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Aviation 72 AV7254001: 1/72 scale Gloster Javelin FAW 4 XA634 in the Livery of 228 OCU (Ex-Leeming), now at the Jet Age Museum, Gloucestershire. Limited edition of only 600 pieces. Please note: Although these are quite accurate models the manufacturers mistakenly made all the Firestreak missiles overly large (1/48 on a 1/72 model)
XA634, the only surviving FAW4, was delivered to the RAF on 18 May 1956. It was assigned to Airwork on a sub contract from Gloster Aircraft Company for the continuation of the Sperry Mk12 autopilot trials. She arrived at Blackbushe on 30 April 1957 and was returned on 3 January 1958. Thereafter she was used by Flight Refuelling Company to test an unsuccessful refuelling probe installation on the port wing. Service life then began with 228 OCU at Leeming, which ended when the airframe was assigned to RAF Melksham as ground trainer 7641M.
XA634 was restored in 1988 in 228 OCU colours and displayed on the gate at RAF Leeming for many years. When repainted in 2001 the very clouded cockpit canopy was painted black. She will undergo restoration after being acquired by Jet Age Museum
The Gloster Javelin is a twin-engined T-tailed delta-wing subsonic night and all-weather interceptor aircraft that served with Britain’s Royal Air Force from the mid-1950s and until the late 1960s. The last aircraft design to bear the Gloster name, it was introduced in 1956 after a lengthy development period and received several upgrades during its lifetime 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 at 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 The Javelin served for much of its life alongside the Lightning; the last Javelins were withdrawn from operational service in 1968 following the induction of successively more capable versions of the Lightning.
The Javelin entered service with the RAF in 1956 with 46 Squadron based at RAF Odiham, England. The Javelins were immediately put to use in an intensive flying programme, rapidly to familiarize crews with the type. The introduction of the Javelin was eased by the establishment of a partial Operational Conversion Unit, a specialized team to assist the members of other squadrons in converting to the type.During RAF trials, the type proved readily capable of intercepting jet bombers such as the English Electric Canberra and modern jet fighters, over a hundred miles out to sea.
A second squadron, 141, would be equipped with the Javelin in 1957, replacing the squadron’s de Havilland Venom aircraft. The introduction of the Javelin, allowed the RAF to expand its night-fighter activity considerably, taking over night standby duty from American forces.By the end of July 1959, all remaining Meteor squadrons had been converted, many having been assigned to operate various models of the Javelin, including the newest FAW.7 variant.
The closest that the RAF’s Javelins came to combat, was during the Malaysian Confrontation with Indonesia from September 1963 until August 1966. Javelins of 60 Squadron, later joined by 64 Squadron operated out of RAF Tengah, Singapore flying combat patrols over the jungles of Malaysia. In 1964, an Indonesian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules crashed while trying to evade interception by a Javelin FAW.9 of 60 Squadron. During June 1967, following the disbandment of 64 Squadron, 60 Squadron was deployed to RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong because of unrest in the colony during China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Javelins were also deployed to Zambia during the early stages of Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, to protect Zambia from any action by the Rhodesian Air Force.
The last of the type was withdrawn from service in 1968, with the disbandment of 60 Squadron at RAF Tengah at the end of April 1968.One aircraft remained flying with the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down until 24 January 1975.