RAF Tengah from July 1961 to April 1968 – by Ian Old
In 1961, 60 Sqn. had been based at Tengah for fifteen years and since October 1959 it had been equipped with the Meteor NF.14 night fighter, in the process converting to the all-weather fighter role and thereby becoming the only unit in FEAF in this role. It was the sixth and final squadron to re-equip with the Javelin FAW.9, was the first overseas operator of the version and was the only one not to have already operated the type before.
|Sqn. No.||Previous equipment||First FAW.9 received (and FAW.9 bases)||Date disbanded/ or re-equipped with|
|25||Javelin FAW.7||December 1959 (Waterbeach and Leuchars)||18 November 1962 (and renumbered as 11 Sqn., Geilenkirchen the next day). 11 Sqn. was disbanded in January 1966.|
|23||Javelin FAW.7||April 1960, (Coltishall and Leuchars)||Lightning F.3s from August 1964|
|64||Javelin FAW.7||June 1960 (Duxford, Waterbeach and Binbrook)||June 1967|
|33||Javelin FAW.7||October 1960 (Middleton St. George)||16 November 1962 (and renumbered as 5 Sqn., Geilenkirchen the next day). 5 Sqn. was disbanded on 7 November 1965.|
|29||Javelin FAW.6||June 1961 (Leuchars, Nicosia and Akrotiri)||Lightning F.3s from May 1967|
|60||Meteor NF.14||July 1961||April 1968|
The Javelin was the eventual outcome of the work by the Gloster Aeroplane Company as its response to Specification F44/46 (issued in 1946) for a two-seat, twin-engined night fighter, with a maximum speed of 525 knots at 40,000 feet and an intercept speed of 480 knots. The fighter was expected to have a high rate of climb, being expected to be at 45,000 feet no more than ten minutes after the engine starting process was initiated. Take off distance was to be no more than 4,500 feet. Endurance was to be at least two hours and its armament would be four 30mm cannon or recoilless guns. The reason for the specification was to provide an interceptor to intercept and destroy high-flying nuclear-armed bombers. The first atomic weapons had been used in anger against Japan only the year before and air defence systems had yet to become so lethal that bombers had to go in at low-level.
Then Specification F4/48 was drafted and the design that became the Javelin was further refined, with its maximum weight at 25,500lb. At the same time De Havilland produced its DH.110 design in response to F4/48, which was to become the Sea Vixen. Gloster design P.280, issued in March 1951, closely resembled what was to become the Javelin. The first flight of the first prototype of the DH.110 took place in September 1951 and that of the Javelin was on 26 November 1951. The latter type was chosen by the Ministry of Supply on 7 July 1952 to be put into production. To some extent this was because the delta-winged Javelin was seen to be suitable for further development whereas the Sea Vixen was not.
The delta wing was better for high speed and a large wing area useful for both short take-off distance and high altitude performance. Fuel, undercarriage and weapons could be easily accommodated in the delta wing.
The Javelin entered RAF service in February 1956 with 46 Sqn. at Odiham. It was a major advance on the Meteor night fighter due to its much improved radar, speed and maximum altitude. The first six marks of the Javelin can be regarded as the first generation. From the FAW.7 onwards, the Javelin was in its second generation stage, with more powerful engines delivering 32% more power and air-to-air guided missiles, as always intended.
The only trainer variant of the Javelin was the T.3 and was produced in response to Specification T.118D, being based on the FAW.4 variant. It featured a 44 inch insert in the forward fuselage to offset the removal of the airborne interception radar. As there was no radar, there was no need for a non-metallic forward nose and therefore only the extreme nose was painted black. The rear ejection seat was raised nine inches and moved forward. A periscope was fitted on each side, being installed just forward of and above the air intake. The cockpit canopies were larger than on the fighter variants.
The Javelin FAW.9 was basically an FAW.7 airframe upgraded to FAW.8 standard (the latter were all built as such) and as such represented the final development of the type. The modifications including installing engines fitted with reheat, fitting revised, slightly drooped wing outer leading edges, liquid fuel starting, new flying controls and an improved windscreen rain dispersal system. All of these features were common with the FAW.8. The FAW.7 and FAW.9 were equipped with the British AI.17 airborne interception radar whereas the FAW.8 had the less reliable American AI.22 system. The FAW.9 did not have the Sperry autopilot system that was fitted to the FAW.8.
Of the 142 FAW.7s built, 118 were converted to FAW.9 standard. 44 airframes were later modified to be capable of in-flight refuelling and were designated as FAW.9F/R. These could be fitted with an externally mounted, non-retractable, removable 20 feet long probe. This feature did not apply to the FAW.8. When so equipped, the preferred speed of the tanker aircraft was 230 knots, whilst the Javelin was limited to a maximum speed of 450 knots. The probe was not meant to be fitted for operational missions. Forty of the FAW.9F/Rs were later modified to be capable of flying with up to four 230 gallon drop tanks, being redesignated FAW.9Rs (for Range). No FAW.8 was modified to fly with underwing tanks.
Although the type is always referred as the Gloster Javelin, 133 out of the total production of 435 of all Javelins were built by Armstrong-Whitworth at Baginton, Coventry.
The first Javelins arrived at Tengah in July 1961. The original allocation of seventeen Javelins comprised one T.3 dual control variant, the remainder being FAW.9s. The aircraft were delivered by ferry crews, departing from Waterbeach, in four separate groups, over several weeks. The flights took approximately twenty flying hours, using fifteen staging posts in ten countries and between ten and twenty days to complete. Two Javelins did not reach Tengah. One machine was lost due to engine failure over East Pakistan with the loss of the pilot and another was written off in a refuelling accident at Luqa, Malta.
