The Harrier fighter aircraft, also known as the Harrier Jet, is of British design. This aircraft is jet-propelled and has the capacity to make landings and take-offs just like helicopters, in a vertical take-off manner, through vectorial thrust, and can perform stationary flights.
This type of flight is achieved by four engine exhaust nozzles, which are adjustable, and are connected to the central turbine engine, with air intake nozzles on the sides of the airframe of the aircraft, so the adjustable nozzles are projected to the sides of the engine, under the wings, to escape engine gases and provide the pilot to turn at will a control lever on the left side of the cabin, that mechanism to turn the nozzles is hydraulic and not electric.
The Harrier Jet has proved to be a very difficult aircraft to fly, and for that reason some more of the myths that have been built have been lost.
The beginnings of the Harrier Jet were as an experimental project for new technologies, it was thought to be developed as a light fighter and single-engine that had very versatile capacities, fearing a probable Soviet nuclear attack, with the imminent destruction of air bases, military forts and other strategic facilities, and this would lead to air and land invasions, that's why a ship with peculiar advantages was needed, like landing and taking off in non-conventional sition for airplanes, and that could face these enemies and stop the invasion of the country.
Technical characteristics of the Harrier Jet
- Crew of a pilot
- Length of 14.1 m
- Wingspan of 9.2 m
- Height of 3.6 m
- Wing area of 22.6 m²
- 6,340 kg empty weight
- 10,410 kg loaded weight
- Maximum take-off weight of 9415 kg, vertical take-off 14 to 100 kg in short take-off
- Propulsion 1 × Rolls-Royce F402 RR 408 turbofan with vectorial thrust
- Double central and front wheel landing gear as main gear and secondary wheels under the wings
- Maximum operating speed 1170 km/h
- Range of 2 200 000 m
- 556,000 m operating radius
- Combatant range of 1.5 hours of flight
- Ferry range of 3 300 000 m
- Flight ceiling of 15,196 m
- Rise: 460.4 m/s
- 1 GAU-12 Equalizer 25 mm rotary cannon
- 6 Sub-alpine anchorage points with a capacity of 5 988 kg
- GBU-100 Cluster Pumps
- Mark 80 free-fall pumps
- Paveway laser-guided pumps
- Mark 77 Incendiary Pumps
- 19 CRV7 70 mm rockets
- 2 AIM-9 air-to-air missiles
- 6 air-air missiles AIM-120 AMRAAM
- 6 Maverick AGM-65 air-to-surface missiles
- Radar Raytheon
- Target designation pods AN/AAQ-28V LITENING
Harrier Jet facts
- From August 31st, 1984 to March 30th, 1985, four pilots and maintenance and support personnel executed maneuvers to give the Harrier combat conditions
- Until February 1st, 1985, they participated in the first phase of the OPEVAL
- In 1990 and 1991 they participated in the Gulf War
- They acted in the initial phase of The Desert Storm
- 4,083 flight hours were accumulated in 3,380 flights, during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
- Participated in the bombings carried out by NATO forces on Yugoslavia during 1999
- Acted in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001
In the Harrier AV-8B model, changes were made in the mechanical piloting systems, by digital systems in order to overcome its difficult piloting, and substantial improvements were achieved, but despite them, its rate of accidents, is still considerable.
The Harrier is the only aircraft of its type designed to succeed, and its AV-8B Harrier II version is the only US Military jet with short vertical takeoff and landing capability that they currently own.
Written by: Rosa Castellanos