Service History of ZD668
- Delivered: December 8, 1986
- Dec 1986 4 Sqd RAF, Gutersloh, Germany.
- Dec 1990-1995 233 OCU RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire
- Stricken: July 1995
The world’s most flexible aircraft, the Harrier is able to fly like a plane and take off and land like a helicopter. The Harrier pilot must be skilled at both. Developed in the 1960’s this was the first operational and the only truly successful recon and close support fighter aircraft capable of vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL).
McDonnell Douglas partnered with Hawker Siddeley in 1969 to produce the Harrier in America. Since costs were lower on the pre-existing UK production lines, the AV-8A Harriers were purchased from Hawker Siddeley instead. By 1976 the USMC had received its first 110 Harriers. The AV-8B Harrier II was developed as a joint project of the two legendary aerospace manufacturers.
The Harrier is equipped with many innovations specific to its S/VTOL capabilities. The engine is fitted with two intakes and four nozzles for directing thrust. The aircraft has several other small nozzles in the tail, nose and wingtips to aid in balance during vertical flight. The two wheels located on the wing tips called “tip wheels” are also for balance.
Rotating the thrust nozzles (vectoring) into face forward position during normal flight is called “VIFFing”. This dog-fighting tactic was used for sudden braking and higher turn rates than the attacker thought possible. When employed against the enemy, the aircraft in pursuit of the Harrier might overshoot its position and present itself as the target.
This aircraft was acquired by Yanks in 2008. The Harrier can be seen in the movie True Lies staring Arnold Schwarzenegger and as the Transformers personalities Slingshot, Dirge and Jetblade. In 1996 a Pepsi-Cola advertisement promised a Harrier to anyone collecting seven million Pepsi points, the only person able to do this was never allowed to collect his prize.