The first of several instances of centre-line closure occurred in September 1962. At high power settings, the compressor blades were at full stretch and there was the least possible gap between blade and the compressor casing. Flying at high altitude, with a high power setting selected and through cumulo-nimbus clouds common in tropical rain storms, meant the ingestion of very cold water into the engines. This caused the casing of the engine compressors to contract until the metal came into contact with the compressor blades, with potential catastrophic results. This problem led to restricted flying until abrasive pads were fitted on the inside of the casing to wear down the blade tips when centre-line closure occurred. This method was chosen as it was believed at the time that the Javelin would not remain in service long enough to warrant a more advanced (and expensive) solution, namely cropping the blade length. It was an issue common to but not unique to Javelins in the Far East.
Indonesian forces began their first intrusions into Eastern Malaysia, namely Sabah and Sarawak during April 1963 and in September 1963, the Borneo Confrontation began, due to continued aggressive Indonesian military activities in across Malaysia and Borneo. Commonwealth ground forces were flown into Borneo and air support soon followed. The following month saw two Javelins detached to Butterworth, this being required as the possible Indonesian threat could come from both east and west. The presence at Butterworth was increased in size over the next few months, as the Javelins were required to maintain a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) capability there and at Tengah. Numerous scrambles were launched to intercept unidentified radar contacts.
On 20 November 1963 four 64 Sqn. machines, out of a dozen that had flown out from Binbrook to India to participate in Exercise Shiksha, did not return to the UK at the end of the event. Instead this quartet was flown to Tengah to join 60 Sqn. This was deemed necessary because of the increasing workload caused by the Confrontation. These were the first FAW.9Rs to be operated by 60 Sqn.
A further four Javelins were sent out from the UK during January 1964. These had been in store at 27 MU, Shawbury. Using both in-flight refuelling and staging posts, namely El Adem (Libya), Muharraq (Persian Gulf), Tehran (Iran), Karachi (Pakistan), Gan and Butterworth, they arrived at Tengah eight days after taking off from Leuchars. Their arrival allowed the Butterworth detachment to become ‘C’ Flight, 60 Sqn. in January 1964, eventually operating eight aircraft, alongside Sabre day fighters of the Royal Australian Air Force.
A structural failure in flight involving the separation of the fin from the fuselage in 1964 led to a comprehensive programme to strengthen the fin area of the remainder of the fleet. See XH747’s details.
During early 1964 the Indonesian forces began operating aircraft to provide support of guerrilla units deployed in Eastern Malaysia. The RAF responded by forming Javelin detachments at Kuching and Labuan, with between three and five aircraft at each, began in February 1964, after the increased Indonesian activity in that area. Hunters from 20 Sqn. were detached to Borneo along with 60 Sqn., forming the “Borneo Jet Force”. Kuching and Labuan were developed quickly to cope with the increasing numbers of aircraft deployed, with runways extended to 6,000 feet. Javelins were returned to Tengah every six weeks for maintenance not possible at their temporary locations.
The size of the airspace to defend was huge. Flying from Butterworth to Tengah, then to Kuching before arriving at Labuan, an aircraft would cover more than 1,200 miles, assuming straight line flight between each base. The increased workload and multiple bases meant that additional aircrews from the UK had to be brought in for three month detachments. 60 Sqn. had to provide two fully-armed aircraft at each of the four bases, at no more than five minutes readiness, round the clock. By March 1964 60 Sqn. had 38 crews and 26 aircraft on strength, making it the largest fighter unit in the RAF. Numerous ground personnel received type training at Tengah before being posted to Borneo for twelve month unaccompanied tours.
The three roles required of the Javelins were i) low-level patrols, sometimes as low as 50 feet above the jungle, ii) providing escorts to transport aircraft & helicopters and iii) providing aircraft for Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). The Javelin had been designed as a high-altitude bomber interceptor and the tasks demanded by the Confrontation required the aircrew to change tactics and operating methods. The navigational and radio aids available were limited and crews had to operate in poor weather conditions a lot of the time, with limited radio and radar coverage. Navigation could be very challenging, with individual geographical features being used to pinpoint locations and turning points. Not all of the ground in Borneo had been mapped, adding to the difficulties. Mist and low clouds were common, limiting the crews’ view of the ground. Heavy rain was often encountered, with twelve inches of rain in 24 hours not being unusual. In short very different to those conditions experienced in Europe.
Having been optimised for the Javelin’s intended role as a high-altitude bomber interceptor, the Sapphire engines had problems when operating for sustained periods at low-level. There were several instances of compressor blade failures. This led to several aircraft being written off as the uncontained engine failure often resulted in a fire serious enough to justify ejection. Pending receipt of modified engines, crews had to avoid operating the engines in the 82-93% RPM range, which was an issue for the crews as the 88-90% range was that preferred when operating at low level and when a high speed cruise was desired. The implemented long-term solution was to twist the blades. Suggested changes to the engine nozzles were not carried out due to the Javelin’s retirement.
In September 1964 the Indonesia military stepped up its operations in the west, over what was formerly Malaya. This led to ground defences being increased at all major bases as well as increased operational flying by 60 Sqn. along both the western and eastern coast of Malaysia. Several interceptions of Indonesian bombers and transports took place, the Javelins shepherding the intruders away without using their armament.
Between 11 and 21 September 1964 one flight of 64 Sqn., based at Binbrook and comprising eight aircraft, departed their home base en route for Tengah, to support 60 Sqn., but remaining as part of 64 Sqn. The other flight and the HQ of 64 Sqn. remained at Binbrook.
