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Harrier Trainer Questions


Bruce Archer
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Hi All!

     I thought I had Harrier trainers sorted out but now....

     I am building the Heller/Humbrol/Bobcat Harrier T.4 to have the tall tail RWR and laser nose. I have added the fan , new bang seats, cut out the air brake, blow in doors and made other improvements (we are modelers after all). But what is making me crazy is all of the T.4 decals I have have the smaller fin, with or with out the RWR antenna. Only the TAV-8A  decals have the taller tail (USMC, Spain and Thailand).

 

      My question is: did the RAF use the tall tail in the T.4? And if so what serial number range?

 

Thanks!

 

Bruce

 

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1 hour ago, Bruce Archer said:

Hi All!

     I thought I had Harrier trainers sorted out but now....

     I am building the Heller/Humbrol/Bobcat Harrier T.4 to have the tall tail RWR and laser nose. I have added the fan , new bang seats, cut out the air brake, blow in doors and made other improvements (we are modelers after all). But what is making me crazy is all of the T.4 decals I have have the smaller fin, with or with out the RWR antenna. Only the TAV-8A  decals have the taller tail (USMC, Spain and Thailand).

 

      My question is: did the RAF use the tall tail in the T.4? And if so what serial number range?

 

Thanks!

 

Bruce

 

Try here it might help.

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235030471-harrier-t4-did-it-ever-use-the-really-tall-t2-fin/

 

Selwyn

 

 

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It does appear the vast majority of RAF/RN Harrier T.4s do not use the tail from G-VTOL or the TAV-8A. So my next question is there a source giving dimensions or a 1/72nd scale drawings showing the differences?

 

Thanks!

 

Bruce

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13 hours ago, Bruce Archer said:

It does appear the vast majority of RAF/RN Harrier T.4s do not use the tail from G-VTOL or the TAV-8A. So my next question is there a source giving dimensions or a 1/72nd scale drawings showing the differences?

 

Thanks!

 

Bruce

Bruce

With your Harrier interest, have you seen this site?

 

http://www.harriersig.org.uk/

 

Iain

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Thanks Iain, but it seems the site has not been updated since 2013 and the forums section his gone. Thanks for the decals , but do you have the Sword T-Bird kit? Would it be possible to trace the three tails ( the original short tail, the AV-8A tall tail and the RAF tail with the RWR bar) for me?

 

Bruce

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According to the IPMS website, the sig is still around, I have posted a question on the society facebook page to enquire if they have sent in a SIG return for 2021. If they are still going, according to the society's rules, they must complete a club/sig return which will them continue to allow them to be IPMS affiliated (as far as I am aware).

 

@Bruce Archer The sig has not shut down - they do not have a FB presence, however there is a FB group called "we like harriers" where you could get some of the answers you need, alternatively, on the Harrier SIG page, there is an email address for the SIG leader, Nick Greenall, you could always email him with your questions!

Edited by treker_ed
clarification of information
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Looking back at something I wrote at the end of 2017 from comparing information from a number of sources it looks very much that only the initial service batch of T.2/T.2A were equipped with two taller of the three different fins trialled.

 

Unfortunately my notes are long lost as to where the original information came from. 

 

But from what I concluded the T.4/4A were originally fitted with the single-seat fin with Passive Warning Receiver as carried by the GR.3 which was itself slightly taller than the original GR.1  single-seat fin without PWR.     Later as surviving T.2/T.2A were converted to T.4A they received the original GR.1 fin shape as did some existing T.4A which had initially been fitted with the PWR fin.     At least some of these T.4A , possibly with a purely flying training role , lacked the LRMTS nose whether or not they had the PWR tail.

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Bruce, I’m out and about just now but will send you some stuff when home. Basically, the tall tail was never fitted with the RWR, Heller got that wrong. The RWR tail was (basically) the same shape as the single seater fin with the extension on the base.

 

(Just to confuse, as the T4 designation represented the engine fitted, there were tall finned, pointy nosed no RWR T4s as well!!)
 

nB Nick Greenall is on Britmodeller too @NG899

Edited by Dave Fleming
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I was at Dunsfold around the time of the early T.Mk.2s  IIRC the taller fin was needed because the trainer lacked stability.  I can see that the extension to the GR Mk.1 tail to fit the RWR will have increased the height somewhat, but don't understand how the aircraft was cleared for the original short fin.  Does anyone know the background to this?

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Hi Graham,

 

Test pilot Duncan Simpson wrote the "Developing the Trainer" chapter in Roy Braybrook's book "Harrier The Vertical Reality" from which I take the following points to answer your question.

