Hawker  Aircraft

The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is a naval short take-off and vertical landing/vertical take-off and landing jet fighter.

Hawker SeaHarrier FAW2

In the post-war era, the Royal Navy began contracting in parallel with the break-up of the British Empire overseas and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Nations, reducing the need for a larger navy. By 1960, the last battleship, HMS Vanguard, was retired from the Navy, having been in service for less than fifteen years Perhaps the biggest sign of the new trend towards naval austerity came in 1966, when the planned CVA-01 class of large aircraft carriers destined for the Royal Navy was cancelled. During this time, requirements within the Royal Navy began to form for a vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) carrier-based interceptor to replace the de Havilland Sea Vixen. Afterward, the first V/STOL tests on a ship began with a Hawker Siddeley P.1127 landing on HMS Ark Royal in 1963. The Sea Harrier is a subsonic aircraft designed to fill strike, reconnaissance and fighter roles. It features a single Rolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan engine with two intakes and four vectorable nozzles. It has two landing gear on the fuselage and two outrigger landing gear on the wings.
The Sea Harrier is equipped with four wing and three fuselage pylons for carrying weapons and external fuel tanks. Use of the ski jump allowed the aircraft to take off from a short flight deck with a heavier loadout than otherwise possible, although it can also take off like a conventional loaded fighter without thrust vectoring from a normal airport runway.

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Hawker SeaHarrier FAW2

The first three Sea Harriers were a development batch and were used for clearance trials. The first production aircraft was delivered to RNAS Yeovilton in 1979 to form an Intensive Flying Trials Unit (also known as 700A Naval Air Squadron). In March 1980 the Intensive Flying Trials Unit became 899 Naval Air Squadron and would act as the landborne headquarters unit for the type. The first operational squadron 800 Naval Air Squadron was also formed in March 1980 initially to operate from HMS Invincible before it transferred to HMS Hermes.

Hawker SeaHarrier FAW2: Specifications

  • History

    Role V/STOL strike fighter

    National origin United Kingdom

    Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley

    British Aerospace

    Introduction 20 August 1978 (FRS1)

    10 December 1983 (FRS51)

    2 April 1993 (FA2)

  • Primary Users

    Retired March 2006 (Royal Navy);

    6 March 2016 (Indian Naval Air Arm)

    Status Retired from service

    Primary users Royal Navy (historical)

    Indian Naval Air Arm (historical)


  • General Info

    Number built 111

    Unit cost

    £13.9 million (1991)

    Developed from Hawker Siddeley Harrier

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Sea Harriers took part in the Falklands War of 1982, flying from the aircraft carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes. The Sea Harriers performed the primary air defence role with a secondary role of ground attack; the RAF Harrier GR3 provided the main ground attack force. A total of 28 Sea Harriers and 14 Harrier GR3s were deployed in the theatre. The Sea Harrier squadrons shot down 20 Argentine aircraft in air-to-air combat with no air-to-air losses, although two Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire and four to accidents. Out of the total Argentine air losses, 28% were shot down by Harriers.

Hawker SeaHarrier FAW2


The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is a naval short take-off and vertical landing/vertical take-off and landing jet fighter.


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