Hawker Siddley/BAE Harrier, 1960 onwards (all marks), Owner’s Workshop Manual

B1756

This manual provides a unique insight into an outstanding weapons system that may now be in its twilight years but remains potent and has contributed much to the development of the Lockheed Martin Lightning II, which will probably be the most influential aircraft for the next three decades. The standard of the manual is well up to the level pioneered by the publisher in using a Workshop Manual format to tell the complex story of advanced technology in a way that can be followed even by the non-technical. Highly recommended.

Reviews

ASDNews

Broadly Guns News

BSD

Nighthawk News

Firetrench Directory

NAME: Hawker Siddley/BAE Harrier, 1960 onwards (all marks), Owner’s Workshop Manual
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1756
DATE: 010912
AUTHOR: Denis J Calvert
PUBLISHER: Haynes Publishing
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 176
PRICE: £21.99
GENRE: Non fiction
SUBJECT: VTOL, STOL, STOVL, Harrier, Sea Harrier, Falklands Liberation War, strike fighter, fast jet, FAA, RAF, USMC, F-35, Lightning II, naval aviation, close support, bow ramp, aircraft carriers, HMS Hermes, HMS Invincible, Invincible Class, AV-8B, AV-8A, AV-8C
ISBN: 978-0-85733-079-6
IMAGE: B1756.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/d4kbadz
LINKS: http://tinyurl.com/
DESCRIPTION: Some manuals in the Haynes series are slightly tongue-in-the-cheek because when modern military aircraft are retired they may be scrapped or sent only to established museums as static exhibits. In the case of the Harrier/Sea Harrier, one example is already in private hands in the US and is being flown. The story of the Harrier also continues because the USMC acquired the FAA and RAF stocks that had just been through a very expensive British taxpayer funded upgrade programme and were sold to the US DOD at a knock down price that even failed to cover the cost of the upgrades. The US license built AV-8B variant is also continuing in service in several navies, with US-held stocks likely to be sold off to foreign powers as the F-35 enters full operational service.

Although the Harrier began service in 1960 and achieved its finest hour in the brilliant liberation of the Falkland Islands from a foreign imperialist aggressor, the aircraft is still a potent weapon system that was retired prematurely by the British as a political gesture and as a result of the damage caused to the British economy by the Blair Brown Regime. The US DOD was eager to acquire all British Harriers, partly to keep the USMC supplied with replacement aircraft and spares and partly to prevent the aircraft being acquired by other nations, posing a threat to US interests. The latter reason underlines the continuing effectiveness of an aircraft that is achieving its half century of service. It has been alleged that the Indian Government signed an order for less capable French fighters in place of buying the British Typhoon not to save money but to demonstrate anger that the Indian Navy was denied more Harriers and Sea Harriers by the ‘garage sale’ to the US DOD.

Inevitably, the timing of the writing and production of this handbook has meant that it does not fully cover the Harrier heritage preservation. The privately owned example being flown in North America by a former USMC pilot may be the first of a number that will join the warbirds display circuits and hopefully at least one flying example will return to the UK. The Harrier has also been exhibited in the UK for a number of years at museums in its earlier marks and as prototype and pre-production variants.

When the Kestrel VSTOL prototype first appeared, it revolutionized military aviation, offering the opportunity to return strike aircraft to primitive bases close to the battlefields. It meant that costly and vulnerable airfields might no longer be required. To fully exploit the capabilities of the Harrier production aircraft, the RAF needed to develop a range of support capabilities to deliver fuel and weapons to Harriers located in hides close to the battlefield. This the RAF failed to achieve and it has been observed that the RAF has been too focused on its history in the Battle of Britain flying point defence interceptors and in the long range bomber campaigns of WWII. In the process the RAF has had little interest in maritime patrol and army cooperation and support, other than in denying, at every opportunity, the transfer of those aviation roles to the FAA and the AAC. In part this may be a reaction to the loss of strategic bombing to the Royal Navy and the continuing expansion of the Army Air Corps. Today, the RAF is primarily an operator of conventional take off fighters, tactical bombers and transport aircraft. It may therefore be understandable, if not unforgivable, that the RAF service pride should act to reduce the effectiveness of British military capabilities. With all of the technical changes and operational considerations, there is now a serious case for the transfer of aviation to the Royal Navy and to the Army, with either the disbandment of the RAF, or its reassignment to space operations.

