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The National Aviation Museum receives a Harrier Jet
The National Aviation Museum is proud to receive for its collection the famous British Aerospace Harrier jump jet. This single-seat aircraft’s most distinguishing characteristic is its ability to take off and land vertically. It was the first fixed wing aircraft to introduce this capability into service. 

The Harrier was disassembled and made its way from Tucson, Arizona to Ottawa and the National Aviation Museum on three large flatbed trucks. It arrived on June 23, 1997. This new acquisition was assembled over the summer months by the Museum’s restoration experts and unveiled in the Museum’s Naval Island on September 28, 1997.

The aircraft arrival on June 23 1997.
This acquisition from the United States Navy has been in large part arranged and made possible through the good offices of  British Aerospace Holdings Inc. with additional assistance from Rolls Royce Industries and Smiths Industries. 

The National Aviation Museum prides itself in charting not only Canada’s rich aviation heritage but many other important milestones in the history of flight. The Museum is particularly pleased to have acquired the Harrier as the most widely known example of V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) aviation technology in the world. 

The British Aerospace (BAe) Harrier combat jet is one of the world’s most innovative aircraft. Using vectored thrust, by which the propulsive power of its engine is directed downwards, it can take-off and land vertically thus eliminating the need for large bases with long vulnerable runways. It is the first aircraft with these characteristics to have achieved full production.

The fuselage of the Harrier in the  
Museum’s shops
Large section of the aircraft were protected by a sprayed-on covering
Preliminary work on this aircraft began in Britain in 1958 under the direction of Sir Sidney Camm whose illustrious career as an aeronautical engineer stretched back into the 1920s with the Hawker company.  This led to the construction of six prototypes known as the Hawker P.1127 Kestrel.   The first P.1127 was tested on October 21, 1960 and was successful in demonstrating the exceptional capabilities of the aircraft.  Production of the aircraft began in 1965 with a pre-series of six ordered by the Royal Air Force.  Number One Squadron of the Royal Air Force received its first production Harrier in April 1969.  Designed primarily for ground attack purposes the Harrier’s V/STOL capabilities enable it to operate from temporary bases and to minimize its dependiture on long runways which are vulnerable to attack by adversaries.  For the first 20 years of its use, the Harrier was used by the Royal Air Force in Europe as part of its response to the deployment of massive armoured formation by the Warsaw Pact. 

Initially, the aircraft remained somewhat controversial and the orders remained small.  However, between 1970 and 1973, the United States Marine Corps ordered more that one hundred Harriers in recognition of  the enormous advantages that the Harrier delivered. The vertical flight capability alleviated the need for a long runway and allowed for the fast and efficient support of amphibious operations to a degree which had never before been possible.

Moving the Harrier’s  
wing toward the  
Museum’s shops.
While the AV-8A, the equivalent of the Royal Air Force’s Harrier GR.3, was efficient, it was replaced by an improved version, license built in the United States by McDonnell Douglas, the McDonnell Douglas/British Aerospace AV-8B Harrier II. The United States Marine Corps currently operates the latest version of this aircraft, the radar equipped Harrier II Plus. 

A naval version of the aircraft was developed for Britain’s Royal Navy. Known as the Sea Harrier it proved its worth in 1982 during the Falklands War. The British were successful on this occasion due in great part the contributions of the Sea Harriers of the Royal Navy assisted by Royal Air Force Harriers operating from ship and land facilities. During the Gulf War, eight years later, the Harrier II was used to good effect,  by the United States Marine Corps. Sea Harriers and Harrier IIs are also operated by the Indian, Spanish and Italian navies.

The Harrier’s nose section, once the protective covering was removed.
The AV-8A Harrier acquired by the Museum was built by British Aerospace in England and  entered service with the United States Marine Corps in September 1973. It was taken out of service in August 1985. The aircraft flew with three United States Marine Corps squadrons, VMA 513 and VMA 231, and was attached to the helicopter carriers USS Guam, USS Peleliu and USS Inchon. During its service years the aircraft flew in the United States, on both the east and west coasts, at Iwakuni and Atsugi in Japan and in the Hawaiian Islands.
Mounting the wing on the fuselage as seen from three different angles.
Wing span:
Weight, gross:
Speed, max.:
Service ceiling:
Combat Radius short take-off:
Maximum range:
One 21,500 lb (9 751 kg) static thrust Rolls-Royce F402-RR-401 (Pegasus 103) vectored-thrust turbofan engine 
25 ft 3 in (7.7 m) 
45 ft 6.6 in (13.9 m) 
11 ft 4 in (3.45 m) 
25 200 lb (11 429 kg) 
740 mph (1 191 km/h) at sea level 
22 500 ft/min (6 860 m/min) 
51 200 ft (15 605 m) 
250 mi (402 km) 
2 340 mi (3 766 km) 
Two 30-mm cannons in detachable pods; 
5 000 lb (2 268 kg) of bombs and  rockets; can carry 
two Sidewinder air to air missiles 

Copyright 1997 National Aviation Museum
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