Structure and Systems

Structure

The original Sea Harrier was a minimum-modification of the Harrier, the only significant change being the reworked front end. The cockpit was raised by 28cm, which gave the pilot a much better all-round view and also provided space for the radar. The fin was enlarged by building in the RWR as an extra section 12cm deep. The wingtip RCVs were made more powerful to cope with possible turbulence in ship wakes. Magnesium was eliminated from the airframe and engine. Electrics and hydraulics were considerably revised, and the engine was fitted with more powerful alternators. An autopilot with holds for direction, turn rate and altitude was added. The weight increase of navalisation was barely 45 kg.

For the FA.2 a new blunter radome was designed, and in order to fit in the Blue Vixen's black boxes the rear fuselage was lengthened by 35cm. The rebuilt aircraft actually received new rear sections, because this was more economical that a plug would have been. The ram-air turbine was eliminated.

Dimensions

Length, FRS.1:14.5m
Length, FA.2:14.85m
Wingspan:7.7m
Height:3.71m
Wing area:18.68m2
Empty Weight: 6632 kg
Max external stores:3855 kg
Vertical T/O Weight: 7992 kg
Max T/O Weight: 11884 kg

Performance

Speed, sea level: 1120 km/hr
Speed, at altitude: 1050 km/hr
CAP:90 mins on station 185 km from carrier
Combat radius:370 km+
Ceiling: 15600m

Powerplant

One Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk 104/106 vectored-thrust turbofan, rated at 95.6 kN (21500lb). The engine had four rotatable cascade-type exhausts. It had a bypass ratio of 1.2:1, a pressure ration of 16:1, 3 LP and 8 LP compressor stages, and weighed 1932 kg.

Internal fuel capacity was 2295 kg. Up to 3000 liters could be carried in two external ferry tanks. A bolt-on FR probe could be fitted.

Avionics

The FRS.1 had the Ferranti Blue Fox non-coherent pulse radar, which had just four operating modes: search, air-to-air attack, air/surface attack and boresight for close combat. Although basic it was considered adequate for the mission and the air-to-air weapons fit.

The FA.2's main sensor was the GEC-Marconi Blue Vixen pulse-Doppler radar. This had track-while-scan, multiple target engagement and full AMRAAM capability. It had eleven operational modes including ground mapping, surface target detection and tracking, and long-range look-up/look-down detection and tracking of aircraft. It was said to be "robust" against hostile ECM.

A MIL-STD-1553B databus tied everything together.

The Sea Harrier's radar warning receiver was the GEC-Marconi Sky Guardian 200. This compared hostile emissions against a threat library of 200 types. The aircraft had an ALE-40 chaff/flare dispenser which could launch chaff, flares and expendable radar decoys.

The communications suite consisted of a GEC-Marconi AD120 VHF radio, and a Magavox AN/ARC-164 UHF(?) radio. The IFF system was either the Allied-Signal AN/APX-100 Mk 12 or the Plessey PTR 446.

Navigation was provided by a GEC-Marconi AD 2770 Tacan set and Thomson Thorn MADGE. The FA.2 update included the installation of a Rockwell Collins IPG-100F GPS receiver.

The Sea Harrier carried an F.95 surveillance camera in the nose.

The FA.2's cockpit was completely redesigned, with HOTAS controls and multi-function CRT displays.

Indian Avionics

Smiths Industries and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd are to design, develop and manufacture a new Open Systems Architecture Mission Computer system for Indian Navy Sea Harriers. This will replace the current HUDWAC and inertial systems. The mission computer is similar to the Core Computer fitted to Royal Navy Sea Harriers.

In 2005 an upgrade program for 14 FRS.51s was initiated. This will add the Elta EL/M 2032 pulse-Doppler radar and Derby BVR missiles, and significantly upgrade the avionics.

<<< Origins Top Weapons >>>