BAC Harrier / Sea Harrier
The Harrier family line consists of four major versions composed of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the British Aerospace (BAe) Sea Harrier, the Boeing/BAe AV-8B Harrier II and the BAe Systems/Boeing Harrier II.
The initial production model and beginning of the Harrier lineage was the Hawker Siddeley Harrier. The Sea Harrier became the dedicated navalized version of the base Harrier and utilized for air-defense as a primary role and ground strike as secondary. The Sea Harrier also made use of the powerful Blue Fox radar and was a direct development of the land-based RAF Harrier GR.3. The Boeing/BAe AV-8B Harrier II became a "second generation" Harrier and is a highly-modified version of the original Harrier for use by the USMC while the BAe Harrier II is a British-modified strike version of the USMC Harrier II.
Evolved from the Hawker P.1127 vertical take-off technology demonstrator, whose intended supersonic development (the P.1154), was cancelled, the BAe Harrier is powered by a vectored-thrust engine.
The first of six prototypes was flown in August 1966, and Harriers began to enter RAF service in 1969. The RAF's first squadron was formed with Harrier GR.Mk.1 aircraft, the designation subsequently changing to Harrier GR.Mk.1A and then Harrier GR.Mk.3 as the Pegasus progressed from the 8709-kg (19,200-1b) Mk 101 through Mk 102 to the Mk 103.
The two-seat trainer, with longer fuselage and taller fin, was similarly designated Harrier T.Mk 2, Harrier T.Mk.2A and Harrier T.Mk.4.
Fourteen two-seat T Mk 10s, based on the USMC's TAV-8B, are on order for the RAF. Powerplant is one 21,750 lb st (9675 kN) R-R Pegasus 11 turbofan.
Despite power increases, the Harrier is unable to take off vertically with a full weapon load, but can take off from a short length of road or semi-prepared strip in the STOVL, (short take-off. vertical landing) mode for tactical concealment. Equipped from the outset with a Ferranti FE541 inertial navigation system with head-up display, the RAF aircraft were fitted from 1976 with a Marconi LRMTS (laser ranger and marked-target seeker) resulting in a much extended profile to the nose. A Marconi ARI 18223 E-J band radar warning receiver was added to the fin and extreme rear fuselage at the same time. The Harrier carries a single oblique camera in the port side of the nose, but may be equipped with a sensor pod beneath the fuselage for more extensive reconnaissance, Following the production of six pre-production aircraft, the RAF received 114 single-seat Harriers and has ordered four more for replacement of Falklands losses. US Marine Corps contracts covered 102 AV-8A aircraft (now converted to AV8C standard), and the Spanish navy acquired 11 VA.1 Matador aircraft.
Two-seat trainer orders cover 23 for the RAF, T.Mk.4 (those not fitted with LRMTS being Harrier T.Mk.4A aircraft), fitted with laser nose and tall fin, eight TAV-8A aircraft with pointed nose, as TAV-8S by Spain, two VAE.1 Matador aircraft, a Harrier T. Mk.4 and three navalized Harrier T.Mk.4M aircraft for the Royal Navy, plus 4 company demonstrator. Developed as the GR.5 for the RAF and the AV-8B Harrier II for the USMC, the GR.5 features six underwing pylons, larger canopy, and outrigger wheels further inboard than the GR.3. A total of 300 (plus 28 two seat TAV-8B trainers) for the USM and 60 GR.5s for the RAF. Spain ordered 12 EAV-8Bs from 1987.
The improved GR Mk 7 is for RAF night attack use, with Smiths HUD and GEC FLIR.
After the first successful landing of a P.1127 XP831 trial Harrier on the deck of the HMS Ark Royal on February 8, 1967, the legacy of the Sea Harrier began. The suitability of Harriers for operation from ships at sea led to a decision, in 1975, to develop a special version of this aircraft to equip the Royal Navy's new ‘Invincible’ class of anti-submarine cruisers and the anti-submarine carrier HMS Hermes.
Taking the GR.Mk 3 as the starting point, a new redesigned forward fuselage (with folding nose cone) was built to house a Ferranti Blue Fox radar. The cockpit was revised as more ergonomically friendly while the pilot's seating position was raised ten inches to afford for better visibility out of the cockpit under a new "bubble" type canopy. The Martin-Baker Mk 9 series ejection seat was replaced by the newer and faster-reacting Mk 10 model.
The HUD (Heads-Up Display) was now be powered by a more powerful computer than that as found on the land-based Harrier. A Doppler pulse radar was fitted in place of the inertial-based unit of the GR.Mk 3 to compensate for air travel over the ocean. The Sea Harrier saw its radio system updated as well as the implementation of a simplistic autopilot. Vertical hovering controls were improved while the original landing gear undercarriage arrangement was retained. Though the Pegasus Mk 104 series turbofan engine received its new designation, it was nothing more than a "navalized" version of the land-based 21,500lb thrust Mk 103 series. All of the five underwing and centerline hardpoint pylons were revised for better efficiency and reaction while the outboard stations were now wired for compatibility with the AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile. Much of the magnesium of the original Harrier construction was replayed by aluminum alloys to help retard corrosion of the metal at sea. Likewise, the folding nose cone helped keep the Sea Harrier's footprint aboard the carriers as small as possible. The trainer T.Mk 4N did not feature the space-saving hinged folding nose cone and therefore could not be stored under the flight deck. Despite all of these internal changes, the Sea Harrier weight only 100lbs heavier than her land counterpart.
