# Aerospace Why Harrier didn't success?

1. Feb 18, 2005

### Clausius2

Anybody knows why the Harrier aircrafts- those employed by GB which had a vertical take off mode- didn't success?.

I think it was a great way of saving up a lot of space. What has happened with the research on taking off vertically?.

2. Feb 18, 2005

### Wardw

I would not say that the Harrier was a failure. I don't know how many are in service around the world (anybody know). I think it suffered from being the first of it's kind that was truly viable and marketable although research in this area goes back many years and many different technologies have been tried in order to achieve this. There are numerous prototypes going back 40 years that worked but did not prove viable.
But the technology has now been refined in leaps and bounds. Look at both the Boeing and Lockheed JSF projects.
Does anybody know if the V-22 is still grounded?

3. Feb 18, 2005

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
The Navy version of the Harrier (the Sea Harrier) is being phased out by the Royal Navy, to be replaced by the Joint Strike Fighter. This is more a decision based on budgeting and military doctrine rather than aircraft capability.

The US Navy finds great use for the (AV-8B) Sea Harrier on its amphibious craft. Also, the carriers in the Indian Navy use the Harriers as the carriers are built for VSTOL in order to minimize flight-deck space.

The Royal Airforce still has a sizeable fleet of Harriers that I don't see them dismantling anytime soon.

As for the Ospreys, I think they've resumed flying the planes that are trouble-free. I think they went through a testing phase and deemed the craft safe to fly. The craft with the faulty rotor gearboxes are waiting for replacements (from Boeing?).

4. Feb 18, 2005

### Wardw

Any idea how many harriers are in service??

5. Feb 18, 2005

### LunchBox

A series of poor design decisions plagued the Harrier...

1) It had only a single engine to power EVERYTHING, including the ducts for vertical landing. So if the engine failed while hovering or landing, with no horizontal velocity to generate lift, that pesky gravity would bring them down like a rock.

2) Fuel consumption on these things was huge due to the amount of power needed during short takeoff and vertical landing (basically whenever it wasn't operating as a conventional aircraft). Tack on to this that it was supposed to be a small, light fighter (ie with less room for expanded fuel tanks) and you had a real problem. There is a story from the First Persian Gulf War that a US Marine pilot was given the chance to fly his Harrier on a patrol over Iraq. Everyone on the LHA was really excited since this was the first time a Harrier was allowed to do something other than CAP. The patrol would push the fuel limits of the Harrier to the max, so it could only carry 1 500 lb bomb. At the last minute the patrol route was expanded and the harrier had to take off without ANY munitions in order to fly it. Moral of the story... no staying power.

3) A nasty thing occasionally occurred during vertical landing. Ground effect disturbances caused an unsteady side-to-side oscillation of the aircraft. If the pilot lingered too long in cutting the power to "drop land", then the aircraft could invert a few meters from the ground, slamming itself down cockpit first. Also, these hard 'cut-the-engine-from-five-meters-and-drop' landings were brutal on the landing gear. This gave the aircraft the nickname 'widow-maker' among US Marines.

4) It could only land on reinforced landing pads, such as those specifically built on navy ships or advanced land bases. The amount of heat generated by the ducted exhaust would destroy anything else it tried to land on.

While these faults were severe, the Harrier was definitely a marvel of technology in it's day. However, the learning from these mistakes lead to the ducted fan on the JSF which has much better STOVL performance than the Harrier.

Cheers...

6. Feb 18, 2005

### brewnog

Let's not forget that the first Harriers appeared in the early sixties, so we're talking about a fundamental design which is over forty years old, and they're only just starting to take them out of service. I wouldn't call that a failure!

7. Feb 18, 2005

### FredGarvin

In the US there has been a long standing investigation into the safety record of the Harrier. The Harrier has the highest accident to hours flown ratio of any of the aircraft in active service (I'll see if I can't find a reference for that).

8. Feb 18, 2005

### Wardw

And as I think Fred would agree, the first generation of any type of aircraft so revolutionary seem to have a higher than normal failure rate...read: De Havilland Comet, Osprey, Space shuttle (Yes even Story Musgrave described it as an experimental aircraft) and probably many more. Hell you would not have got me up in the first generation of eggbeaters for all the tea in china. Fred any idea how many harriers were built??

9. Feb 18, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Nor would I - for its niche (STOVL, small fields, small aircraft carriers) it was unique and did its job well.
And isn't that going to be the STOVL version of the JFS? I haven't been keeping track lately, but there used to be an STOVL version....

