How the Harrier was made into the Sea Harrier

‘Minimum change’ was the philosophy behind turning the Harrier into the Sea Harrier

In pure airframe terms, the Sea Harrier FRS1 closely resembled the Harrier GR3 from which it was developed. The Rolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan that powered all Harrier variants was installed at the centre of the fuselage for centre of gravity/centre of thrust reasons, with four rotating exhaust nozzles emitting ‘cold’ (fan bypass) air from the front pair and hot exhaust gases from the rear pair. Because of the engine’s size and the method of its installation, the designers had no option but to accept the need to remove the aircraft’s wing in order to take the engine out. This was seen as a backward — but inevitable — step in the Harrier’s design. An engine change that might be seen as onerous for the RAF when carried out in a hangar, or even in a forest in West Germany, was yet more challenging in the restricted space of the hangar deck of an Invincible class carrier and involved heavy jacking and trestle equipment. Hawker Siddeley engineers, tongue in cheek, referred to the Harrier’s wing as “the biggest engine access panel in the world.”

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below