It was found that the FAW.9R, which could fly with up to four 230 gallon tanks underwing, was best suited to the Kuching and Labuan detachments as the greater endurance was very useful over Borneo for the border combat air patrols. The preferred configuration was two 230 gallons tanks and two Firestreak missiles. In this fit, the aircraft were limited to 370 knots maximum speed, although the tanks could be jettisoned if the situation required it. To maximise endurance, some missions involved shutting down one engine, the crews being very confident that the cold engine would relight when required. Typical sortie length was around one hour forty minutes. This meant that the shorter-range plain FAW.9 was more likely to be used at Butterworth and Tengah. Therefore when 64 Sqn. assumed responsibility for the eastern detachments in mid 1965, it received FAW.9Rs rather than FAW.9s from 60 Sqn.
From December 1964 onwards the Javelins allocated to the FEAF had to be transported by ship. This was necessary because of the shortage of air-to-air tankers due to the sudden grounding of Valiants because of main spar failures and the consequent problems in replacing them, and the refusal of Burma to allow overflights by British military aircraft . The Javelins allocated to FEAF were prepared at 27 MU, Shawbury before flown to RNAS Lee-on-Solent where they were dismantled and put onto lighters before loading onto ships. Once at Singapore, they were off-loaded and landed at Seletar, where they were re-assembled and test flown. Most were then flown to Tengah but not all. At least eighteen Javelins were transported by ship to Singapore, arriving there in the period December 1964 to May 1966.
64 Sqn. was based solely with FEAF from 1 April 1965, as the numbers of personnel and aircraft in the Far East were increased from late 1964. This meant that the responsibility for the air defence taskings was split between the two squadrons. From June 1965 the Kuching and Labuan detachments were covered by 64 Sqn. At the same time, only 60 Sqn. provided the aircraft and personnel for the western detachments, Tengah and Butterworth, Malaysia. Due to this, 60 Sqn. lost both aircraft and crews and reverted to the standard two flight structure, with HQ and ‘A’ Flight at Tengah and ‘C’ Flight at Butterworth became ‘B’ Flight.
On at least two occasions Javelins were hit by enemy ground fire, without suffering any significant damage or injury. The Javelins did not open fire at any time, even though there were several interceptions of Indonesian aircraft. The Javelin did persuade Indonesian ground forces to move away from British forces because reheat was selected at very low-level and the resulting powerful sound effect sounded like an explosion.
The involvement of the Javelin in the Confrontation meant there was now a shortage of personnel, with the last crews having been trained in 1961. Four years later it was considered necessary to reform 228 Operational Conversion Unit at Leuchars to supply aircrew for service with both FEAF and NEAF. Training courses started in June 1965 and the last ended in December 1966.
60 Sqn. celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 1 May 1966 and marked it with an unrehearsed sixteen aircraft flypast around Singapore.
The Confrontation was declared over on 11 August 1966, Indonesian activities having peaked in 1965. All aircraft and personnel were soon based at Tengah. ‘B’ Flight, 60 Sqn. left Butterworth in October 1966. Peacetime training could now be carried out and activities took place at a less intense pace. As the type was due for imminent retirement, several aircraft were withdrawn from service and the size of the unit was decreased as a result. The discovery of major rewiring issues in numerous aircraft contributed to their retirement on cost grounds.
The ending of the Confrontation and the impending arrival of 74 Sqn., equipped with Lightnings, in June 1967, meant the future of the Javelin was limited. By May 1967 the RAF’s last two Javelin squadrons were operating from Tengah. On 10 June 1967 a major effort was made to mount an impressive Queen’s Birthday flypast around Singapore, with ten machines from 64 Sqn. and nine from 60 Sqn. This really marked the end of the Javelin force as 64 Sqn. was disbanded on 16 June 1967.
From June 1967 detachments to Hong Kong were made by 60 Sqn. to bolster the British military presence in response to communist agitation, the aircraft staging through the Philippines. The situation eased allowing the detachments to end by Christmas of the same year.
On 26 April 1968 a diamond nine formation was flown during daylight hours around the island, flying over Changi and Seletar as well as the home base. 60 Sqn. was disbanded on 30 April 1968, meaning the end of the RAF’s operation of the Javelin. The farewell flypast on the last day of April was dramatic. Nine machines took off shortly before sunset and flew over the parade. Five of these then landed. The remaining four flew over twice, once in “Box” formation and then in echelon, on both occasions with reheat selected. The long flames produced were very impressive at night. The quartet landed and all nine taxied in together, halting in front of the parade. All eighteen engines were then shut down simultaneously.
The following day the majority of those Javelins at Tengah still airworthy were flown to Seletar for disposal. Six were donated to the Singaporean Air Defence Command for use as ground instructional airframes at Seletar, namely XH777, XH793, XH839, XH872, XH893 and XH895, in which role they lasted for several years. These aircraft gained new Singaporean identities and national insignia but did retain their 60 Sqn. markings and code.
60 Sqn. markings:
White/black/white/black/white bands across the entire width of the fin, the two black bands being twice the depth of the white. Below was the head of a markhor (antelope), outlined in the appropriate flight colour (red for ‘A’ Flt., blue for ‘B’ and green for ‘C’). The code letter was applied forward of the air intake, usually outlined in the flight colour. From 1964 the code was also painted on the fin.
64 Sqn. markings:
White horizontal band just above the fin flash, with a scarab beetle and red and blue trellis pattern superimposed. The band was not applied over the rudder. The code letter was applied to the fin but not on the forward fuselage.
