical and operational information in a clear and readable style, supported by detailed research and numerous anecdotes and photographs from personal collections."

- Air Power History

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