The Harrier Jump Jet
, often referred to as just
"Harrier" or "the Jump Jet", is a British designed military
aircraft capable of Vertical/Short Takeoff and
(V/STOL) via thrust
. The Harrier family is the only truly successful
design of this type from the many that arose in the 1960s.
There are four main versions of the Harrier family: Hawker Siddeley Harrier
, British Aerospace Sea Harrier
, Boeing/BAE Systems AV-8B Harrier II
BAE Systems/Boeing Harrier II
Hawker Siddeley Harrier is the first generation version and is also
known as the AV-8A Harrier. The Sea Harrier is a Maritime
strike/air defence fighter. The AV-8B is the second generation
Harrier and the BAE Harrier II is the British variant.
an approach by the Bristol Engine
Company in 1957 that they were planning a directed thrust engine, Hawker Aircraft came up with a design for an
aeroplane that could meet the NATO
specification for a "Light Tactical Support Fighter".
no financial support for the development from HM Treasury, but aid was found through the Mutual Weapon Development
Project (MWDP) of NATO.
The P.1127 was ordered as a prototype and flew in 1960. NATO
developed a specification (NBMR-3) for a VTOL aircraft, but one
that was expected to have the performance of an aircraft like the
. Hawker drafted a supersonic
version of the P.1127, the P.1150, and also the Hawker P.1154
which would meet
NBMR-3. The latter was a winner of the NATO competition and
development continued until cancelled at the point of prototype
construction in 1965.
Work on the P.1127 continued with 9 evaluation aircraft, the Hawker
Siddeley Kestrel, ordered. These started flying in 1964 and were
assessed by the "Tri-partite Evaluation
" which consisted of British, US and German pilots.
With the cancellation of the P.1154, the RAF ordered a modified
P.1127/Kestrel as the Harrier GR.1 in 1966.
Harrier development summary
The Hawker Siddeley
and the AV-8A
were the first generation of the Harrier series,
the first operational close-support and reconnaissance attack aircraft
with Vertical/Short Takeoff
and Landing (V/STOL) capabilities. These were developed directly
from the Hawker P.1127
the Kestrel evaluation aircraft.
The Harrier was extensively redeveloped by McDonnell Douglas
and British Aerospace
, leading to the AV-8B Harrier II
and Harrier GR5/GR7/GR9
built by companies that are now parts of Boeing and BAE Systems.
The British Aerospace Sea
is a naval V/STOL jet fighter, reconnaissance
and attack aircraft, a development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier.
The first version entered service with the Royal Navy
's Fleet Air
in April 1980 as the Sea Harrier FRS.1
and was informally known as the Shar
. The upgraded
Sea Harrier FA2
entered service in 1993. It was
withdrawn from Royal Navy service in March 2006. The Sea
Harrier FRS Mk.51
is in active service with the Indian Navy
, which operates the jet from its
aircraft carrier INS Viraat
The Boeing/BAE Systems AV-8B
is a family of second-generation V/STOL jet
of the late
20th century. Developed from the earlier Hawker Siddeley Harrier,
it is primarily used for light attack or multi-role tasks,
typically operated from small aircraft
. Versions are used by several NATO countries,
including Spain, Italy, and the
Systems/Boeing Harrier II
is a modified version of the
AV-8B Harrier II. The Harrier II is used by the Royal Air Force
(RAF) and, since 2006, the
. Both are primarily used for
light attack or multi-role tasks, and are often operated from small
Between 1969 and 2003, 824 Harrier variants were delivered. While
manufacture of new Harriers concluded in 1997, the last
remanufactured aircraft (Harrier II Plus configuration) was
delivered in December 2003 which ended the Harrier production
Pre-Harrier prototype and evaluation aircraft
The Hawker P.1127, predecessor of the
An RAF Harrier GR3 on display at
Bletchley Park, England
- Hawker P.1127 (1960)
- Hawker Siddeley Kestrel FGA.1 (1964)
- Single-seater combat aircraft
- Harrier GR.1 (1966)
- Harrier GR.1/1A (1969)
- Harrier GR.3/3A
- Two-seater training aircraft
- Harrier T.2/2A (1970)
- Harrier T.4/4A
- Harrier T.4N
- Harrier T.8 (1994)
- Harrier Mk.52 (two-seat company demonstrator)
- Harrier T.Mk 60
AV-8A Harrier (US, Spain, Thailand)
- AV-8A Harrier/Harrier Mk.50 (USMC version, 1970)
- TAV-8A Harrier/Harrier Mk.54
- AV-8C Harrier
Matador/Harrier Mk.53 (for Spain, later Thailand)
Matador/Harrier Mk.55 (second batch of AV-8S for Spain, later
Matador/Harrier T.54 (for Spain, later Thailand)
British Aerospace Sea Harrier
US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier
- Sea Harrier FRS.1 (1979)
- Sea Harrier FA2 (1988)
- Sea Harrier FRS.51 (1983)
McDonnell Douglas-BAe/Boeing AV-8B Harrier II
- AV-8B Harrier II (1983)
- EAV-8B Matador II (for Spain)
- AV-8B Harrier II Night Attack (1987)
- AV-8B Harrier II Plus (1992) (USMC, Spain, Italy)
BAe-McDonnell Douglas/BAE Systems Harrier II
- Harrier GR5/5A (1985)
- Harrier GR7/7A (1992)
- Harrier GR9/9A (2002)
- Harrier T10
- Harrier T12
||Sea Harrier FA2
||One (Two for trainer versions)
|Maximum take-off weight
||Pegasus 11 Mk 101
||Pegasus 11 Mk 106
||Pegasus 11 Mk 107
||Pegasus 11 Mk 105
Sources: Norden 
The Harrier family's special characteristics have led to them being
featured in a number of films and flight simulator programs.
The jet appears in the James Bond
The Living Daylights
in the science fiction film Battlefield Earth
, and in the
film True Lies
, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger
flies an AV-8B.
According to the Internet Movie
, while making True Lies
, the filmmakers paid
the U.S. government $100,736 (or about $2,400 an hour) for the use
of three US Marine Corps Harriers and their pilots.
As part of its 1996 Pepsi Stuff
marketing campaign, Pepsi ran an ad promising a Harrier jet to
anyone who collected 7,000,000 Pepsi Points, a gag that backfired
when a participant attempted to take advantage of the ability to
buy additional points for 10 cents each to claim a jet for
$700,000. When Pepsi turned them down, a lawsuit ensued
which the judge ruled that any reasonable person would conclude
that the ad was a joke.
Operators of the Harrier (all
- Norden, Lon O. Harrier II, Validating V/STOL.
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2006. ISBN 1-59114-536-8.
- Harrier Projects
- Norden 2006, Appendix C.
- True Lies trivia. IMDb.
- Cowan, Ed Charles W. Flypast 2. Berkshire, Windsor,
UK: Profile Publications Ltd, 1972. ISBN 0-85383-191-2.
- "Hansard, Written Answers." House of
Commons, 5 January 2004.
- Jenkins, Dennis R. Boeing / BAe Harrier. Plantation,
FL: Specialty Press, 1998. ISBN 1-58007-014-0.
- Nordeen, Lon O. Harrier II, Validating V/STOL.
Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006. ISBN
- RAF Cottesmore Station Harrier