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-   -   Harrier T12A - specops bus ? (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/548286-harrier-t12a-specops-bus.html)

Fonsini 26th Sep 2014 18:21

Harrier T12A - specops bus ?
I like many are still sniffling over the loss of Joint Harrier - I really don't care if the F-35B can pickle a JDAM down a nun's cleavage in a hurricane while simultaneously turning an entire squadron of Su-35s into spare parts, because it's not the Harrier, and it doesn't have 2 seats, which leads me to ask....

The ultimate 2 seat evolution of that incredible little fighter was of course the T12A which found itself wrapped around the uprated Pegasus 107 and I recall reading one of those Tom Clancy style techno thrillers many years ago where a 2 seat Harrier was used as a covert insertion platform, flying deep inside enemy territory to deliver an operative in some remote location and then VTOLing out to return with an empty seat.

Pure fiction of course but as I recall the inboards both had the big tanks, while the outboards carried pods holding personal weapons, supplies, and other 007 type gear for use by the operative.

All this got me to wondering how feasible this actually is in the real world, and what a T12A could do in that configuration. Exactly how much weight could it lift in VTOL for the subsequent pick up, and what would the practical unrefueled range be with a VTOL drop off/pick up and flight back.

I know it's strictly Boy's Own stuff but I thought I'd ask the guys who would know - so is it silly fiction or a practical option for specops delivery ?

PS - on the off-chance that this has actually been done, let's not go there, but I do have IM ;)

unmanned_droid 26th Sep 2014 18:28

Well, I have pics of both a harrier (prob 5) and an apache with a personnel carrying pod prototype attached.

barnstormer1968 26th Sep 2014 18:35

Me too :)



Pontius Navigator 26th Sep 2014 20:01

Remember the BOAC Mosquitoes.

Fox3WheresMyBanana 26th Sep 2014 20:05

This was posted on YouTube last year

Good ol' ZB602 ;)

A proper bona mate will be along shortly to remind us who was flying it that evening........

chiglet 26th Sep 2014 20:19

Two seat a/s Harrier was to transport Jack Ryan from USS? to HMS?
My brian has just deed....
Book was Hunt for Red October

Typhoon93 26th Sep 2014 20:24

I miss the Harrier too.

When at an air show, after the end of the Harrier's display, seeing the pilot drop the nose towards the crowd as a final salute before either landing the aircraft or moving off to another display was something special for me and I won't ever forget it. It's just the little things that stay with you. Of course I won't forget the history of a little 'slow' Harrier sending big fire breathing jets to the scrap yard in the Falklands, neither will I forget seeing the videos of Harriers being scrambled to support troops on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the bow/salute to the crowd was my highlight.

orca 26th Sep 2014 20:26


If you assume this would require a vertical take off, which it might not:

From memory an average 107, on an average day with tanks and ASW - but nothing else would give you a VTO of siro three thousand pounds of fluids (to include 500 pounds of water). So you would have siro 2000 pounds above MLA or 1300 before you needed to consider landing.

From memory that would give you 10 or so minutes at low level at 420 kts, so I'm going to go for 'about 70nm'.

However, I do recall the T12A had significant CoG limitations which were complex and would probably have impacted your ability to VL, VTO, transit and then VL again...one of those may well have been out of limits.

MAINJAFAD 26th Sep 2014 20:29


JFK (carrier) to Invincible


The book was by Craig Thomas (Firefox) and was called 'Sea Leopard'. It involved an insertion of an American CIA / US Navy agent into the northern Soviet Union by a RAF Harrier T2 / T4 with the agent's kit in baggage pods. Mission was STO from Wittering, Tanker support all the way up to north Norway, Short Low level over the Soviet border VL, VTO, short low level back over the border and either tanker on the way back or land in Norway.

Tay Cough 26th Sep 2014 20:49

Great idea. One small detail which may have been overlooked.....

It could be a bit quieter. :oh:

Fonsini 26th Sep 2014 21:49

Yes - Sea Leopard, great memory,

So I guess this concept wasn't entirely fiction by the sounds of things, and thanks Orca - great technical info on the T12A.

WhiteOvies 26th Sep 2014 22:04

The original requirement for T-12A was to allow the T-12 to have a decent safety margin of thrust on a hot, Wittering summer day. There were concerns with the T-10s hover performance so the study was done as to whether it was worth putting a Pegasus 107 (of which we only had limited numbers) into a T-12 rather than a 9A for Afghanistan.

I seem to remember seeing pictures of the personnel pod on Navy News, attached to a Sea Harrier. It looked rather snug.

For more fictional Harrier exploits James Bond flies one in the novel Win, Lose or Die by John Gardner.

unmanned_droid 27th Sep 2014 00:14

Excellent, saves me searching my hard drive for them! 👍

pmills575 27th Sep 2014 06:57

The Pod shown in the above pictures still exists, it's on display at Gatwick Aviation Museum!


ShotOne 27th Sep 2014 07:19

At risk of this being a daft question, why is the "door" at the front.? This necessitates the aircraft coming to full hover while brave passenger exits (by parachute?), very much increasing the risk. Surely if it was at the rear, the aircraft could maintain some forward speed. Also if the door/hatch didn't fully close, this would surely be a deal-breaker for return flight. Or was the plan to jettison entire pod...in which case wouldn't that blow the "covert" part of the insertion?

orca 27th Sep 2014 07:41

I had always assumed that this (to me) non starter relied upon you landing at both ends of the mission. I had also assumed it was for extraction in extremis vice the orderly deployment of the passenger.

Hempy 27th Sep 2014 08:22

The Apache pod was probably a response to the 'Flight of the Phoenix' in Helmand in '07. I understand they open at both ends.

Would have been handy..


ShotOne 27th Sep 2014 08:48

Orca, clearly someone didn't think it a non-starter as they spent lots of our money building it. But a requirement to land deep in enemy territory would surely have made it so, greatly increasing the risk, limiting the range and wiping out any covert element?

unmanned_droid 27th Sep 2014 10:36

Shot one...

Yes, the door at the back would probably have been better from a 'dropping' point of view. Static line hook up on the hard point and then door open and pitch up. Sort of toss bombing. Could work and you'd probably find plenty of takers within that community who'd do it for the giggles alone.

Perhaps the plan was to arrive at full speed and come to a hover stop. The front door being open, the occupant would superman his way in to the field. Now thats how you arrive in style gents!

Lima Juliet 27th Sep 2014 11:16

This is the original concept of the original AVPRO EXINT pod (EXINT = extract/insert). It was offered up for the Apache as well.




And then there is the F35B fit if we ever get them!!!


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