Wardw, as to your repeated question: http://www.harrier.org.uk/history/history_production.htm Looks like 1-2,000

10. Feb 18, 2005

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
The fact that they are still flying Harriers in any form is a testimony to its success. I watched a harrier hover on the deck of one of the old carriers (perhaps it was the USS Iwo Jima LDH 7) in ~1972 while it was docked across from us at pier 7 in Nofolk. We were looking down on their flight deck from the flight deck of the USS JFK. I think they were pretty new then. There are not a lot of planes left from that era, even the Phantoms are being retired. The Harrier must be considered a very successful airplane. Which has distinguished itself in service. (need I say Falklands)

11. Feb 18, 2005

### cronxeh

Vertical take off and landing is technology of the future. Harrier was a relative success but obviously it will be replaced by JSF - Lockheed's F 35 by 2008 - US Air Force - 1,763 F35's, US Marines - 480 F35's, US Navy - 480 F35's , UK RAF - 60 F35's. Three versions will be made - CTOL ($28 mil), STOVL ($35 mil), Carrier Based (\$38 mil) . Compared to Harrier, F35 is supersonic. This is probably the only reason for the upgrade - other than the more advanced avionics. F35's will fly from Mach 1.5 to 1.7 depending on the model.

12. Feb 19, 2005

### FredGarvin

I think, in pure engineering terms, that the Herrier is indeed a success. I also believe that part of that success was due to the utter relentlessness of the Marine Corps to not let the program die. They continually tried to keep fixing them and making them better.

Here is a link to a story which gives a good account of what some people have been using as ammunition against it:

http://www.latimes.com/la-harrier-day1.story

I have to tend towards the side of being dissapointed when it comes to the Harrier as a combat aircraft. It has some fundamental design needs that I think completely contradict the mission it was chosen for (close ground support).

13. Feb 19, 2005

### Clausius2

Thanks for your opinions. I was not saying the Harrier was a failure, but we know that current aircrafts are not designed over the base of Harrier's taking off systems. Surely there is a powerful reason to don't make that way- as some of you have pointed-.

For those interested in the space stuff, you will agree with me that taking off and landing both in vertical mode would be the most appropriate way for a spacecraft in an eventual manned mission to Mars, due to the severe irregularities of the ground. Because of that, I feel surprised that this stuff doesn't "seem" to be much researched nowadays.

Last edited: Feb 19, 2005
14. Feb 19, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Its a tough compromise: if you don't have any fleet carriers nearby with Marine Corps F/A-18s, then you have a choice of Sea Harriers or Sea Cobras. If nothing else, the harrier can get off the deck and get to the battle faster. But its actual combat capabilities are nothing compared to the F/A-18.

15. Feb 19, 2005

### jcsd

The Harrier was a huge success story, but gthat doesn't mean that vertical take-off doesn't compromise other aspects of the plane for example comapred to other fighters the Harrier is much, much slower (this isn't necessarily always a huge advantage as Royal Navy harriers destroyed 23 much faster Argentinian planes during the Falklands war, whilst the only Harriers destroyed were destroyed during an accident).

16. Feb 20, 2005

### FredGarvin

What I am surprised never happened with the Marine Corps is that they take the A-10 and modify it to an almost STOL configuration. Granted, it doesn't hover, but even the Marines have admitted never using the hovering capabilities except in training. I would think that the A-10's qualities would be exactly what the Marines would want.

17. Feb 20, 2005

Failure mode

• Main Entry: fail·ure
2 : want of success
(M-W Unabridged 3.0)

18. Feb 21, 2005

### Clausius2

:rofl: You seem like a surveyor, have you been looking into my posts with yor magnifying lens for a long time before this?

To me:

Failure= a crash, or an evident lack of success.

why Harrier didn't success?=why Harrier is roughly employed nowadays?

Both thinks are not the same. For example, in an exam you could obtain a "B" hoping to have an "A", but it is not a failure.

Anyway, I see right now you're comprehensive with people whose native language is not english.

19. Feb 21, 2005

Formal logic between English and Spanish

...which is a failure to get the hoped-for "A"...

...at the same time...

...since what you have here is an equivocation. "Failure" is here defined in two different ways, hence your statement constitutes a logical fallacy. Here is more information on the equivocation fallacy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

Formal logic is the same in all languages. The Harrier's not succeeding is equivalent in Spanish to its failure just the same as it is equivalent in English to its failure.

20. Feb 22, 2005

### Clausius2

Me estas tocando las pelotas*.

A failure is what I understand as a failure. Throw away your wikipedia. The fact I obtain a "B" is not an objetive failure. Do not spend much time with this semantic stuff, if not my tone will be angrier next time.

And yes, I'm logical, and this discussion is not logical, everybody has understood the message except you, so you are the only guy who are not being logic.

Search for a translation of *.