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Harrier GR.5 - A&AEE & SAOEU questions

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Harrier GR.5 - A&AEE & SAOEU questions

Old 17th Aug 2022, 06:04
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Harrier GR.5 - A&AEE & SAOEU questions

Iím doing some research on the Harrier GR.5s history. I see that the first 3 DB aircraft were painted grey with one(?) having the painted false black canopy underneath. Was there a grey Aircraft at BD in 86/87?, if so which one?

Secondly at what point were the production aircraft painted green from there on?.

I see that SAOEU were given 3 GR.5s. When were they rotated for GR.7s?

Thanks for any help or dits/photos. There just doesnít seem to be much out there on the interweb.

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Old 17th Aug 2022, 08:15
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ZD318,319 and 320 would have cycled through AAEE at various times in the mid to late 1980's,I was on night shift at Dunsfold at that time so cannot supply any details on that subject.
318 was a bit of a hybrid AV8B/GR5,iirc she still had some of the original AV8B cannon ammo feed track mountings in the fuselage.
319 was the 1st A/C to get the 100% LERX fitted at some stage as a modification.
320 was I believe officially re designated as a GR5 (NA) [Night Attack] at some stage in the systems development (prior to becoming a GR7 proper),I remember we had 320 out on the airfield in the dark at least once when I was on shift.
I reverted to Flightshed dayshift in 94 and one of my wee jobs was to rebuild 318 after she had been stripped down (for structural testing ?),I was given loads of boxes of bits - she had been stripped down much deeper than we normally did,even rebuilding the nozzle control system was 'interesting' and even when I chatted to the installation guys working in T2B ( usually known as 'the black hangar') they could not always help me with info.
I used to hate taking over other peoples work LOL,you could easily tell if an a/c had been stripped down by a good fitter - as all components and AGS etc would be clearly marked.
I remember I was once tasked with refitting a windscreen to a GR5,all the fixings were just shoved into a bag - this job involved approx 100 different length bolts so we normally used to push them through carboard in the correct pattern/order marked out on the card,a system I still sometimes use to this day when working on our cars

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Old 17th Aug 2022, 14:08
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Originally Posted by NIREP reader View Post
I’m doing some research on the Harrier GR.5s history. I see that the first 3 DB aircraft were painted grey with one(?) having the painted false black canopy underneath. Was there a grey Aircraft at BD in 86/87?, if so which one?
I think they all had the false canopy, 319 and 320 certainly (320 had it up until the end). Can't find a clear (Identifiable) early pic of 318 just now. 319 had a higher colour demarcation on the intake (And carried blue and white paint at various times for stores, cannon and trials - nice pic of it here https://dunsfoldairfield.org/aden-gun-range/ - taken at Boscombe but no time given.



318 and 320 were more alike


Secondly at what point were the production aircraft painted green from there on?.
ZD321 - all the production aircraft were delivered in the two tone green scheme. BAE 'took a punt' for the first three that the 'grey' scheme trialled in Operation Matchcote would be chosen for production, In the end, the green scheme was chosen (but ironically the later grey scheme wasn't a million miles away)
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 23:58
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NIREP
I can help with the 1988-90 period at BDN but that's after your 86/7 requested years. Interested?
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 06:20
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Originally Posted by bonajet View Post
NIREP
I can help with the 1988-90 period at BDN but that's after your 86/7 requested years. Interested?
yes please, the more info the better.
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 07:21
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I was on Fixed Wing Test Sqn for 88-90 and ZD 320 appears in my log book from Apr 88 to Jul 89. ZD 319 from Sep 88 until Nov 90. ZD 318 only appeared, as far as I was concerned, as a GR7 26 Apr 90 (first RAF GR7 flight) to Sep 90. My recollections are that 319/320 came and went between Boscombe, Dunsfold and West Freugh depending on what trial they were supporting at the time.

This is ZD319 on the first grass strip trials at Boscombe 21 Sep 88. Whilst I'm in the aircraft, I don't have the copyright, which I guess lies with the MoD


ZD320 on the way to Aberporth for AIM9L guided firing 9 Dec 88. Same as before - the copyright probably belongs to the MoD.