Aircraft serial/code tie-ups (in chronological order)
|Code||1st use||2nd Use||3rd Use||4th Use||5th Use||6th Use|
# indicates T.3, the trainer variant and ® denotes FAW.9R
FAW.9/9Rs serving with 60 Sqn. on specified dates
|T||XH766 & XH876||XH964|
|V||XH961||XH893 & XH961||XH910||XH893|
|X||XH879||XH879 & XH960||XH960||XH960||XH839|
64 Squadron Aircraft serial/code tie-ups (in chronological order)
|Code||1st use||2nd Use||Code||1st use||2nd Use|
# indicates T.3 trainer, ® means FAW.9R.
FAW.9/9Rs serving with 64 Sqn. (FEAF) on the following dates:
Span 52 feet 0 inches; length 56 feet 4 inches and height 16 feet 0 inches.
Armament: aircraft were fitted with either two or four 30mm Aden cannon (installed in the wings) and could carry up to four Firestreak air-to-air missiles.
Engines: (starboard) one Sapphire Mk.205 turbojet (later Mk.209), (port) one Sapphire Mk.206 turbojet (later Mk.210).
Maximum weight, 44,700 lbs. Maximum speed was 535 knots at 45,000 feet. Maximum permitted speed, 1.08 Mach (achievable in a dive). Maximum altitude, 54,000 feet, with 50,000 feet being reached in 9 minutes and 15 seconds.
The T.3 variant, lacking reheat, and having the least powerful engines, (8,000lb. each) took 22 minutes to reach 45,000 feet.
Total fuel capacity was 950 gallons internally, two 250 gallon ventral tanks and up to four 230 gallon tanks underwing (FAW.9R only).
The FAW.8 and 9 both had a liquid fuel engine starting system, which was intended to maintain the very rapid engine starting requirement of the original specification, allowing for the more powerful engines fitted to these versions. A small cordite cartridge was fired to ignite the rocket propellant-like liquid fuel. The gas that resulted increased pressure which was fed to the starter turbine. Three cartridges were installed in the aircraft at a time, being behind the cockpit. However, it was not unusual for all three cartridges to fail. It was common to leave off the panel giving access to the cartridges until the engines were running, to give the ground crew the earliest possible warning of something untoward happening. Several aircraft were lost due to fires that resulted from problems on start up.
The reheat system increased the power from 11,000lb. per engine to 12,300lb. When reheat was selected, at high altitude, the fuel pump output supplied more fuel than the engines required in the “dry” (no reheat) condition and the surplus fuel was fed into the jet pipe and burnt, increasing the thrust. At low altitude, the output from the fuel pump was only slightly more than the engines required in “dry” mode. As the reheat system had priority for the fuel, this meant overall thrust was less at low altitude than at high altitude. The optimum minimum height for reheat selection was 20,000 feet.
The Aden 30mm cannons were meant to be an interim fit, although all fighter variants were fitted with four, unless equipped with Firestreak missiles, when two cannons were removed. The rate of fire was 1,200 rounds per minute, although the maximum number of rounds that could be fired in a continuous burst was 150 without the guns overheating. The guns were heated by air tapped from the engine compressor casings, and this gas was also used to remove waste gases when the cannons had been fired. The aircraft had to be within 1,000 yards of the target to engage it. This was an issue as Soviet bombers were equipped with radar-guided rear-facing cannons with a maximum effective range of 2,000 yards.
De Havilland designed and developed the missile that equipped the FAW.7-9 variants. It was codenamed “Blue Jay” and later titled Firestreak. It had an infra-red seeking guidance system. It was only capable of detecting an aircraft engine from astern and this meant intercept courses had to position the Javelin behind the enemy aircraft, with the Airborne Interception (AI) radar locking onto the target. The navigator directed the missile seeker head and could advise the pilot when to launch. Each missile had a 50 lb. high explosive warhead and the missile could be launched 10,000 feet below the target, with the distance of the Javelin from the target being between one and four miles. The missiles were fitted on highly aerodynamic pylons under the wings. The top speed of a missile-equipped Javelin was very close to that of one with no pylons.
The Javelin was described as an easy aircraft to fly, being forgiving and robust. There was a ban on looping.
Individual aircraft details (FEAF relevant details only):
None of the Javelins that reached Singapore still exist, although some of the machines dumped at Seletar were reported as still present in the mid-seventies at least.
(AWA indicates built by Armstrong-Whitworth).
Served with 60 Sqn. from July 1961, having been used for trials work, its first flight taking place on 6 January 1958. Bore the code ‘T’ and later ‘O’ (sometime after November 1962). Believed to have been the last airworthy T.3 and was flown to Seletar for scrapping on 1 May 1968.
Served with 60 Sqn. as ‘U’, dates unknown, before transfer to 64 Sqn. and was recoded ‘Z’. Severely damaged on 11 July 1966 when it swung off the runway at Tengah and hit a storm drain. The crew did not eject and survived.
Served with both 60 Sqn. and then 64 Sqn. from July 1966, as the replacement for XH445. Bore the code as ‘Z’ with both units. Believed to have been withdrawn from service in June 1967. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 May 1968, at 389 MU, Seletar.
Joined 60 Sqn. on 4 May 1964 and was coded ‘P’. Its arrival date in the Far East is unknown. It was transferred to 64 Sqn. on 11 June 1965 and was recoded ‘F’. Rejoined 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967 when 64 Sqn. was disbanded, retaining the code ‘F’ as XH722 (q.v.) was retired from service. It was lost on 8 November 1967, details and crew’s fate unknown and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) 12 December 1967.
