The P.1127 prototype, an in-house development by Hawker-Siddely first hovered on October 21, 1960. The Kestral, utilising the improved Pegasus 5 was then developed, and tested on a tripartite basis (UK, USA, FDR), from March 7, 1964. A P1127(RAF) was developed from the ARS.384 requirement, which saw the lightweight Kestral redesigned to a more military standard. The resulting Harrier then flew on August 31, 1966, and went into production a year later. Subsequent revisions have seen the aircraft serving with the RAF to the present day, and with the services of two other nations - Spain and the USA. The GR3 model illustrated below is a GR1/1a with upgraded engine and systems. The original Pegasus 6 Mk102 (19,000lb st) or Pegasus 10 Mk102 (20,500lb st) was replaced with the Pegasus 11 Mk 103. The systems changes included the addition of a radar warning receiver and the laser nose. 56 aircraft were converted, and a further 36 aircraft built to GR3 specification.
Not exactly a Kiwi aircraft, this aircraft was a visitor to New Zealand shores. Brought out specifically for the 1992 Air Expo, the aircraft was delivered courtesy of Pacific Express in their IL76. The Harrier was assembled at Whenuapai under the watchful eyes of the RNZAF - and the aircrafts accompanying crew. At the time this aircraft was serving with No20 (R) SQN (although I'm told the code and fin tip flash are of 233 OCU) at RAF Wittering. The aircraft had reportedly served previously in both the Falkland and Gulf conflicts.
Last Update:- 8 October, 1998
© 1996-98 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved