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The Gloster Javelin was the last aircraft designed and produced by the Gloster Aircraft Company and the worlds first twin jet delta. Immediately after the second world war defence spending and aeronautical research in the UK was cut to the bone only to be revived in the late forties with the onset of the cold war. It was realised very quickly that defence of UK airspace at night was in paricularly bad shape, most night fighter squadrons being equipped with the obscolecent Mosquito, which was soon to be replaced by the slightly less obscolescent Vampire and Meteor night fighters.
Two designs were selected as showing considerable potential, the De Haviland 110, (which became the Sea Vixen) and Glosters proposal for a large twin jet delta. Gloster’s proposal was afforded “super priority” status which more or less committed the Government and the RAF to the Gloster design whether it worked out or not. De Havilands proposal suffering a serious set back when the prototype crashed at the Farnborough air show.
The Javelin prototype was first flown in 1951 and both prototypes were lost, one with the loss of its crew. It was established that at certain angles of attack the large delta wing blocked off airflow to the high mounted tailplane resulting in a flat spin with the pilot unable to recover control. Therefore during it’s service career the Javalin was extemely flight limited, the pilots notes forbidding pilots to loop or roll the aircraft, (incredible for a fighter!)
However this does not mean that the Javelin was a failiure, the RAF was at this time placing it’s faith in guided missiles and tended to regard the Javalin as a high speed missile carrier, which to be fair the Javalin did very well. Infact the Javelin remained in service for twelve years, finally being retired in 1965. In restrospect though, many observers feel that the RAF would have been better served by the DH110.