Was ‘P’ with 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Lost on 30 May 1967 when it struck XH896 from underneath soon after take-off over Johore during a formation flypast practice for the imminent disbandment of 64 Sqn. The tailplane was separated from the airframe as a result, forcing the aircraft into a high-speed dive. The crew, Plt. Off. W.B. Kay (pilot) and Corporal K. Ashbee (ground crew/passenger), was not able to eject before the aircraft exploded on impact and were killed.
Was ‘K’ of 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Abandoned on 14 June 1966 due to loss of control when the all-flying tail jammed and it crashed into jungle at Senai, South Johore, Malaysia. The crew, Fg. Off. South (pilot) and Flt. Lt. A. Johnson (navigator) ejected safely.
Allocated to FEAF on 23 October 1964 and prepared for FEAF at 27 MU, Shawbury. It left the UK on board a ship during November, arriving at 389 MU, Seletar, on Boxing Day 1964, along with XH777, XH960 and XH963. Issued to 64 Sqn. on 1 April 1965, becoming ‘X’. Withdrawn to 389 MU 27 October 1966 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
Issued to 60 Sqn. 13 July 1961 and became ‘C’. On 26 April 1966 it suffered fire damage in an accident on start-up, initially assessed as Cat.3 but was later reclassified as Cat.5 given the pending contraction of the fleet. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 27 May 1966.
On 1 September 1961 it sustained damage en route to the Far East whilst at Teheran, Iran, which led to the despatch of a team from 60 MU, Dishforth to carry out repairs. It was issued to 60 Sqn. on 23 November 1961. Initially coded ‘Q’ but was recoded as ‘R’ by the end of the year. In April 1964 it became ‘B’. Written off on 21 August 1967, the details unknown and is believed to have been scrapped at Seletar.
On 16 September 1961 it was issued to 60 Sqn. and coded ‘H’. In November 1965 it became the OC’s machine and was recoded ‘MHM’ for Wg. Cdr. Michael H. Miller. Withdrawn to 389 MU, Seletar on 14 October 1966 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
Issued to 60 Sqn. 13 July 1961 and was coded ‘PS’ as the personal mount of Wg. Cdr. Peter Smith. In May 1963 was recoded ‘P’ and became ‘F’ in April 1964, replacing XH724. It was found to require extensive rewiring but this was not cost effective and it was withdrawn to 389 MU, Seletar, in June 1967. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
Taken on strength by 60 Sqn. on 16 September 1961 and became ‘F’. It swung off the runway at Tengah and hit a storm drain, on 3 April 1964 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) the following day. The crew was uninjured.
It was allocated to FEAF and prepared at 27 MU, Shawbury. It was shipped out via Lee-on-Solent and arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, on 8 February 1965, along with XH749, XH834 and XH956. Issued to 60 Sqn. on 23 March 1965 and it is believed to have been not given a code letter before joining 64 Sqn. on 24 April, remaining uncoded. It rejoined 60 Sqn. on 9 June 1965 and was coded ‘P’. It was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 May 1968.
Joined 60 Sqn. on 13 July 1961 and was allocated the code ‘B’. On 10 February 1964 it crashed into the sea off Singapore when the tail fin separated from the rest of the airframe and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) the following day. Flt. Lt. Gordon Sykes (pilot) and Flt. Lt. T.P. Burns ejected at 18,000 feet and survived, although the pilot was paralysed permanently.
During October 1964 it was allocated to FEAF. It was prepared at 27 MU, Shawbury and shipped out via Lee-on-Solent and arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, on 8 February 1965 as did XH725, XH834 and XH956. It was issued to 60 Sqn. on 6 March 1965, becoming ‘Q’. Written off on 17 November 1965 when a tyre burst on landing at Butterworth, Malaysia. The crew survived.
Issued to 60 Sqn. on 10 November 1961 and was coded ‘N’. Withdrawn to 389 MU, Seletar, during June 1967 as extensive rewiring was found to be required but this was not cost effective. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
Was ‘A’ with 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Transferred to 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967 when 64 Sqn. was disbanded, remaining as ‘A’ therefore it replaced XH842. Sustained damage on 5 February 1968 assessed as Cat.3 but this was not repaired and Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 12 February 1968.
Was ‘C’ of 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Joined 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967, retaining the code ‘C’, when 64 Sqn. was disbanded. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 May 1968.
It was with the UK part of 64 Sqn. when allocated to FEAF. Its date and method of arrival in the FEAF is unknown. It was issued to 60 Sqn. on 10 October 1964 and was coded ‘T’. Transferred to 64 Sqn. 28 May 1965 and became ‘E’. Rejoined 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967, remaining as ‘E’ (sharing the code with XH788 until the latter was lost on 11 October 1967). Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 May 1968.
Shipped out via Lee-on-Solent having been prepared at 27 MU, Shawbury. It arrived at 389 MU, Seletar on 28 March 1966 and joined 60 Sqn. 13 May 1966 and was assigned the code ‘C’ recently vacated by XH717. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 because extensive rewiring was found to be required but this was not cost effective. Scrapped soon afterwards.
Shipped out via Lee-on-Solent after preparation at 27 MU, Shawbury. It arrived at 389 MU, Seletar on 21 April 1966. Was transferred to 390 MU and placed into the War Reserve after repairs had been made to damage sustained during shipment. Loaned to 64 Sqn. during March and April 1967. To 389 MU, was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
On 3 November 1964 it was flown to Lee-on-Solent for onward shipment to Singapore and arrived at 389 MU, Seletar on 26 December 1964 with XH711, XH960 and XH963. Issued to 60 Sqn. on 30 January 1965 and was coded ‘R’, sharing the code with XH885 until late May 1965, when the latter was transferred to 64 Sqn. On 5 February 1968 it sustained Cat.3 damage when the port main undercarriage leg failed to lower but this was repaired. Flown to 389 MU on 1 May 1968 (claimed to have been the last RAF Javelin to take-off) and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968, being donated to the Singaporean Armed Forces. It was allocated the new serial SAFTECH-9.