In the case of the Harrier, the Royal Navy has been the most active supporter of the VSTOL/STOVL concept. Had the RAF been allowed to influence matters, there would have been no Sea Harriers available for the Falkland Islands Liberation War and the Lockheed Martin F-35 would either have not been ordered in any form, or only ordered in the conventional take-off version. The LibCon Coalition Government that formed in 2010 not only inherited a seriously damaged economy but quickly fell under the influence of the RAF. The result was to be the vindictive scrapping of new maritime patrol aircraft that had already been paid for by the taxpayer, the disposal of all Harriers and Sea Harriers, together with spares and tools, the confirmation of remaining deliveries of the obsolescent European Fighter Aircraft designed for the Cold War that ended more than two decades ago, and the announcement that the F-35 orders would be reduced and switched to the conventional take off version. That in turn resulted in millions being spent on attempting to modify the two RN super carriers under construction to add catapults and arrester gear for carrier-modified EFA jets or even less capable French naval fighters. Fortunately some level of sanity returned and the LibCons performed a screeching U turn, reinstating the orders for the STOVL version of the F-35 which had seen some of its systems test flow first on a modified Harrier.

The RN immediately recognized the revolution that the Harrier offered. They also realized that a single engine aircraft was not ideal for naval operation and that the size of the Harrier limited range. As a result the Royal Navy designed new mini-carriers and a naval officer designed the ski jump ramp that enabled a Harrier to take off at sea with increased weapons load and full fuel load. The RN also ensured that the marinized Sea Harrier be added to the programme and that all Harriers would be capable of in-flight refuelling and could carry buddy refuelling packs. The most significant RN contribution was to demand the installation of radar and interceptor weapons systems, which meant that it could take on modern shore-based fighters and destroy them. The Falklands Liberation War saw Sea Harriers destroy Argentine fast jets for no losses of Sea Harriers. This war also saw the close cooperation between RAF and FAA pilots as RAF ground attack Harriers were added to the Sea Harriers to provide close support for the liberation forces when they went ashore. The Atlantic Conveyor container ship was taken into service for the Falklands Liberation War as the first MAC, Merchant Aircraft Carrier, since WWII, demonstrating that the RN and FAA had lost none of their skills at improvisation. This MAC was used as a base for Harriers and helicopters and its loss to an Exocet missile was a serious loss but much better than losing one of the two RN carriers which were the real target. By the time of her loss the Atlantic Conveyor had safely transported valuable extra aircraft to the Falklands war zone and successfully flown off many of its aircraft to other ships in the Task Force. It had also provided an additional aircraft servicing centre.

The Sea Harrier has not been a total success, but very close to it. The FAA wanted a twin engine supersonic version that was cancelled along with a new class of large carrier. Instead, the standard Harrier airframe received light modification and standard undercarriage. The result was similar to the Spitfire modification in WWII to Seafire, where the undercarriage saw an increased failure rate because of the higher forces experienced in carrier operation at sea. Also lost was the fitting of frigates with refuelling cranes to enable them to refuel hovering Sea Harriers. However, the fitment of radar and anti-air capability transformed the Sea Harrier. Although not supersonic, the Sea Harrier had capabilities in flight that conventional aircraft lacked and an immense power to weight ratio. There is one story of a surprised Mach 2+ capable USN F-4 Phantom pilot being surprised to see an AV-8B Harrier USMC pilot alongside gesturing for a race. The Phantom pilot hit the afterburners on his two engines and was even more surprised to see the portly AV-8B Harrier accelerating ahead of him and climbing rapidly.

In this new Haynes Workshop Manual, the standard Haynes formula has been followed, providing lavish illustration and the use of full colour throughout. The author has provided concise text that ably tells the story of the Harrier and its development. The Harrier at War and Harrier Dispersed Operations sets out the combat achievements of the Harrier and the way in which it revolutionized air warfare. The Anatomy of the Harrier looks at each of the main systems that make up the aircraft. The outstanding Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine justifies a chapter of its own as does the return to flight for a privately owned Harrier. The Pilot’s View, and Ground Engineer’s View have proved to be a very successful component in these warbirds manuals and are particularly valuable in this manual. The GR3 laser ranger HUD is described and there is a helpful list of abbreviations in the Appendix.

This manual provides a unique insight into an outstanding weapons system that may now be in its twilight years but remains potent and has contributed much to the development of the Lockheed Martin Lightning II, which will probably be the most influential aircraft for the next three decades. The standard of the manual is well up to the level pioneered by the publisher in using a Workshop Manual format to tell the complex story of advanced technology in a way that can be followed even by the non-technical. Highly recommended.

Leave a Reply