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GR.7 - ZG511 - No.4 Sqn
Recovering slowly with nozzles set nearly vertical. Note the distinctive FLIR lump on the nose distinguishing the GR.7 from the earlier GR.5, and the small outrigger wheels.

Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) multi-role attack aircraft, night attack capability, tactical reconnaissance

Hawker Siddeley - British Aerospace

single Rolls Royce Pegasus Mk.105 vectored thrust turbofan, 21,750lb (9,866kg) static thrust

  • span : 30'4"(9.25m)
  • length : 46'4"(14.12m)
  • height : 11'8"(3.55m)
  • wing area (including LERX) : 238sqft(22.18m²)


  • empty : 14,000lb(6,350kg)
  • max VTO : 18,950lb(8,595kg)
  • max STO : 31,000lb(14,061kg)
  • max external load : 9,200lb(4,173kg)


  • max speed at sea level : 661mph(1,065km/h) - at 36,000' : 600mph (966km/h)
  • ceiling : 50,000ft(15,250m)
  • tactical radius : 103miles(167km)
  • with external tanks : 553miles(889km)
  • ferry range : 2,015miles(3,243km)


  • first Harrier : 21st October 1960
  • first GR.7 : 29th November 1989


  • FBW fly by wire flight control system
  • HOTAS controls, hands on throttle and stick
  • Hughes ARBS (Angle/Rate Bombing System)
  • dual tv/laser target seeker and tracker linked to the advanced Smiths HUD via a computer
  • Autopilot, stabilisation computer, automatic vertical landing system
  • FLIR forward looking infra red, NVGs night vision goggles
  • colour digital moving map, including navigation & threat warning


  • 2x25mm Aden cannon
  • BL.755 cluster bomb
  • AIM-9L Sidewinder AAM
  • AIM-120 AMRAAM
  • Laser Maverick ASM
  • LAU-3/19 rocket pod
  • Mk82 & Mk83 Bombs
  • Alenia-Marconi Brimstone anti-armour missile

The Harrier GR.7 is a development of the GR.5, itself the RAF version of the US Marine Corps' AV-8B, built jointly by BAe and McDonnell Douglas. The GR.7 has a night/bad weather attack capability due to the FLIR Forward Looking Infra Red seeker in the nose attached to the pilot's Night Vision Goggles, NVGs. This device makes night flying a far easier task, but the heavy goggles can cause problems if the time comes to eject. Instrument lighting has to be modified so as not to blind the pilot while wearing the sensitive eye-pieces.


The GR.7s currently based in Germany will soon move back home to RAF Cottesmore.

Squadrons using the GR.7 are:

  • No.1 Squadron, RAF Wittering (GR.7, T.10)
  • No.3 Squadron, RAF Cottesmore (GR.7, T.10)
  • No.4 Squadron, RAF Cottesmore (GR.7, T.10)
  • No.20 (Reserve) Squadron, RAF Wittering (GR.7, T.10)


The maiden flight of the first Harrier GR.9 took place on May 30 2003. GR.9s will be made from time expired GR.7s with numerous upgrades and replacement aft fuselages, and should remain in service till 2015


Sad to have to report that our Harriers are all now sitting in a hangar somwhere ready for disposal. The governement have decided that to save a few bob they should sell off all our Harriers early. Latest news is that the US Marines will be getting them, freshly upgraded to GR.9 status, absolute state of the art - for a few million. Hard to believe.


Just to put the tin lid on it, here they are, the pride of our fleet, in the Arizona desert being stripped for parts. Makes you want to weep. Let's hope the politicians do know what they'e doing...

GR.7 - ZG477 - No.4 Sqn
Taxiing down to take off from RAF Valley, this example has fuel tanks only on its inner pylons. The forward jet nozzle is set to approx. 45°, with as yet unused gun pods just visible below.