On 3 November 1964 it was flown to Lee-on-Solent for shipment to Singapore. It arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, 14 January 1965, along with XH910. It was issued to 60 Sqn. on 4 March 1965 and it shared the code ‘S’ with XH908 until late May 1965, when the latter was transferred to 64 Sqn. Withdrawn to 389 MU on 15 November 1966, Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
XH785 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Allocated to 60 Sqn. 8 August 1961 and it became ‘L’. On 4 April 1966 the aircraft was abandoned nine nautical miles NW of Tengah following an engine explosion. The crew, comprising pilot Flt. Lt. E. Rawcliffe and navigator, Flt. Lt. A.L. Vasloo, ejected safely.
XH787 (FAW.9) [AWA]
It joined 60 Sqn. on 8 August 1961 and was coded ‘G’. On 5 April 1967 it made a wheels-up landing at Butterworth due to an undercarriage malfunction and swung off the runway. It was found to require extensive rewiring but this was not cost effective. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
XH788 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Issued to 60 Sqn. 27 June 1961 and was allocated the code ‘E’. (From June to 10 October 1967 it shared the code with XH766). It crashed on 10 October 1967, in Johore. The main spar failed during a roll at low level with a full fuel load having just made a high speed run. The aircraft disintegrated and there were no ejections attempted by Fg. Off. G.C. Barnard (pilot) and Fg. Off. H.J.C. Geeve (navigator) who did not survive.
XH791 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Written off on 5 August 1961 over East Pakistan, during the delivery flight to 60 Sqn., Tengah. Both engines suffered centreline closure whilst in the climb, at 33,000 feet. The aircraft fell out of formation and the crew, pilot Flt. Lt. E. Owens and navigator, Master Navigator A. Melton, ejected. The pilot’s seat malfunctioned and he was found injured, sometime after the navigator was rescued and he did not survive. The aircraft crashed into jungle in the Ganges Delta.
XH792 (FAW.9) [AWA]
On 3 November 1964 it was flown to Lee-on-Solent for onward shipment to Singapore. It arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, 12 January 1965, as did XH964. It was issued on 27 February 1965 to 60 Sqn. and became ‘U’ (sharing the code with XH959 until the latter’s transfer to 64 Sqn. on 29 May 1965). Loaned to 64 Sqn., from 2 April to 16 June 1965. It rejoined 60 Sqn. on 17 June 1965, retaining the code ‘U’. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 because it was found to require extensive rewiring but this was not cost effective, and was scrapped.
XH793 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘D’ with 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Transferred to 60 Sqn. 16 June 1967, when 64 Sqn. was disbanded, and was recoded ‘J’, soon replacing XH846. Flown to 389 MU on 1 May 1968 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968, being donated to the Singaporean Armed Forces. It gained the new serial SAFTECH-8.
XH833 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Issued to 60 Sqn. on 24 August 1962, becoming ‘S’. It was recoded as ‘I’ during February 1964. On 3 March 1965 it was destroyed when the first stage engine compressor failed on take off at Butterworth. The explosion caused the starboard ventral tank to ignite, which set the airframe alight before it could be jettisoned. The crew survived.
XH834 (FAW.9) [AWA]
On 4 November 1964 it was flown to Lee-on-Solent for onward shipment to Singapore. Arriving at 389 MU, Seletar on 8 February 1965, accompanied by XH749, XH834 and XH956. It was issued to 64 Sqn. on 22 July 1965 and became the personal aircraft of the OC, his name unknown and was coded ‘PDW’. Retired to 389 MU on 18 October 1966 as the unit was reduced to peacetime strength. It was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and then scrapped.
XH835 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Issued to 60 Sqn. on 8 August 1961 and was coded ‘K’. Found to require extensive rewiring but instead was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
XH836 (FAW.9) [AWA]
It joined 60 Sqn. on 9 November 1961 and became ‘O’. Abandoned on 3 December 1962 near Mersing, Malaya, due to centre line closure, causing the starboard engine to explode. The incident began at 36,000 feet and the aircraft dived inverted. The navigator, Sqn. Ldr. F. Joliffe, ejected at 32,000 feet and the pilot, the OC of 60 Sqn., Wg. Cdr. Peter Smith, followed suit at 22,000 feet. Both survived, although it was four days before they were rescued from the dense jungle.
XH839 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Joined 60 Sqn. on 9 November 1961 and was coded ‘M’. In November 1966 it became the OC’s machine and was recoded ‘MHM’, replacing XH721. To 389 MU, Seletar, in July 1967 and placed into Command Reserve. It rejoined 60 Sqn. in March 1968 and was assigned the vacant code ‘W’. Flown to 389 MU, 1 May 1968 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968. It was donated to the Singaporean Armed Forces and received the new serial SAFTECH-10.
XH840 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Badly damaged on 27 September 1961, during refuelling at Luqa, Malta, whilst on delivery to 60 Sqn., and downgraded for use in fire practice. Therefore it did not reach Singapore.
XH841 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Issued to 60 Sqn. 13 July 1961 and became ‘D’. Flown to 389 MU, on 1 May 1968 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968.
XH842 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Allocated to 60 Sqn. on 13 July 1961 and assumed the code ‘A’. To 389 MU on 2 November 1966 and put into Command Reserve. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped because it was assessed as needing extensive rewiring.
