Hawker Siddeley Harrier

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The Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1/GR.3 and the AV-8A Harrier are the first generation of the Harrier series, the first operational close-support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) capabilities, colloquially referred to as a "jump jet". The Harrier was the only truly successful V/STOL design of the many that arose from the 1960s.

In the 1970s, the Harrier was developed into the radar-equipped BAE Sea Harrier for the Royal Navy. The Harrier was also extensively redesigned as the BAE Harrier II and AV-8B Harrier II, which were built by British Aerospace and McDonnell Douglas.

Contents

Development

Background

The Harrier's lineage began with the Hawker P.1127. Design began in 1957 by Sir Sydney Camm, Ralph Hooper of Hawker Aviation and Stanley Hooker (later Sir Stanley) of the Bristol Engine Company. Rather than using rotors or a direct jet thrust the P.1127 had an innovative vectored thrust turbofan engine and the first vertical takeoff was on 21 October 1960. Six prototypes were built in total, one of which was lost at an air display.

The immediate development of the P.1127 was the Kestrel FGA.1, which appeared after Hawker Siddeley Aviation was created. The Kestrel's first flight was on 7 March 1964. It was strictly an evaluation aircraft, and only nine were built. These equipped the Tripartite Evaluation Squadron formed at RAF West Raynham in Norfolk, numbering 10 pilots from the RAF, USA and West Germany. One aircraft was lost and six of the remainder were transferred to the U.S. for evaluation by the Army, Air Force and Navy, designated XV-6A Kestrel.[2]

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