The Anonymous Widower

An American View Of The Harrier

In The Times today there is the obituary of Ralph Hooper.

This is the sub-heading.

Aeronautical engineer who designed the revolutionary Harrier jump jet and the versatile Hawk used by the Red Arrows.

I have two tales that must be told.

An Artemis Users Conference In Denver

The project management software I wrote; Artemis, was used by both British Aerospace and McDonnell Douglas to build Harriers.

One day, soon after the end of the Falklands War, I was at an Artemis Users Conference in Denver and got chatting to three users.

  • The Project Manager for the US Harrier.
  • A Senior Project Manager for Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
  • A banker from a famous New York Bank.

Because of the times and two project managers working on military projects, the conversation naturally turned to the recent war.

The banker, then said something like. “What you need is a big flat-top with a squadron of Tomcats, to blow the Argies out of the sky.”

Tomcats were top-of-the-range US naval fighter jets.

Whereupon, the McDonnell Douglas guy said. “We’re getting the weather reports! There’s no other aircraft, that can take-off and land in the terrible conditions!”

An A-10 Pilot’s View Of The Harrier

In the 1970s, I used to drink in the Clopton Crown pub. Sometimes, I got drinking with one of the USAF A10 Thunderbolt II pilots from Bentwaters.

As I was a pilot myself at the time, we had quite a few chats about flying.

One night he told how two A10s would fly as a pair, at a fairly low altitude.

To protect themselves from MiGs, one would break away and do a steep turn through a complete circle, scanning the horizon for any threat.

Then the other would do the movement the other way.

He felt that in hostile combat, that they would give any opposition fighter a real kicking, as the attacker would have to keep out of the way of two GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm Gatling-style autocannons, firing large numbers of heavy shells.

He also told me, that he had flown A-10s up against other aircraft on a simulator. He just said, he found AV-8As, as the US called Harriers, very difficult to beat.





January 24, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , ,

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