Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3 of the British Royal Air Force in Falklands War camoflauge scheme. The model features a detailed cockpit with room for a minifigure and a sliding canopy, fully functional landing gear with wingtip "pogo" gears, detailed armament, rotating exhaust nozzles, and positionable flight control surfaces including flaps, ailerons, airbrakes, and all moving horizontal stabilators.
About this creation
Closeup of the model. The Harrier GR.3 was the first major upgrade of the Harrier family, yet still lacked much of the combat potential of the later Harrier II. The elongated nose was necessitated by the addition of the targeting laser system.
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, known colloquially as the "Harrier Jump Jet", was developed in the 1960s and formed the first generation of the Harrier series of aircraft. It was the first operational close-support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capabilities and the only truly successful V/STOL design of the many that arose in that era. The Harrier was produced directly from the Hawker Siddeley Kestrel prototypes following the cancellation of a more advanced supersonic aircraft, the Hawker Siddeley P.1154. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) ordered the Harrier GR.1 and GR.3 variants in the late 1960s.
Front view of the model. The twin 30mm Aden cannon pods can be easily seen, as can the placement of the wingtip "pogo" gear.
The RAF positioned the bulk of their Harriers in West Germany to defend against a potential invasion of Western Europe by the Soviet Union; the unique abilities of the Harrier allowed the RAF to disperse their forces away from vulnerable airbases. The USMC used their Harriers primarily for close air support, operating from amphibious assault ships, and, if needed, forward operating bases. Harrier squadrons saw several deployments overseas. The Harrier's ability to operate with minimal ground facilities and very short runways allowed it to be used at locations unavailable to other fixed-wing aircraft. The Harrier received criticism for having a high accident rate and for a time-consuming maintenance process.
View of the left side of the model. The original Harrier had a much lower profile canopy. As such visibility to the rear in the early models was limited. This was fixed in the later Harrier II. On the early Harriers the forward exhaust nozzle was similar in design to the rear nozzle.
The Harrier is typically used as a ground attack aircraft, though its maneuverability also allows it to effectively engage other aircraft at short ranges. The Harrier is powered by a single Pegasus turbofan engine mounted in the fuselage. The engine is fitted with two air intakes and four vectoring nozzles for directing the thrust generated: two for the bypass flow and two for the jet exhaust. Several smaller reaction nozzles are also fitted, in the nose, tail and wingtips, for the purpose of balancing during vertical flight. It has two landing gear units on the fuselage and two outrigger landing gear units, one on each wing tip. The Harrier is equipped with four wing and three fuselage pylons for carrying a variety of weapons and external fuel tanks.
Left side view of the model with the canopy closed. The lower profile and limited rearward view of the early Harrier's canopy is readily apparent. The Harrier II fixed this with a raised cockpit and re-profiled canopy, greatly increasing all around visibility.
The Harrier's VTOL abilities allowed it to be deployed from very small prepared clearings or helipads as well as normal airfields. It was believed that, in a high-intensity conflict, air bases would be vulnerable and likely to be quickly knocked out. The capability to scatter Harrier squadrons to dozens of small "alert pads" on the front lines was highly prized by military strategists and the USMC procured the aircraft because of this ability. Hawker Siddeley noted that STOL operation provided additional benefits over VTOL operation, saving fuel and allowing the aircraft to carry more ordnance.
Top view of the model. The difference in wing shape and size is apparent in this view as compared to the later Harrier II.
All RAF GR.1s were fitted with the Ferranti FE541 inertial navigation/attack suite. The RAF had their GR.1 aircraft upgraded to the GR.3 standard, which featured improved sensors, a nose-mounted laser tracker, the integration of electronic countermeasure (ECM) systems and a further upgraded Pegasus Mk 103.
In RAF service, the Harrier was used in close air support (CAS), reconnaissance, and other ground-attack roles. The flexibility of the Harrier led to a long-term heavy deployment in West Germany as a conventional deterrent and potential strike weapon against Soviet aggression; from camouflaged rough bases the Harrier was expected to launch attacks on advancing armor columns from East Germany. Harriers were also deployed to bases in Norway and Belize, a former British colony. No. 1 Squadron was specifically earmarked for Norwegian operations in the event of war, operating as part of Allied Forces Northern Europe. The Harrier's capabilities were necessary in the Belize deployment, as it was the only RAF combat aircraft capable of safely operating from the airport's short runway; British forces had been stationed in Belize for several years due to tensions over a Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory; the forces were withdrawn in 1993, two years after Guatemala recognized the independence of Belize.