XH843 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘T’ of 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. To 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967 when 64 Sqn. was disbanded, and remained coded as ‘T’. Sustained damage on 16 February 1968 in an explosion during engine start and was withdrawn from service.
XH846 (FAW.9) [AWA]
On 8 August 1961 was issued to 60 Sqn., becoming ‘J’. In June 1963 it became the machine of the OC, Wg. Cdr. Jock Fraser and was recoded ‘JF’ as a result. During November 1965 it became plain ‘J’ again. (The new OC had XH721 allocated to him as “his” machine). Believed to have been the first Javelin in FEAF to exceed 2,000 flying hours. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped. It had been found to need extensive rewiring and this was not cost-effective.
XH872 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘M’ of 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Transferred to 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967 when 64 Sqn. was disbanded and retained the code ‘M’. Recoded ‘MHM’ during July 1967 as the OC’s new machine, replacing XH839. Flown to 389 MU, on 1 May 1968 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968, being donated to the Singaporean Armed Forces and was given the new serial SAFTECH-7.
XH874 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was with 64 Sqn., coded ‘H’, prior to service with FEAF. It was badly damaged on the ground, details unknown, at Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo on 4 August 1964 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 27 August, being used for spares. Photographic evidence exists showing this airframe in 64 Sqn. markings and coded ‘H’, in a stripped state but 64 Sqn. was not operating as part of FEAF before September 1964. When it arrived in theatre is unknown.
XH876 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Shipped out to the Far East via Lee-on-Solent. Date of arrival at Seletar is unknown. Issued to 60 Sqn. on 1 March 1965 and was coded ‘T’. Transferred to 64 Sqn. 29 May 1965 and was recoded ‘N’. Destroyed on 25 August 1966 when the engine throttles jammed in the idle position whilst on the downwind leg to land at Tengah, the aircraft crashing into the grounds of Radio Singapore. The crew, Flt. Lt. P.J. Hart (pilot) and Flt. Lt. J. Jackson (navigator) ejected safely.
XH877 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘C’, 64 Sqn. when it departed India on 20 November 1963 for Tengah to bolster 60 Sqn., which it joined on 10 December 1963 and became ‘W’. It was transferred on 3 June 1965 to 64 Sqn., remaining as ‘W’. On 22 June 1965 a compressor failure happened, causing the port engine to explode in flight, near Taiwau, Sabah and the crew, Flt. Lt. P.J. Hart (pilot) and Flt. Lt. P.E. Dell (navigator) ejected to safety when the aircraft was inverted due to loss of control caused by hydraulics failure. The crew had been directed to investigate a radar contact, which turned out to be a Borneo Airways Dakota, and the latter circled the crash scene until the crew was rescued.
XH879 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘D’, 64 Sqn. when it departed India 20 November 1963 for Tengah to bolster 60 Sqn., which it joined on 10 December 1963 and was recoded ‘X’. (Shared the code with XH960 from February to June 1965). Transferred to 64 Sqn. on 9 June 1965 and was coded ‘J’. Returned to 60 Sqn. when 64 Sqn. disbanded on 16 June 1967. This was short-lived as it was used as a source of spares soon afterwards and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 9 October 1967.
XH880 (FAW.9) [AWA]
Flown from 27 MU, Shawbury to Lee-on-Solent, 18 March 1966 and shipped to the FEAF. Arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, on 16 May 1966, with XH881 and placed into Command Reserve. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967, without having left Seletar, and scrapped.
XH881 (FAW.9) [AWA]
To Lee-on-Solent during March 1966, from 27 MU, Shawbury, and shipped to Singapore. Arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, 16 May 1966 as did XH880 and was placed into Command Reserve. Struck Off Charge (SOC), without having left Seletar, on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
XH885 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Issued 4 May 1964 to 60 Sqn. and it replaced XH719 as ‘R’. (See XH777). Transferred to 64 Sqn. on 25 May 1965, retaining the code ‘R’. Damaged due to a fire on engine start, at Tengah on 15 November 1966 and later scrapped.
XH887 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘Q’ with 64 Sqn. when it departed India on 20 November 1963 for Tengah to bolster 60 Sqn., which it joined on 10 December 1963 and became ‘Z’. Returned to 64 Sqn. on 18 June 1965 and became ‘B’. It suffered an undercarriage failure, when one leg would not lock down on 8 November 1965. As this had happened at night, the crew followed standard procedure and ejected over the South China Sea, near Changi. The pilot, Flt. Lt. K. Fitchew, and navigator, Flt. Lt. Evans, ejected safely.
XH893 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Flown to Lee-on-Solent, having been prepared at 27 MU, Shawbury, and shipped to Singapore, its arrival date at Seletar being unknown. Issued to 60 Sqn. on 1 March 1965 and it shared the code ‘V’ with XH961 until the latter was transferred to 64 Sqn. in late May 1965. (XH910 was also ‘V’ during this period, q.v.) Transferred to 64 Sqn. on 16 November 1965, retaining the code ‘V’. It returned to 60 Sqn,. when 64 Sqn. was disbanded on 16 June 1967, and kept the code ‘V’. Flown to 389 MU on 1 May 1968 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968, having being donated to the Singaporean Armed Forces and was allocated the new serial SAFTECH-6.
XH895 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘G’ of 64 Sqn. when one flight was detached to FEAF in September 1964. Transferred to 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967 when 64 Sqn. was disbanded, retaining the code ‘G’. Flown to 389 MU, 1 May 1968 and was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 December 1968, being donated to the Singaporean Armed Forces, being allocated the serial SAFTECH-5.
