Hawker Harrier

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The Hawker Harrier was an experimental biplane torpedo bomber aircraft built by Hawker Aircraft to a specification issued in the 1920s for the RAF.



In 1925, the British air ministry laid down specifications for a high altitude bomber to replace the Hawker Horsley and for a coastal torpedo bomber (Specifications 23/25 and 24/25). As these specifications were similar, the Air Ministry announced that a single competition would be held to study aircraft submitted for both specifications.[1]

Sydney Camm of Hawker Aircraft designed the Harrier to meet the requirements of Specification 23/25, with the prototype (J8325) first flying in February 1927, the first of the competitors to the two specifications to .[1] The Harrier was a two seat biplane with single bay wings powered by a geared Bristol Jupiter VIII. It was armed with one .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun and one .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun carrying a maximum of 1,000 lb (454 kg) of bombs.[2]

The prototype Harrier was tested at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A & AEE) at Martlesham Heath in November 1927, where, while it met the requirements of Specification 23/25, and had satisfactory handling, the geared engine meant that it was underpowered,[2] and it had an inferior bombload to the Hawker Horsley, the aircraft it was meant to replace.[1] It was therefore modified to carry a torpedo. On testing the modified aircraft, however, it was found to still be underpowered, being incapable of taking off with torpedo, gunner and a full fuel load.[1] It was therefore not considered further, the competition ultimately being won by the Vickers Vildebeest.[3]

The prototype was used by Bristol as an engine testbed, flying with the 870 hp (649 kW) Bristol Hydra and the 495 hp (369 kW) Bristol Orion engines.[1]

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