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AV-8B Harrier II Jump Jet
The AV-8B Harrier II was a continuation by McDonnell Douglas (later Boeing) of the less successful Hawker Siddley Harrier. The original Harrier was a technological marvel but a military failure. It had less range and less payload than the A-4 Skyhawk that it was designed to replace. The McDonnell redesign replaced the engine with an improved Pegasus engine, redone cockpit avionics, and added night attack capabilities.
The AV-8B retained the advantages of the original Harrier, most importantly its S/VTOL capability. This distinctive feature is afforded by the four swiveling lift jets which redirect the exhaust from the Pegasus engine.
This flexibility makes the Harrier an extremely useful aircraft, especially for the Marine Corps. In the Gulf War, they proved invaluable, with their ability to support ground troops in roles where conventional aircraft couldn’t. Additionally, Harriers often operate on smaller aircraft carriers alongside attack helicopters. This allows them to operate much closer to land than conventional fixed wing airplanes, which need to take off from large carriers far offshore.
- Type: SPH
- Class: ship
- Part Count: 372
- Pure Stock
About the Replica
This is a rebuild of my previous AV-8B (https://kerbalx.com/servo/AV-8B-Harrier), and features a rebuild of the swiveling jets, as well as a much more accurate exterior.
As usual, the jets use airbrakes to move the engines (3x Juno each) 90 degrees, where they dock to allow throttle control while hovering. The hinge is a pair of RCS balls inside a cage of solar panels, allowing smooth transitions between vertical and horizontal flight.
Flying the Harrier
This Harrier is quite fun to fly. I increased the number of engines to 12, nearly doubling the top speed, and allowing the Harrier to hover at 60% power. Use action groups 1 and 2 to toggle between lift modes.
For vertical takeoff, throttle to full and wait until you have ~100m altitude and 40m/s horizontal velocity. Then switch to horizontal flight. Wait for the engines to redock, and throttle back to 100%.
This Harrier is a little different than most other VTOLs to learn, but with a little practice, it’s an extremely fun plane to fly.
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