Javelin from the Cockpit, Britain's First Delta Wing Fighter, Peter Caygill

Javelin from the Cockpit, Britain's First Delta Wing Fighter, Peter Caygill

The Gloster Javelin was the first delta wing fighter to enter RAF service, and was designed as an all-weather fighter that could replace the later marks of Meteor as a night fighter. It entered service in 1956 and remained in use for over a decade, although never actually entered combat during that period.

This book covers the entire history of the Javelin, from its original design and development, through its introduction into service, the development of different marks of the aircraft and its last use in RAF service in the Far East.

There is a focus on the accidents, crashes and other disasters that befell individual aircraft, which rather gives the (perhaps unfair) impression that the Javelin was a rather unreliable aircraft. I suspect this apparent emphasis on the accidents has more to do with the Javelin's lack of a combat record, leaving the accidents and crashes as the main break in the peacetime routine of the Javelin squadrons.

The book has some interesting sections on the way in which fighter operations changed in the jet age. The frantic nature of the Second World War interception had been replaced with a much more careful process. The high speed of aircraft meant that warning times were low. The Javelin lost a significant amount of speed in a turn and didn't accelerate quickly, so each interception had to be very carefully planned to make sure the fighter ended up in the right position and with enough fuel left to get home.

1 – Design and Development
2 – Testing the Javelin FAW.1 and FAW.2
3 – Into Service
4 - The Javelin FAW.1 Described
5 – Tactical trials with the Javelin FAW.4
6 – Exercise Vigilant
7 – The Javelin FAW.5 and FAW.6
8 – Spinning the Javelin
9 – The Javelin FAW.7
10 – The Javelin and Firestreak
11 – Ultimate Javelins
12 – Javelin Pilots
13 – Accidents and Incidents
14 – Javelin Squadron
15 – Crew Debrief – 1
16 – Crew Debrief – 2
17 – Javelin Swan-Song

Author: Peter Caygill
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 210
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2011

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