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Hawker Harrier prototype at A &AEE
Role Torpedo Bomber
Manufacturer Hawker Aircraft Limited
Designer Sydney Camm
First flight February 1927
Status Prototype
Number built One

The Hawker Harrier was an experimental biplane torpedo bomber aircraft built by Hawker Aircraft to a specification issued in the 1920s for the RAF.


In 1925, the British Air Ministry laid down specifications for a high altitude bomber to replace the Hawker Horsley and for a coastal torpedo bomber (Specifications 23/25 and 24/25). As these specifications were similar, the Air Ministry announced that a single competition would be held to study aircraft submitted for both specifications.[1]

Sydney Camm of Hawker Aircraft designed the Harrier to meet the requirements of Specification 23/25, with the prototype (J8325) first flying in February 1927, the first of the competitors to the two specifications to fly.[1] The Harrier was a two seat biplane with single bay wings powered by a geared Bristol Jupiter VIII radial engine. It was armed with one .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun and one .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun carrying a maximum of 1,000 lb (454 kg) of bombs.[2]

The prototype Harrier was tested at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A & AEE) at Martlesham Heath in November 1927, where, while it met the requirements of Specification 23/25 and had satisfactory handling, the geared engine meant that it was underpowered,[2] and it had an inferior bombload to the Hawker Horsley, the aircraft it was meant to replace.[1] It was therefore modified to carry a torpedo. On testing the modified aircraft, however, it was found to still be underpowered, being incapable of taking off with torpedo, gunner and a full fuel load.[1] It was therefore not considered further, the competition ultimately being won by the Vickers Vildebeest.[3]

The prototype was used by Bristol as an engine testbed, flying with the 870 hp (649 kW) Bristol Hydra and the 495 hp (369 kW) Bristol Orion engines.[1]

Specifications (Harrier, as bomber)

Data from Mason, The British Bomber since 1914 [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 29 ft 7 in (9.02 m)
  • Wingspan: 46 ft 3 in (14.10 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 4 in (4.07 m)
  • Wing area: 497 ft² (46.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,278 lb (1,490 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,656 lb (2,561 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Jupiter VIII nine cylinder radial engine, 583 hp (435 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 117 kn (135 mph, 217 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
  • Wing loading: 11.4 lb/ft² (55.4 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.103 hp/lb (0.170 kW/kg)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3050 m): 18 min 30 sec


  • Guns: 1 × forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers gun and 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun on Scarff ring in rear cockpit.
  • Bombs: either 1 × torpedo or 1,000 lb bombs

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mason 1994, p.193.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lewis 1980, p.162.
  3. Mason 1994, p.200.
  • Lewis, Peter (1980). The British Bomber since 1914 (Third ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-30265-6. 
  • Mason, Francis K (1994). The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0-85177-861-5. 

External links

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