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Basic description of the Harrier

Although there are many variants of the Harrier family, the basic layout of the aircraft has not changed since 1957/58. This section outlines the common features of all aircraft in the Harrier family, from the original P.1127 through to today's Harrier II+.

The P.1127 was originally designed not only as a research aircraft to explore V/STOL flight but also as a tactical strike fighter to be used in support of land forces. It was this objective, in addition to its novel take-off and landing method, that has shaped the design.

The most critical area of concern has always been weight. Despite the continuous growth in the thrust of the Pegasus engine, no member of the Harrier family has enjoyed an excess of thrust. It is a happy coincidence that many of the design requirements of a ground attack fighter have mirrored the need for weight minimisation, such as the small wing and single-seat cockpit.

Below is an interactive image/text control panel - select an area of the Harrier to learn more.

CockpitWingFuselageUndercarriageFlying controlsPropulsion
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