 

The T2 was designed to fulfil the same operational envelope as the GR1 in terms of handling and strength so could carry and use all the weapons cleared for the GR1. Hugh Merewether piloted the first T2 XW174 on its first flight on 24 April 1969. It was lost after an engine run down while being flown by Duncan Simpson on 4 June 1969, Simpson had been unable to relight the engine and banged out at about 150ft. The second T2 made its first flight on 14 July 1969 (52 years ago today) and proved the two-seater was capable of reproducing the single-seater's flying characteristics in the main areas of the flight envelope. (Note the words "main areas"!)

 

So, with the original fin mounted on its 11-inch plinth and with its extended intake area at the front, the original fin design proved to be good enough. It was clearly felt that some improvement in directional flying characteristics could be made, hence the introduction of the (18-inch) taller fin shape "to improve directional stability, especially at high angles of attack". Simpson goes on to say, "Another directional improvement was obtained by the simple expedient of extending the under-fuselage airbrake by 26 degrees at high angles of attack".

 

It's probably worth here reminding readers, as Dave Fleming has alluded to, that UK single and two-seater Harrier designations had NOTHING to do with their external shape but the engine fitted. Leading with the two-seaters and visible indicators of the different engines...

 

Two-seater RAF Harriers (1st generation)

T.2 - Pegasus Mk.101 (19,000lb thrust) > Serials XW174, XW175, XW264-XW272, XW925. No vent ahead of the mesh-covered GTS/APU intake. Some RAF aircraft had a taller fin, increased in height by 18 inches, fitted to subsequent production batches of T.2s/T.2As: XW925-XW927; XW933-XW934; having been trialled on XW175.

T.2A - Pegasus Mk.102 (20,500lb thrust, Harrier GR.1A too, with two large vents on the engine covers plus bullet shaped tailcone) > Serials XW175, XW264-XW272, XW925- XW934. The last two of the first twelve T-birds were built as T.2A with the Mk.102 Pegasus; retrofitted to the other 10. No vent ahead of the mesh-covered GTS/APU intake. Some RAF aircraft had a taller fin, increased in height by 18 inches, fitted to subsequent production batches of T.2s/T.2As: XW925-XW927; XW933-XW934; having been trialled on XW175.

T.4 - Pegasus Mk.103 (21,500lb thrust, Harrier GR.3 too, initially no vents on the engine covers, later a small area facing vent added just offset to starboard ahead of the mesh-covered GTS/APU intake) > Serials XW175, XW265-XW272, XW925- XW934, XZ145-XZ147, XZ445, ZB600- ZB603, ZD990-ZD993. Fourteen were new-builds: XZ145-XZ147, XZ445, ZB600-ZB603, ZD991- ZD993. XZ145-147 were built as pointed nose T.4s with the tall fin and pointed tail sting. Small vent offset to starboard ahead of the mesh-covered GTS/APU intake.

 

Apart from XZ445, the other new builds were, I believe, fitted with raised later GR.3 type standard fins, including the RWR fairing, RWR on the tail sting and the LRMTS nose. Many of the T.2s upgraded had the pointed nose, original low fin and pointed tail sting. All had the GR.1/3 type airbrake. The rest were upgraded T.2As.

 

Single-seater RAF Harriers (1st generation)

GR.1 - Pegasus Mk.101. Two large electrical system vents - initially with squared ends, later smooth at the front, open at the rear - on the engine covers, plus a bullet shaped tailcone. Parallel-sided UHF aerials, often only one offset to starboard behind the cockpit.

GR.1A - Pegasus Mk.102. Two large electrical system vents - smooth at the front, open at the rear - on the engine covers, plus a bullet shaped tailcone. Parallel-sided UHF aerials, often only one offset to starboard behind the cockpit.

GR.3 - Pegasus Mk.103. Fitting of the Mk.103 began from mid-1974 as far as I know.

- Early (c.1974 onwards) > No vents on the engine covers, original fin, bullet shaped tailcone with 6-7 circular vents added to better dissipate the heat from the Reaction Control Valves. Some in late 1975 onwards had the small vent offset to starboard ahead of the mesh-covered GTS/APU intake.

