Thunder & Lightnings

Gloster Javelin - Survivor XA634

FAW.4 XA634 - Jet Age Museum, Meteor Business Park, Gloucester, Gloucestershire

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Javelin FAW.4 XA634 at RAF Leeming, 29th March 2008; Richard E Flagg

Awaiting collection on 18th May 1956, XA634 was never actually delivered to the RAF and was instead retained as a trials aircraft by Glosters, with a plain metal radome (lacking radar kit) and long pitot probe on the nose. XA634 was used at one point to test an abortive refuelling probe installation on the port wing, but by June 1960 had been retired to become a ground instructional airframe at No.12 SoTT at Melksham (as 7641M).

She didn't last long there either, ending up on display at RAF Colerne in 1965 until becoming surplus to requirements in 1976. After initial storage at Shawbury, she was delivered to RAF Leeming in July 1976, to go on display at the gate. She was repainted and given a black radome and put into the colours of 228 OCU (though of course she never flew with them and indeed they never operated the FAW.4).

She had begun to look a bit tatty, but a repaint in 2001 improved matters. The canopy however had become so clouded that they painted it black. After years of will-she won't-she rumors of moving to various museums she was acquired in late 2014 by the Jet Age Museum and in late March 2015 had moved to Staverton, albeit just to external storage away from their main site where she sat for several years being left, pretty much untouched except on the odd occasion.

In October 2021 she was finally moved to the museum's site where an in-depth survey of the entire airframe was carried out. It was hoped she would finally be able to get some TLC, but unfortunately, the survey showed that her restoration would be beyond the museum's means. The museum is currently looking at options to relocate the airframe to a place where she can get the restoration she deserves.

XA634 is completely out of public view now, hiding behind the far building on the site.

Information on this page current as of 02/05/2022, last updated by Jake

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