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Falklands Harrier GR 3 question


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Having just got the new Airfix Harrier GR.3, some questions have arisen in my mind and not being a Harrier expert I thought I'd check before doing anything.

I always thought that air to air combat was taken care of by the Sea Harrier in the Falklands and that the Harrier GR.3's were deployed to support the ground troops, so the inclusion of a pair of Sidewinders has got me curious!

The first 2 questions are as such - What's the thing on the centre pylon, is it another drop tank? Secondly - what combinations of ordnance were the GR.3's using during the Falklands war?

thanks

Mike

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Having just got the new Airfix Harrier GR.3, some questions have arisen in my mind and not being a Harrier expert I thought I'd check before doing anything.

I always thought that air to air combat was taken care of by the Sea Harrier in the Falklands and that the Harrier GR.3's were deployed to support the ground troops, so the inclusion of a pair of Sidewinders has got me curious!

The first 2 questions are as such - What's the thing on the centre pylon, is it another drop tank? Secondly - what combinations of ordnance were the GR.3's using during the Falklands war?

thanks

Mike

The GR3 sidewinder fit was to give it an air to air capability to supplement the sea Harrier if required.

The thing on the centre pylon that looks like a small drop tank is a recce pod..

The Harrier used 2" Rockets (NOT 68mm SNEB) in the Falklands.

BL 755 Cluster bombs 1000lb bombs, and 1000lb Paveway Laser guided bombs at the end of the war.

Selwyn

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Thanks!

So what combinations of ordnance would they carry with the Sidewinders and what combinations did they use in attack missions (ie - what exactly is on what pylon?).

I have all the Airfix newer tool Harriers - GR.1, GR.3, GR.7/9 as well as a pair of Sea Harrier 2's and a Fujimi Sea Harrier FRS 1 - so I can use whatever ordnance is in them kits.

thanks

Mike

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Suspect that, had they been required to operate in the air defence role, they would have had the same fit-out as the Sea Harriers, viz tanks inboard, Sidewinders outboard and empty underfuselage pylons,

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So, if we take them pics to be typical, it seems like the inner pylons were just for drop tanks, with the primary armament being on the outer pylons and the fuselage pylon, either with nothing or the recce pod. Would that be a fair assumption?

thanks

Mike

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If you can beg, steal or borrow - or even buy!! - a copy of AirFile's 'First Generation Harrier' by Glenn Ashley you will find a dozen or so profiles of GR3s that served 'down South' showing a good range of weapons.

One thing which has escaped mention above is that many carried the Blue Eric ECM system in a reworked starboard gunpod - a simple enough conversion in 1/72 scale.

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I have several books on the subject and also have some decal sets for falklands aircraft as it's one of my favourite subjects.

There are some pictures of specific aircraft with certain loadouts, they didn't use many LGB's during the campaign, but there is a picture of XZ997 with a red '31' on the tail from No 1 squadron carrying 1000lb LGB's on the outer pylons with the drop tanks inboard prior to a mission.

For the majority of the missions especialy the early strikes on port stanley airfield they used 1000lb dumb bombs and the BL755's as Selwyn mentioned above, so you could do pretty much every GR3 from the falklands with either loadout. One of the Osprey books I have (Air War in the Falklands 1982) shows a Gr.3 with what it refers to as an SNEB rocket pod with the 2.68 inch unguided rockets, however this might be an error as Selwyn has pointed out, I can't say I'm on expert on the difference but having done some quick googling on the two types Selwyn is spot on, the pods that have three rings of rocket tubes are the 2 inch type, so hopefully one of your kits has these, the rocket pods I've seen are all in a natural metal finish.

If you google GR.3s from the falklands you can get plenty of pictures of them during the campaign with different loadouts.

Hope this helps,

Rich

Edited by Rich G
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The Sidewinders were fitted for one day only, (possibly a combination of one AIM-9L and one AIM-9G or two AIM-9Ls) before they concentrated on GA missions. They were also carried by a few aircraft left behind on Ascension for local AD before the Phantoms arrived. One of them could give you the interesting combination of the big 330 gal ferry tanks and Sidewinders.

cas026a_big.jpg

The rocket pods were RN 2 inch ones, in 1/72 Freightdog do a set. They were used as the SNEBs were not compatible with the electromagnetic environment on a carrier.

Blue Eric was only carried by a few aircraft which arrived later in the war.

Generally bombs & cluster bombs were carried in threes - one on each wing and one under the fuselage, or in pairs.

As far as I am aware, the recce pod was not used in the Falklands.

More Pics here.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/TheHarrierGoestoWar.cfm

Edited by Dave Fleming
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The historical notes included in Xtradecal's 1/72nd and 1/48th scale Falklands War 25th Anniversary decal sheets refers to the weapons load carried by some of the aircraft on notable dates or missions.

Sqn Ldr Jerry Pook's book "RAF Ground Attack Falklands" mentions a number of armed reconnaissance sorties being flown and includes a picture of an unidentified Harrier GR Mk.3 carrying a Recce Pod on its centreline pylon and BL755 Cluster Bombs on its outboard pylons.

Blue Eric was carried by XV778, XW919, XZ133 and XZ992; all of which were also fitted with ALE-40 chaff/flare dispensers.

HTH

Richard

Edited by Richard E
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This one?

Must go an do some research and not rely on memory - I'd thought the recce was done by the onboard camera. off to the SIG files

I don't see any reason why not Dave, armed recce was what the GR3 was best at and to my mind the phrase "armed recce" would indicate at least guns and recce pod plus 1000 pounders or clusters on the outboards for casual use. Further, you cannot get much coverage with the nose mounted F95.

There are quite a few references to "armed recce" in "Falklands - The Air War".
Personally, I am more puzzled as to why they fitted ALE-60 (?) in the rear hatch panel when there were already at least a dozen outboard pylons modified for flare and chaff at Wittering (XW919 trials aircraft) - at least there were in '77 when I left.
Dennis
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Hi Dennis,

Don't know why I had it in my head they were not used. Perhaps confusing it with the early war use of the nose mounted camera by SHARs. Evidence I've found (plus info from others) leads me to believe the pod was used.

Now to go back and study pictures of Falklands a/c to see if I can work out which a/c!!

Edited by Dave Fleming
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