Bottom view of the model. The exhaust nozzles can be easily seen, as well as the landing gear, wingtip "pogo" gear, and twin 30mm Aden cannon belly pods.
In the Falklands War in 1982, 10 Harrier GR.3s of No. 1 Squadron operated from the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. As the RAF Harrier GR.3 had not been designed for naval service, the 10 aircraft had to be rapidly modified prior to the departure of the task force. Special sealants against corrosion were applied and a new deck-based inertial guidance aid was devised to allow the RAF Harrier to land on a carrier as easily as the Sea Harrier. Transponders to guide aircraft back to the carriers during night-time operations were also installed, along with flares and chaff dispensers.
As there was little space on the carriers, two requisitioned merchant container ships, the Atlantic Conveyor and Atlantic Causeway, were modified with temporary flight decks and used to carry Harriers and helicopters to the South Atlantic. The Harrier GR.3s focused on providing close air support to the ground forces on the Falklands and attacking Argentine positions; suppressing enemy artillery was often a high priority. Sea Harriers were also used in the war, primarily conducting fleet air defense and combat air patrols against the threat of attacking Argentine fighters. However, both Sea Harriers and Harrier GR.3s were used in ground-attack missions against the main airfield and runway at Stanley.
The model is armed with 2 MATRA SNEB rocket pods, 2 AIM-9 Sidewinder air to air missiles, and twin 30mm Aden cannon pods on the belly. The Harrier II would gain 2 more wing hardpoints and the ability to carry heavier loads, while the Harrier II Plus would add 2 more for a total of 8.
If most of the Sea Harriers had been lost, the GR.3s would have replaced them in air patrol duties, even though the Harrier GR.3 was not designed for air defense operations; as such the GR.3s quickly had their outboard weapons pylons modified to take air-to-air Sidewinder missiles. From 10 to 24 May 1982, prior to British forces landing in the Falklands, a detachment of three GR.3s provided air defense for Ascension Island until three F-4 Phantom IIs arrived to take on this responsibility. During the Falklands War, the greatest threats to the Harriers were deemed to be surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and small arms fire from the ground. In total, four Harrier GR.3s and six Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire, accidents, or mechanical failure. More than 2,000 Harrier sorties were conducted during the conflict—equivalent to six sorties per day per aircraft.
Info courtesy Wikipedia.
Length: 46 ft 10 in (14.27 m)
Wingspan: 25 ft 3 in (7.70 m)
Height: 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)
Wing area: 201.1 ft² (18.68 m²)
Empty weight: 13,535 lb (6,140 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 25,200 lb (11,430 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Pegasus 103 turbofan with four swiveling nozzles, 21,500 lbf (95.6 kN) Four vertical flight puffer jets use engine bleed air, mounted in the nose, wingtips, and tail.
Maximum speed: 730 mph (635 knots, 1,176 km/h) at sea level
Combat radius: 230 mi (200 nm, 370 km) lo-lo-lo with 4,400 lb (2,000 kg) payload
Ferry range: 2,129 mi (1,850 nm, 3,425 km)
Endurance: 1 hr 30 min (combat air patrol – 115 mi (185 km) from base)
Service ceiling: 51,200 ft (15,600 m)
Time to climb to 40,000 ft (12,200 m): 2 min 23 s
Guns: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) ADEN cannon pods under the fuselage
Hardpoints: 4× under-wing & 1× under-fuselage pylon stations with a capacity of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
Rockets: 4× Matra rocket pods with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets each
Missiles: 2× AIM-9 Sidewinders Air-to-air missiles
Bombs: A variety of unguided iron bombs, BL755 cluster bombs or laser-guided bombs
1× Reconnaissance pod
2× drop tanks for extended range/loitering time
Quoting clayton Marchetti
Awesome color scheme ! Congratulations on being blogged by the way. Excellent!
Thanks for the heads up! I never would have known if not for your comment. Glad you like this one, it took a lot of reworking on the wings, nose, "pogo" gears, and empennage to make the earlier version. I think this has the most striking color scheme, also.