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The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, developed in the 1960s, was the first of the Harrier Jump Jet series of aircraft.


Hawker Harrier Gr.3/AV-8A

The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, developed in the 1960s, was the first of the Harrier Jump Jet series of aircraft. It was the first operational close-support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capabilities and the only truly successful V/STOL design of the many that arose in that era. The Harrier was developed directly from the Hawker Siddeley Kestrel prototype aircraft, following the cancellation of a more advanced supersonic aircraft, the Hawker Siddeley P.1154. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) ordered the Harrier GR.1 and GR.3 variants in the late 1960s. It was exported to the United States as the AV-8A, for use by the US Marine Corps (USMC), in the 1970s.
The Kestrel and the Harrier were similar in appearance, though approximately 90 per cent of the Kestrel's airframe was redesigned for the Harrier. The Harrier was powered by the more powerful Pegasus 6 engine; new air intakes with auxiliary blow-in doors were added to produce the required airflow at low speed. Its wing was modified to increase area and the landing gear was strengthened. Several hardpoints were installed, two under each wing and one underneath the fuselage; two 30 mm (1.2 in) ADEN cannon gun pods could also be fitted to the underside of the fuselage. The Harrier was outfitted with updated avionics to replace the basic systems used in the Kestrel a navigational-attack system incorporating an inertial navigation system, originally for the P.1154, was installed and information was presented to the pilot by a head-up display and a moving map display

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Hawker Harrier Gr.3

In RAF service, the Harrier was used in close air support (CAS), reconnaissance, and other ground-attack roles. The flexibility of the Harrier led to a long-term heavy deployment in West Germany as a conventional deterrent and potential strike weapon against Soviet aggression; from camouflaged rough bases the Harrier was expected to launch attacks on advancing armour columns from East Germany. Harriers were also deployed to bases in Norway and Belize, a former British colony.

Hawker Harrier Gr.3: Specifications

  • History

    Role V/STOL ground-attack aircraft

    National origin United Kingdom

    Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley

    First flight Harrier: 28 December 1967

    Introduction 1 April 1969


  • Primary Users

    Status Retired (2006)

    Primary users Royal Air Force (historical)

    United States Marine Corps (historical)

    Spanish Navy (historical)

    Royal Thai Navy (historical)


  • General Info

    Produced 1967–1970s

    Number built 278

    Developed from Hawker Siddeley P.1127/Kestrel

    Developed into British Aerospace Sea Harrier

    McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II

    British Aerospace Harrier II

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The Pegasus turbofan jet engine, developed in tandem with the P.1127 then the Harrier, was designed specifically for V/STOL manoeuvring. Bristol Siddeley developed it from their earlier conventional Orpheus turbofan engine as the core with Olympus compressor blades for the fan. The engine's thrust is directed through the four rotatable nozzles. The engine is equipped for water injection to increase thrust and takeoff performance in hot and high altitude conditions; in normal V/STOL operations the system would be used in landing vertically with a heavy weapons load.

Hawker Harrier Gr.3/AV-8A


The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, developed in the 1960s, was the first of the Harrier Jump Jet series of aircraft.


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