The first Sea Harrier (Hawker Siddeley designation of P.1184) achieved flight on August 20th, 1978 at Dunsford and later this same aircraft became the first Sea Harrier to land on the HMS Hermes on November 13th. No. 700A Flight squadron was formed to handle the intensive deck trials for the new aircraft and clear it for operational use. To expedite development even further, a pair of specially-modified Hawker Hunter T.Mk 8 trainer airframes were fitted with Sea Harrier equipment for critical in-flight testing of systems in action.
The first of 34 Sea Harriers for the Royal Navy entered service in June 1979. Three pre-production aircraft were on order followed by an order for 31 production units and a single two-seat T.Mk 4A trainer.
By the end of the first round, some 57 single-seat production Sea Harriers were ordered thanks to follow-up contracts and high expectations. The second production Sea Harrier (XZ451) completed her first flight on May 25th, 1979 and then came to the Royal Navy Intensive Flying Trials Unit (IFTU) at Yeovilton on June 18th of that same year. The squadron was then disbanded on March 31st, 1980 and reformed as No. 899 Squadron. The initial carrier-deployed Sea Harrier unit became No. 800 aboard HMS Invincible.
Overall the Sea Harrier looked every bit the part of her land-based sisters complete with her swept-back high-mounted monoplane wings, conventional single-finned tail unit and unique two-legged undercarriage complimented by two wingtip wheeled struts. The engine series remained the Rolls-Royce brand Pegasus type of which itself was a special navalized version of the Mk 103 - now marked as the Mk 104 - with a rating of 21,500lb standard thrust output (Sea Harriers, like the base Harrier, were subsonic aircraft incapable of breaking Mach 1 or utilizing afterburner). The powerplant powered the four all-important thrust vectoring nozzles affixed as pairs to the either side of the fuselage body.
Since the Sea Harrier was branched off of the land-based Harrier GR.3 production models (and was only acquired in limited quantity), it maintains only a handful of variants to its name. The initial production version became the FRS1 and entered service in April of 1969. The FRS1 had a maximum speed of 1,185km per hour and a cruising speed equal to 850km per hour at 36,000 feet. High altitude combat radius was limited to 750km. Maximum take-off weight was 26,200lbs. The Sea Harrier made use of a pair of optional 30mm ADEN cannons mounted to the sides of the fuselage centerline with approximately 100 rounds per cannon. This could easily be complimented with an array of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry to fit the mission role up to 5,000lbs to include anti-ship missiles. Munitions were fielded on four underwing hardpoints at pylons in two inboard and two outboard positions. Outboard pylons were wired to fire the AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile and eventually were made to field a double-launch rail for the missile.
The Sea Harrier also made use of various size conventional drop bombs and were cleared for use with the WE.177 nuclear bomb.
Sea Harriers were built with a basic F.95 oblique bomb camera installed along the starboard side of the aircraft nose assembly and featured an adjustable shutter speed of up to 1/3,000 seconds. The system was "basic" in that it was restricted to daytime use and was primarily utilized to help target enemy surface ships. During the Falklands conflict, this camera proved all but useless in assessing the damage post-strike of bombs dropped on Port Stanley.
The FRS51 was the export version of the FRS1 production model and delivered to the Indian Navy. These Sea Harriers featured compatibility with the French Matra R550 Magic air-to-air missiles. India bought 16 FRS.51 Sea Harriers and three Harrier T.60 trainers to 1987. India since maintained 30 Sea Harriers (designated as FRS51 and based on the FRS1) beginning in December 1983 with these beginning service the INS Vikrant and ultimately switching to the INS Viraat. Indian Sea Harriers make up the 300 Naval Squadron and represent the only foreign use of the Sea Harrier model.
The FA2 (formally using the FRS.2 and F/A.2 designations) appeared as a mid-life upgrade to the FRS1 and improved upon the airframe, avionics, armament capabilities, cockpit and radar and compatibility for the American-made AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missile. Initial flight of the FRS.2 prototype was on September 19th, 1988 with the production contract coming on December 7th, 1988. Thirty-two FRS.1 models were tabbed for conversion to this new standard while others appeared as "new-build" systems. The designation of F/A.2 was used as a replacement for the initial designation of FRS.2. Wing leading edges were now kinked and a new navalized Pegasus Mk 106 engine of 21,500lbf (based on the USMC AV-8B powerplant) was fitted. Carrier testing was accomplished over a 9-day period in November of 1990 with AMRAAM clearance tests finished in 1991.Deliveries of this new Sea Harrier (conversions followed by new-builds) began in April of 1993 and lasted until 1998.
