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Gloster Javelin Mk.56 'Dhanush' - No.36 Squadron, Indian Air Force, 1965

The expansion of the Indian Air Force during the mid-1950's saw the planned procurement of the Hawker Hunter fighter-bomber and the English Electric Canberra bomber in substantial quantities but Indian Air Force planners saw the lack of an all-weather interceptor as a problem and urged the Indian Government for increased funds for a suitable aircraft. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru initially blocked the idea but soon agreed to allow a delegation from the Gloster Aviation Company to make a presentation to the Indian Government and the Chiefs of the Indian Air Force. 

With the end of the Javelin production line looming Gloster were proposing two new export version of the Javelin Mk8 to India -  the F.Mk55 (Sapphire-enginned) and F.Mk56 (Avon-enginned) versions. Indian Air Force chiefs were very enthusiastic about the possibility of having its three main combat aircraft use the same jet engine (albeit the Javelin's Mk.205 Avon engines had a simple afterburner fitted) and urged Nehru to proceed with the purchase of 80 aircaft but Nehru demanded to meet the Gloster delegation himself to thrash out terms. Gloster cannily sent Graeme Kimmage, who had attended Cambridge University with Nehru, to conduct the negotiations and eventually secure a deal for 80 Javelin F.Mk56's. 

Entering service with No.36 'Trishula' squadron based at Pathankot in 1958 the Javelins only really became a complete weapon system when mated with the indigenous 'Baan' (Arrow) air-to-air missile which entered service in 1960. From this time the Javelins quickly earned the most appropriate nickname of 'Dhanush' (bow) and saw limited service over Goa (in the recconnaisance role) but played a major role in the 1965 war with Pakistan claiming several kills including three F-86's, one F-104 and six B-57's. However, with the MiG-21 entering service the Javelin's days were numbered and the Javelin force slowly faded away and by 1975 the popular and legendary 'Dhanush' had gone for good.









Skin Credit: Paulopanz

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