This Day in Aviation History
November 26th, 1951
First flight of the Gloster Javelin prototype WD804.
The Gloster Javelin was a twin-engined all-weather interceptor aircraft that served with Britain’s Royal Air Force in the late 1950s and most of the 1960s. It was a T-tailed delta-wing aircraft designed for night and all-weather operations and was the last aircraft design to bear the Gloster name. Introduced in 1956 after a lengthy development period, the aircraft received several upgrades during production to its engines, radar and weapons, including support for the De Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missile.
The Javelin was succeeded in the interceptor role by the English Electric Lightning, a supersonic aircraft capable of flying more than double the Javelin’s top speed, which was introduced into the RAF only a few years later. The Javelin served for much of its life alongside the Lightning; the last Javelins were withdrawn from operational service in 1968 following the induction of successively more-capable versions of the Lightning.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Britain identified a threat posed by the jet-powered strategic bomber and atomic weaponry and thus placed a great emphasis on developing aerial supremacy through continuing to advance its fighter technology, even following the end of conflict. Gloster Aircraft, having developed and produced the only Allied jet aircraft to be operational during the war, the Gloster Meteor, sought to take advantage of its expertise and responded to a 1947 Air Ministry requirement for a high-performance night fighter under Air Ministry specification F.44/46. The specification called for a two-seat night fighter, that would intercept enemy aircraft at heights of up to at least 40,000 feet. It would also have to reach a maximum speed of no less than 525 kts at this height, be able to perform rapid ascents and attain an altitude of 45,000 feet within ten minutes of engine ignition.
Additional criteria given in the requirement included a minimum flight endurance of two hours, a takeoff distance of 1,500 yards, structural strength to support up to 4g manoeuvres at high speed and for the aircraft to incorporate airborne interception radar, multi-channel VHF radio and various navigational aids….
Wikipedia, Gloster Javelin:
YouTube, The First Delta All Weather Fighter Interceptor:
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