In the FA2, the Blue Fox AI radar of old was modernized to the more powerful Blue Vixen system fitting an all-new radome. Like the Blue Fox before it, the Blue Vixen was a multi-mode pulse Doppler radar unit but now applicable to operations in all-weather with tracking and targeting of multiple land- and air-based enemies through an improved suite. Additionally, the system allowed for a track-while-scan mode and "lookdown-shootdown" capability. HOTAS (Hands-On Throttle and Stick) and multifunction displays all greeted the new Sea Harrier model as did a slightly lengthened airframe.
AMRAAM capability was brought online with this FA2 and these aircraft were fielded in anger over Bosnia by No. 889 Squadron off of the deck of the HMS Invincible.
Performance for the FA2 included a maximum speed of 735 miles per hour with a service ceiling of approximately 51,000 feet and a rate-of-climb equal to 50,000 feet per minute. The ferry range was listed at 2,000 miles with a combat radius of 620 miles. Maximum take-off weight was listed at 26,200lbs.
The final FA2 was delivered in January of 1999.
The Sea Harrier added a collection of two-seat trainers to its production. The T.4N was a navalized form of the land-based T.Mk 2 used by the Royal Air Force. These were delivered sans radar and minimal Sea Harrier instrumentation and were used to train would-be Sea Harrier pilots on the ins-and-outs encountered with the FRS1 production model. Four T.Mk 4Ns were delivered to the Royal Navy.
The T.Mk 8 was a similar two-seat trainer based on the FA2 production model and, again, delivered without the radar system. Seven such T.Mk 8's were delivered to the Royal Navy and ultimately retired from service as of March of 2006. The T.Mk 60 was the export version of the Royal Navy T.Mk 4N and delivered to the Indian Navy. Four of these twin-seat Sea Harriers were sold to India and utilized as land-based trainers.
The Argentine dictatorship moved in to occupy the Falkland Islands group in 1982 and the British moved into action to protect their interest. Both the Harrier GR.Mk 3 and Blue Fox/Sidewinder-equipped FRS1 were the two Harrier types involved. The Falklands War was the first time that Harriers of any type were to see action.
The first Sea Harrier attack sortie occurred on May 1st, 1982. Two separate strikes involved low-level swipes using cannons and cluster bombs against Argentine targets at the Port Stanley airfield and the Goose Green airfield.
Further actions involved the Sea Harrier in the amphibious landing operation at San Carlos Bay. Sea Harriers covered some 2,000 sorties in the conflict from the available 28 airframes. Just six Sea Harriers were lost in the conflict with two of these related to Argentine ground fire and the other four to accident.
The Sea Harrier has already been retired by the Royal Navy as of March 2006, replaced by the Harrier GR.Mk 9 series.
The Italian Navy operated radar-equipped Harrier II Plus.
Armament: two 30-mm. Aden cannon (with 130 rpg)
Hardpoints: 4 up to 2268 kg (5,000 lb)
four wing pylons carrying of ordnance (or 455-litre/ 100-Imp gal tanks, inboard only
Powerplant: one 9752-kg (2 1, 500-1b) thrust Rolls-Royce Pegasus 103 vectored-thrust turbofan.
Maximum speed, clean 1159 km/h (720 mph) at 305 m (1,000 ft) or Mach 0.95
Tactical radius on a hi-lo-hi mission 418 km (260 miles).
Weight empty 5425 kg (11,960 lb)
Maximum weight vertical take-off 8165 kg (18,000 lb)
Maximum short-take-off 11340+ kg(25,000+ lb)
Span 7.09 m (23 ft 3 in)
Length 14.27 m (46 ft 10 in)
Height 3,45 m (11 ft 4 in)
Wing area 18,67 sq.m (201.0 sq ft)
Wing span: 9.5 m (30 ft 6 in)
Sea Harrier FRS.1
Engine: R-R Pegasus.
Installed thrust: 95.6 kN.
Wingspan: 25 ft 3.25 in (7.7 m)
Length: 14.5 m.
Wing area: 18.7 sq.m.
Empty wt: 5670 kg.
MTOW: 11,880 kg.
Warload: 2270+ kg.
Max speed: 1190+ kph.
Ceiling: 15,000+ m.
T/O / Ldg run: VSTOL.
Combat radius: 750 km.
Fuel internal: 2870 lt.
Air refuel: Yes.
Armament: 2 x 30 mm, 4 x AAM
Hard points: 5.
BAe Sea Harrier FA2
Engine: 1 x Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk 104 turbofan engine generating 21,500lbs of thrust.
Length: 46.59ft (14.2m)
Width: 24.93ft (7.60m)
Height: 12.17ft (3.71m)
Maximum Speed: 734mph (1,182kmh; 638kts)
Maximum Range: 2,237miles (3,600km)
Rate-of-Climb: 50,000ft/min (15,240m/min)
Service Ceiling: 52,493ft (16,000m; 9.9miles)
2 x 30mm ADEN cannons in under-fuselage pod fairings.
WE.177 Nucelar Bomb
2 x Fuel Drop Tanks
Up to 5,000lbs of external ordnance on four underwing pylons (two to a wing).
Empty Weight:14,052lbs (6,374kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 26,235lbs (11,900kg)