- Post Phase 4 Mods (c.1976 onwards) > The laser nose and RWR was fitted as part of the Phase 4 Mods which began in 1976. The first new-build GR.3 with LRMTS and RWR was XZ128 which first flew on 9 January 1976. The first GR.3 upgraded with LRMTS and RWR by RAF an BAe teams at RAF Wittering was XV760 on 23 April 1976. Distinguishing features include (obviously!) the  LRMTS nose, RWR fin (5-inch height increase above the rudder to accommodate the RWR fairing), RWR tail sting with 7 circular vents. Tapered sided UHF aerials in 3 locations. The small vent offset to starboard ahead of the mesh-covered GTS/APU intake. The close time period between the new engines being fitted to some of the later upgraded airframes and the shape changes for the laser nose and RWR - on some aircraft these were done almost concurrently - has probably led to the confusion about what is a GR.1A and what is a GR.3; similarly what is a T.2/2A and what is a T4. 

 

Other RAF/RN two-seat variants  - Developing the list for these 1st generation airframes...

T.4A - Pegasus Mk.103 > Serials XW175, XW265, XW266, XW268, XZ147, XZ445, ZD990. Pointed nose and tail sting retained on the T.4As but they had the RWR fitted fin added, without the RWR equipment fitted. These lighter T-birds were used for flying training only, as they were more responsive than the LRMTS and full RWR fitted airframes.

T.4N - Pegasus Mk.104 > Serials ZB604-ZB606 - new built as T.4Ns. XW266-XW268, XW927, ZB601, ZB603, ZD992 upgraded from T.4/ T.4A. Full RWR fit in fin and tail sting. Internally T.4Ns had SHAR FRS.1 avionics, excluding the radar, fitted.

T.8 - Pegasus Mk.104 > Upgraded to T.8 standard were ZB603-ZB605, ZD990- ZD993. Full RWR fit in fin and tail sting. Doppler panel added in a bulge ahead of the front undercarriage bay. Internally T.8 had SHAR FA.2 avionics, excluding the radar, fitted.

 

I think that covers it all, unless someone knows different...!

 

All the best

 

Nick

Edited by NG899
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Reading that, and from what was happening in 1969/70, the initial batch with small fins were all development aircraft, if later absorbed into the fleet, and the production aircraft were tall fins.  I would have expected these examples to be upgraded to the tall fin.  This doesn't in itself say anything about the smaller fin be retrofitted to some upgraded examples, but this would have restricted the clearances of the aircraft.  I find it odd.

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Hi Graham,

 

The taller fins were fitted to T.2 XW925 and T.2As -XW926-XW927 plus XW933-XW934; having been trialled on XW175, so the first two development aircraft and the first production batch had the original short fin. The 5-inch taller RWR fitted fin was rolled out with the Phase 4 mods on all T.4s. While this was shorter than the tall fin, it clearly did the job. As fas as I know no original (1969 design) short fins were retrofitted on any of the tall finned aircraft. I do not know why all aircraft did not get the tall fin when it started to be introduced.

 

The only hypothesis I can put forward at this point is that as with the T.4A, some airframes were used purely for flying rather than operational training. 

 

The quirks of Harriers... They are complex beasts!

 

Cheers

 

Nick

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On 7/14/2021 at 11:00 AM, NG899 said:

XW927, ZB601, ZB603, ZD992 upgraded from T.4/ T.4A. Full RWR fit in fin and tail sting. Internally T.4Ns had SHAR FRS.1 avionics, excluding the radar, fitted.

Err Nick no they didn't they had a moving map display for a start had to do a course on it plus the WAC was very different the BSU ballistics selection unit had big plugs  Instead of dialling in the selection.It was a long time ago but I don't think there was a lot common .That said I was on them for a short time as a scroat before I went front line.The next time I was on 899 ,T8s were knocking about which the strawberry mivvies looked after ..mostly ex matelots I'd have to ask someone but I don't think there was an awful lot of FA2 stuff on them....lots of differences though which was part of the reason why one stooffed in with the lost of Lt Auckland and CPO Steve.?....heard about it on the radio coming back from Wadders spent the weekend on the black down hills looking for remains....sobering stuff.Military flying seems safer these days thank goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the corrections on that. My knowledge is only as good as the last references received, I like learning new things.

 

Live to learn, learn to live.

 

Cheers!

Edited by NG899
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On 14/07/2021 at 11:21, Graham Boak said:

Reading that, and from what was happening in 1969/70, the initial batch with small fins were all development aircraft, if later absorbed into the fleet, and the production aircraft were tall fins.  I would have expected these examples to be upgraded to the tall fin.  This doesn't in itself say anything about the smaller fin be retrofitted to some upgraded examples, but this would have restricted the clearances of the aircraft.  I find it odd.

 

Here's XW269 in 1977 (by which time it would probably be a T4), with the original short fin. It kept this until the LRMTS and RWR was added

1977_Wieland-Stolze_XW269TB_Gutersloh.jp

Edited by Dave Fleming
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