Introduction: It is quite common in the world of aviation for a trainer version of a newly produced fighter aircraft in order to ease the transition of student pilots into frontline squadrons, and the Javelin was no different. Despite not having a very eventful career, the aircraft served valiantly in its role. This is its story.
Description: In the late 1940’s, it became quite clear that a replacement was necessary for the night-fighter variants of the De Havilland Mosquito. This program would eventually lead to the Gloster Javelin, with the night-fighter variants of the Gloster Meteor taking over in the interim. The Javelin was unique in many aspects upon entering service, being the first aircraft with a delta wing to enter frontline service with the RAF. This meant that it possessed certain performance characteristics not present on the contemporary aircraft of the time, these included unique handling characteristics at low speeds, as well as the need to maintain high angles-of-attack at low speeds in order to maintain lift. In addition to this, pilots were meant to practice instrument flight approaches in order to prepare for landings at night and in bad weather, as the Javelin was used as an all-weather, day and night interceptor. A requirement for a dual-control variant of the Javelin was ordered in 1951, with the prototype taking flight on 20th August 1956, and the production variant on 6th January, 1958. The main differences between the T.3 and the fighter variants were a redesigned canopy with improved visibility for the instructor, who sat in what was the navigator’s position, with the radar display being replaced by a set of controls for the instructor. In addition to this, a periscope was added for the instructor, in order to monitor gunner practice and provide extra vision during takeoff, landing and taxying. The AI.18 radar was removed from the nose section, replaced by a simple ranging radar for the guns, similar to what was on the Hunter. To counteract the now-changed centre of gravity, the fuselage was lengthened, which also allowed the addition of extra fuel tanks. The Javelin T.3 also received the all-moving tailplane of the FAW.4 in order to ease stick movements at high speeds. Most T.3s were sent to No.228 OCU at RAF Leeming, with at least one T.3 issued to the 15 frontline Javelin squadrons for refresher training. The Javelin T.3 was retired at the same as the other Javelin variants in 1968.
First Flight: 20th August, 1956 (Prototype)
6th January, 1958 (Production)
Powerplant: 2x Armstrong-Siddeley Sa.6 Sapphire (8,000lb thrust)
Armament: 4x 30mm ADEN cannons
Max. speed 555 knots at sea level, 0.91 Mach at altitude
Service ceiling: 46,000ft
Max. Takeoff weight: 42,000lb
Wing Span: 52ft 10in
Wing Area: 927sq ft
Length: 59ft 11in
Height: 16ft 0in
Conclusion: The Javelin T.3 would make for an interesting event or battlepass vehicle, and would allow for one of the earlier Javelin variants to be added to the tree instead, as Gaijin seems to be skipping a lot of service vehicles, which will probably end up being added as event vehicles, despite having the ability to fill glaring gaps in the trees. This is a very big concern amongst the players of nations which receive less attention from Gaijin, the UK included.
“Teach for the Sky: British Training Aircraft since 1945” by James Jackson
(All credits for the images in this post go to their respective owners.)