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Harrier II


 

 

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The Harrier

The Harrier began life as a purely British aircraft, but when identified by the US Marine Corps, as a plane which had the potential to fill their needs for close air support, and virtually immediate response for beach head response, it was clear they had to have the Harrier.

The only true V/STOL strike fighter, the Harrier was an offspring of the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 Kestrel which first flew on October 21, 1960, while tethered. Testing began on this experimental tactical fighter. The quite simple but remarkable idea of using the "bicycle chain" configuration for rotating the thrust vectoring nozzles came from this experimentation.

The BAe Harrier GR.1 entered RAF service, April 1, 1969 with the  233 Squadron. Several significant upgrades have continued with the Harrier as it entered service. Engine upgrades, two place seating, and provisions for Sidewinder missiles on the USMC versions.

Note the wing-tip mounted outriggers on the early Harrier below

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The "Big Wing Harrier" AV-8B GR. Mk 5 had it's political ins and outs to give it a bit of a rough beginning. Initially going it alone, the purely American Harrier II redesign ran headlong into American politics and was saved by an agreement for British participation in the programme and cancellation of it's own plans for redevelopment. The new Harrier was developed jointly between McDonnell Douglas and BAe. Even though the AV-8B was not quite what the RAF was asking for, the refinements resulting from the redevelopment  made for a remarkable new aircraft. All this was done despite the fact that there was no radical redesign of the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine. The Harrier II is capable of carrying 70% more external ordinance, has improved target accuracy, 50% more internal fuel, 400% more external fuel, and had reduced maintenance man hours by 60% over the Mk. 3.

Large amounts of the component airframe in the Harrier II are constructed from composite material. The one piece wings show a radically altered design, using a supercritical aerofoil section, 20% more span and 14.5% more area. The wing section is thicker for improved low speed handling and more fuel capacity. The torsion box, skins, ribs, ancillaries, trailing edge flaps, ailerons, fairings, and LERX are constructed largely of composites such as carbonfibre.

The "Big Wing" Harrier

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Engine intakes are larger and redesigned, and the outriggers were moved inboard towards the fuselage. Combined with an increase to 15 degrees of aileron droop, this has allowed an increase in 3059 kg. ( 6,700 lbs.) take off weight. There is also a transverse dam which can be lowered between interconnecting cannon pods allowing for another 544 kg (1,200 lbs.) of extra lift or shortened STO. run. Zero scarf front nozzles also contribute another 90  kg. (198 lbs.) to lift capacity.

Specifications;

Harrier; Engine; (one) Rolls Royce Pegasus 101, 84.5 kN. (19,000 lbs. st.) vectored thrust turbofan (GR. 1), retrofitted Pegasus 102 89 kN. (20,000 lbs. st.) (GR. 1A), upgraded to Pegasus 103 95.6 kN. (21,500 lbs. st.) (GR. Mk 3.), vectored thrust turbofan, Wing Span; 7.7 m. (25' 3"), Length 13.91 m. (45' 7.8"), Maximum level speed; 1,186 km/h. (737 mph.),Maximum take off weight; 11,340 kg. (25,000 lbs.),

Harrier II; Engine; (one) Rolls Royce F 402-RR-406A Pegasus 11 95.42 kN. (21,450 lbs. st.) or F402-RR-408 Pegasus 11-61 105.9 kN. (23,800 lbs. st.), vectored thrust turbofan,   Wing Span 9.25 m. (30' 4"), Length; 14.12 m. (46' 4"), Maximum take off weight; 14,061 kg. (31,000 lbs.) (STOL), 8,596 kg. (18,950 lbs.) (VTOL), Maximum speed; Mach 0.98.

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Wings Over The Pacific was updated November 11, 1998