XH896 (FAW.9R) [AWA]
Was ‘J’ with 64 Sqn. when it departed India on 20 November 1963 for Singapore. It joined 60 Sqn. on 10 December 1963 and was coded ‘Y’. It rejoined 64 Sqn. on 16 June 1965 and became ‘Q’. It was written off on 31 May 1967 when involved in a mid-air collision. XH708 struck it from below over the Johore Straits, soon after take-off, prior to a practice for the imminent 64 Sqn. disbandment flypast. The collision tore off the nose radome, radar scanner and part of the starboard engine nacelle causing the aircraft to pitch up and lose speed. As the speed approached the stall, the stall warning device began to sound. This made it difficult for the pilot to give the order to eject to his passenger. However the crew of Fg. Off. P. McKellar (pilot) and SAC M. Lokanadan, a locally-employed electrician (passenger), both ejected to safety as their aircraft struck the ground in a level attitude.
In store at 27 MU, Shawbury, when selected to join 60 Sqn. Departed from Leuchars on 23 January 1964 and joined 60 Sqn. on 30 January, becoming ‘S’. (It shared to code with XH779 until late May 1965 when the latter was transferred to 64 Sqn.) It was issued to 64 Sqn. on 24 May 1965, remaining as ‘S’. It returned to 60 Sqn. as ‘S’ when 64 Sqn. was disbanded on 16 June 1967. Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 1 May 1968 and retained at Tengah for fire practice.
On 3 November 1964 it was flown to Lee-on-Solent from Shawbury for onward shipment to Singapore. It arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, 14 January 1965, as did XH779, and was issued to 60 Sqn. on 9 March 1965 and was assigned the code ‘V’. (It shared the code with XH893 and XH961 (q.v.)) Withdrawn to 390 MU, Seletar, on 2 December 1966 and was placed in store before being Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped. It required extensive rewiring which was not cost effective given the imminent retirement of the type.
In store at 27 MU, Shawbury, when selected for service with 60 Sqn. Departed from Leuchars on 23 January 1964 and joined 60 Sqn. on 30 January, becoming ‘T’. It crashed on landing at Labuan on 29 March 1964, when one main tyre burst, causing the aircraft to leave the runway and resulting in the undercarriage collapsing and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. The crew survived uninjured.
Was flown to Lee-on-Solent on 24 November 1964 for shipment to the Far East and it arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, 8 February 1965 along with XH749, XH834 and XH956. Issued to Tengah on 14 April 1965 and was shared by the two squadrons until allocated to 60 Sqn. on 28 June 1965 and it became ‘W’. Withdrawn from service and flown to 389 MU on 17 October 1966 after it had been found to require extensive rewiring. It was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
In store at 27 MU, Shawbury, when selected to augment 60 Sqn. It departed from Leuchars on 23 January 1964 and joined 60 Sqn. on 30 January, becoming ‘U’. On 29 May 1965 it was transferred to 64 Sqn., retaining the code ‘U’. It crashed into the South China Sea at night near to Changi on 8 November 1965 when looking for the crew of XH887 (q.v.). XH959 was flying low and with its undercarriage down so that its landing lights were on, in order to help the rescue helicopter crew locate the crew of XH887. It flew into the sea. The pilot, Flt. Lt. P. Poppe did not eject and was killed, his body not being recovered for two days. The navigator, Flt. Lt. B.G.W. Unsted, ejected, possibly whilst the Javelin was underwater and suffered severe back injuries. The pilot of XH887 saw XH959 crash.
Flown from 27 MU, Shawbury to Lee-on-Solent on 3 November 1964 for shipment to the Far East, arriving at 389 MU, Seletar, Boxing Day 1964 as did XH711, XH960 and XH963. It was issued to 60 Sqn. on 13 February 1965 and became ‘X’. (It shared the code with XH879 until June 1965.) Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped. This was because it was found to need extensive rewiring to continue operational flying.
In store at 27 MU, Shawbury, when selected to bolster 60 Sqn. It departed from Leuchars on 23 January 1964 and joined 60 Sqn. on 30 January, taking up the code ‘V’. (The code was shared with XH893 and XH910, q.v.)) On 28 May 1965 it was transferred to 64 Sqn. was recoded as ‘H’. Transferred to 60 Sqn. on 16 June 1967 when 64 Sqn. was disbanded and retained the code ‘H’. On 5 February 1968, whilst landing at Tengah, it suffered a malfunction of the port brake, causing it to veer off the runway, and it hit a storm drain and the undercarriage collapsed. The crew, Flt. Lt. K. Fitchew (pilot) and Flt. Lt. Holmes (navigator) were able to vacate uninjured.
Flown to Lee-on-Solent from 27 MU, Shawbury, on 3 November 1964 for shipment to the Far East, and it arrived at 389 MU, Seletar, Boxing Day 1964, along with XH711, XH960 and XH963. Issued to 64 Sqn. on 1 April 1965 and became ‘Y’. Having been found to need extensive rewiring, it was withdrawn to 389 MU, on 17 October 1966. It was stripped of useful components before being Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and scrapped.
Flown from 27 MU, Shawbury to Lee-on-Solent on 3 November 1964 for shipment to the Far East, arriving at 389 MU, Seletar, 12 January 1965, along with XH792. It was taken on charge by 60 Sqn. on 3 May 1965 and was coded ‘T’. To 389 MU on 24 October 1966 after extensive rewiring was found to be required. It was Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 20 July 1967 and then scrapped.
Wolverhampton Aviation Group.
Service history of the Gloster Javelin Marks 7 to 9R, Roger Lindsay.
The Gloster Javelin, Maurice Allward, published by Ian Allan.
The Gloster Javelin, Richard A Franks, published by Dalrymple and Verdun.