As far as pictures of ZD318, there is one on Airliners.net from a Malcolm Clarke showing the aircraft at Boscombe's Open Day on the 9 Jun 90.

Hope that's some use to you.

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Old 18th Aug 2022, 08:21
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Nice pic of 320 BJ
Clearly visible are the dummy gun pod with cameras fitted and the CBLS with cameras fitted on the port outer station/pylon for recording the Missile Launch.
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 14:40
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Thanks everyone, that’s really helpful
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 17:32
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Originally Posted by bonajet View Post
......

This is ZD319 on the first grass strip trials at Boscombe 21 Sep 88. Whilst I'm in the aircraft, I don't have the copyright, which I guess lies with the MoD


Hope that's some use to you.
Great pictures and insight bonajet! I recall seeing some excerpts and cartoons from the AV8A flight manual warning that the harrier was quite capable of "digging it's own grave" on unprepared strips. Any insight on your '88 trials? The grass looks rather undisturbed even with heavy down nozzle. Dig any troughs? Dry surface? Was the picture a landing or STO?
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Old 19th Aug 2022, 04:17
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Hello S89. It was a landing. Funnily enough I don't remember too many ploughing incidents but we were careful to use grass strips that were firm enough. I do recall a couple of slipping off the tin strips in the field in Germany on the GR3/T4s but this was usually when taxiing to the hides from the main metal strip. My guess is that the Marine Corp would have been a bit more aggressive than us in the use of the aircraft on damp ground.
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Old 19th Aug 2022, 12:20
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Memories. I worked at Dunsfold in Flight Test for 11 happy years from 1988 to 1999, starting as an undergrad doing my 6 months sandwich course industry placement.

The GR5 Rough Ground Trials was one of my first projects as an undergrad. Happy days measuring the CBR of the Boscombe grass strip and driving over Depford Downs in a Land Rover for a site survey (while being chased by a Gazelle), and doing the initial trials over a calibrated bump specially laid and surveyed on the side of Rnwy 17/35 at BDN measuring landing gear loads to tune the gear model and predictions before the actual grass phase started. Heinz Frick was the pilot for that phase.

I left to go back for my final year before the Boscombe and Depford Down grass phases started, so didn't see it all the way through. I recall that they also went to the woods and tin strip at Wittering for a ground handling/ compatibility evaluation as well.


4 ship trials, 15 months at Eglin and the VAAC Harrier are other highlights of that wonderful period, before I moved to the US, as happy Dunsfold was winding down in 1999. Plenty of other highlights to add since.

Based on the other comments, I'm sure we all know each other and have worked together over the years, although I can't place real names/ faces to the forum names.

Best Regards to all.
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Old 19th Aug 2022, 15:38
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Originally Posted by bonajet View Post
Hello S89. It was a landing. Funnily enough I don't remember too many ploughing incidents but we were careful to use grass strips that were firm enough. I do recall a couple of slipping off the tin strips in the field in Germany on the GR3/T4s but this was usually when taxiing to the hides from the main metal strip. My guess is that the Marine Corp would have been a bit more aggressive than us in the use of the aircraft on damp ground.
Minimum hardness for a grass strip was CBR (Californian Bearing Ratio) of 2.5 at 6Ē increasing with depth. For smoothness, it was Landrover at 30kts without knocking yourself out or losing your dentures! Minimum speed for landing on grass was 50 kts, which did little damage to the turf and all the crud went behind the intakes. Having said that, we had a US exchange pilot who did a VL completely off the pad during initial night flying and it didnít damage the aircraft at all.

The funniest thing I saw during grass ops was the first take-off from a strip in Senelager, when on nozzle rotation, every vole within a 50yard radius exited their burrows vertically at warp 6.

Amazing what niff-naff the brain retains!

Mog
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Old 19th Aug 2022, 16:11
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I was at Wittering in 1991-2 and all that time we had ZD345 in the hangar on recovery from a nasty bird strike near Valley (IIRC) in 1990; I think it flew again in 1993. It definitely had the SAOEU markings on the side at that time (having been delivered from the factory in Sep 88). I don't know when BD got GR7s - we had just a single one in HAMS (ZD432?) when I was at Wittering. Then we had the Kapton problem in 1991...
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