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  • Hawker Siddeley Harrier / AV-8A VTOL Strike / Reconnaissance / Trainer Aircraft

    The Hawker Siddeley Harrier was the first generation Harrier jump jet to see service and saw combat action in the Falklands War of 1982.

     Updated: 6/18/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The subsonic British Harrier "jump jet" became the world's first practical VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft after the perfection of its vectored thrust turbofan engine. While other aircraft manufacturers of the time tried in vain to make available similar systems, the Harrier was the only such attempt to come out of the vast amounts of man-hours and millions of dollars spent in such research during the Cold War. The Harrier went on to see relatively successful combat action with British air elements in the upcoming Falklands War and has subsequently become one of the most identifiable aircraft in the world. Her vertical and horizontal capabilities have been the marvel of many-an-air show aficionado for decades and continue to do so even today - some forty years after her inception.

    While the type was been considerably improved through further developments, the Harrier line is entering her twilight years as more modern and capable systems make their way to the forefront (such as the joint venture Lockheed F-35 Lightning II). At any rate, the Harrier family line of aircraft has gone down as further proof of the ingenuity and innovation of British aircraft engineers.

    Due to the unique nature of the Harrier's flight control system and it requiring a good amount of training and mettle on the part of the pilot, the Harrier has been regarded as one of the most dangerous aircraft to fly, and this statement backed by the many of the non-combat related accidents reported by US and Indian Harrier groups.

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    Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1 Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1969
    Type: VTOL Strike / Reconnaissance / Trainer Aircraft
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Hawker Siddeley - UK
    Production Total: 718

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 45.60 feet (13.9 meters)
    Width: 25.26 feet (7.70 meters)
    Height: 11.32 feet (3.45 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 12,192 lb (5,530 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 25,353 lb (11,500 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Rolls-Royc Pegasus 101 turbofan delivering 19,000lbf of horizontal thrust and 1,000lbf of vertical thrust through 4 x swiveling nozzles and vertical puffer jets.

    Maximum Speed: 736 mph (1,185 kph; 640 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,181 miles (1,900 km)
    Service Ceiling: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 50,000 feet-per-minute (15,240 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 30mm ADEN cannons in underfuselage pods.

    4 x Matra rocket pods (18 x SNEB 68mm rocket each).
    4 x AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles.
    2 x Anglo-French AS-37 Martel air-to-air missiles.
    Reconnaissance Pod
    Conventional Drop Bombs
    2 x Drop Tanks

    Up to 5,000lbs of external stores on 5 hardpoints (4 underwing, 1 fuselage centerline).

    Global Operators / Customers

    Spain; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    P.1127 - Developmental Designation; 5 examples constructed.

    Kestrel FGA.MK 1 - Further development of P.1127 prototype; 9 examples produced.

    Harrier GR.Mk 1 - Initial Production Model based on the Kestrel; fitted with Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk 101 engine of 19,000lbs thrust.

    Harrier GR.Mk 1A - Uprated GR.1 Model; uprated Pegasus Mk 102 series engine of 20,000lb thrust; 17 new-build examples with 41 upgrades and 58 total in service.

    Harrier GR.Mk 3 - Lengthened nose for improved sensor system; radar warning receiver installed in tail boom and vertical tail fin; uprated Pegasus Mk 103 engine of 21,000lbs thrust; 118 examples delivered to the RAF.

    Harrier GR.Mk 9 - Multi-Role, All-Weather, Day-Night, Low-Altitude Derivative.

    Harrier T.Mk 2 - Two-Seat Tandem Trainer; utilized by the RAF.

    Harrier T.Mk 2A - Improved T.2 Two-Seat Trainer; fitted with Pegasus Mk 102 engine.

    Harrier T.Mk 4 - Two-Seat Trainer based on Harrier GR.3 combat model; usage by RAF.

    Harrier T.Mk 4N - Two-Seat Trainer for use by the Royal Navy.

    Harrier Mk 52 - Single Example Company Demonstrator; two-seat trainer.

    Harrier Mk 50 - Company Designation of AV-8A

    Harrier Mk 53 - Company Designation of AV-8S Matador export model (first production round).

    Harrier Mk 55 - Company Designation of AV-8S Matador export model (second production round).

    XV-6A "Kestrel" - US Designation of evaluation Kestrel FGA.1 models.

    AV-8A - Single-Seat Ground Strike, reconnaissance, fighter and close-air support variant; based on GR.1 with engine of the GR.3 model; USMC use; 113 examples delivered.

    AV-8B ("Harrier II Plus") - Multi-mode radar; Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile capabilities.

    AV-8C - Upgraded AV-8A models; USMC usage.

    AV-8S "Matador" - Export Harrier for Spanish Navy; based on AV-8A model.

    VA-1 Matador - Spanish Navy Designation of AV-8S; later sold to Royal Thai Navy.

    TAV-8A - USMC Two-Seat Trainer; fitted with olls-Royce Pegasus Mk 103 turbofan engine of 21,500lbs.

    Harrier Mk 54 - Company Designation of TAV-8A.

    TAV-8S Matador - Export Designation for TAV-8A Harriers to the Spanish Navy.

    VAE-1 "Matador" - Spanish Designation for TAV-8S models; later sold to Royal Thai Navy.