Hawker Siddeley Harrier

From Academic Kids

Hawker Siddeley Harrier

RAF Harrier GR7
RoleClose-support and reconnaissance
First Flight
Entered Service1969
Length ft in13.90 m
Wingspan ft in 7.70 m
Height ft in 3.45 m
Wing Area ft²
Empty lb 5530 kg
Loaded lb 7830 kg
Maximum Takeoff lb 11,500 kg
Engines1 Rolls--Royce Bristol Pegasus 101 turbofan
Thrust 19,000 lbf 85 kN
Maximum Speed mph 1185 km/h
Combat Range mile km
Ferry Range miles km
Service Ceiling ft m
Rate of Climb ft/min m/min
Wing Loading lb/ft² kg/m²
Power/Mass hp/lb kW/kg
Guns2 30-mm Aden external cannon pods
Bombs various
Missiles Martel or AIM-9D guided missiles
OtherReconnaissance pod or fuel tanks

See also BAE Sea Harrier

The Hawker Siddeley Harrier and the AV-8A are the first generation of the Harrier series, a successful close-support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with V/STOL capabilities. The Harrier continues to serve today as the Harrier GR7 and GR9 and AV-8B which are built by BAE Systems and Boeing. Ironically, the current operational British Harriers (GR7 and GR9) are license-built versions of the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) version, respectively the AV-8B Harrier II and AV-8B+ Harrier II Plus.



Hawker P.1127

The Harrier family was started with the Hawker P.1127. Design began in 1957 by Sir Sidney Camm, Ralph Hooper of Hawker Aviation and Stanley Hooker 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 take-off was on October 21, 1960.

Kestrel FGA.1

Design continued after Hawker Siddeley Aviation was created with the Kestrel, which first flew on March 7, 1964. The Kestrel was an evaluation aircraft offered to military test pilots from Britain, the US and West Germany (the Tri-partite evaluation unit). Successful tests led to an order for sixty aircraft from the RAF in 1967.

Harrier GR.1

The Harrier GR Mk.1 was the first production model of the Kestrel, it first flew on December 28, 1967, and entered service with the RAF on April 1, 1969. Construction took place at factories in Kingston-upon-Thames in southwest London and at Dunsfold, Surrey. The latter adjoined an airfield used for flight testing; both factories have since closed. The ski-jump technique for STOL use by Harriers launched from Royal Navy aircraft carriers was tested at the Royal Navy's Somerset airfield at Yeovilton. Their flight decks were designed with an upward curve to the bow following the successful conclusion of those tests. The air combat technique of VIFFing was evolved in the Harrier - vectoring in forward flight - to outmaneuver a hostile aircraft or other inbound weapon.

Harrier GR.1A

The GR1A was an upgraded version of the GR1, the main difference being the uprated Pegasus Mk 102. 58 GR1As entered RAF service, 17 GR1As were produced and a further 41 GR1s were upgraded.

Harrier GR.3

The Harrier GR3 featured improved sensors, countermeasures and a further uprated Pegasus Mk 103. During the Falklands War the GR3 performed attack sorties from the aircraft carriers Invincible and Hermes, and later from basic landing strips on the islands. The GR3 was the ultimate development of the 1st generation Harrier.

Specification (GR1 data)


  • Length: 13.90 m
  • Height: 3.45 m
  • Span: 7.70 m

Power plant

  • 1 Rolls--Royce Bristol Pegasus 101 turbofan with four swivelling nozzles, generating 19000 lb (85 kN) of thrust.


  • Basic operating weight: 5530 kg
  • Max. payload on external stores: 2300 kg plus
  • Max. take-off weight: 11,500 kg


  • Max. speed at sea level: 1185 km/h
  • Ceiling : 15 000 m


There was no internal armament. Two 30-mm Aden cannon pods could be fitted under the fuselage sides. There were an additional four underwing and one under-fuselage pylon hard-points to carry various loadouts, including bombs, unguided rocket pods, the Martel or AIM-9D guided missiles, reconnaissance pod or fuel tanks

The RAF ordered 118 of the GR Mk.1 to 3 series Harrier. The AV-8A for the USMC and the Spanish airforce was very similar and 113 craft were ordered.

The later model Harriers are easily distinguished by their extended wingspan, the wings extending beyond the outrigger wheels that are at the wingtips of the earlier versions (including Kestrel prototypes and the Sea Harrier).

Military Service

The Sea Harrier played a key role in the British victory in the Falklands War. A total of twenty Sea Harriers were deployed from HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible, and they inflicted serious losses on the Argentine air force destroying 23 aircraft in air-to-air combat. In all three Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire, but none was lost to enemy aircraft.

The Sea Harrier also saw combat during the Bosnia conflict, with one aircraft being shot down by Serbian defences in 1994. During the Kosovo War, combat air patrols were flown, but no weapons were fired. The Sea Harrier also made operational patrols over Iraq during the 12 years of enforcing no-fly zones.

The RAF version of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier also saw combat during the Falklands War. They operated from Hermes and provided close air support to the ground forces. By the time the Harrier next saw combat, all the RAF Hawker Siddeley machines had been exchanged for the upgraded McDonnell Douglas derived Harrier II.

The Sea Harrier and Harrier GR7 forces were merged to formed Joint Force Harrier in 2000. With the retirement of the Sea Harrier by 2006 the RAF and RN will share the upgraded GR9 fleet until the introduction of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Hawker Siddeley Harrier - BAE Sea Harrier - RAF Harrier II - AV-8B Harrier II

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