Sea Harrier FRS.1
|This page is about the squadron British strike aircraft Sea Harrier FRS.1. For the regular version, see Sea Harrier FRS.1 (e). For other versions, see Harrier (Family).
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 was a specialised version of the Hawker-Siddeley Harrier, designed for naval operations. It joined the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom in 1978 and gained fame for its role in the Falklands War in 1982, where it defended the fleet from enemy aircraft attacks with great success. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Sea Harriers shot down 21 Argentinean planes without losing any of their own, a remarkable accomplishment that demonstrated the superiority of the aircraft. In a subsequent upgrade, the Sea Harrier FRS.1 was equipped with a 2x2 Aim-9L configuration, further enhancing its air combat capabilities.
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 was introduced in Update "Apex Predators". The Sea Harrier is available as an option for rank VII through unlock as a squadron vehicle. It can present experienced pilots familiar with the GR.1/3 with a further improvement in the form of deadly AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles and a unique position since it is one of the few Harrier versions in game equipped with a radar. Ultimately, the Sea Harrier builds on the strengths of the Harrier GR.3 with improved air-to-air combat capability. However this comes at a cost of being heavier and slightly more sluggish than its contemporaries. All in all, the Sea Harrier can be a powerful opponent in the hands of a veteran pilot and provides an almost preparatory experience for the Harrier GR.7.
The Sea Harrier possesses a flight performance very similar to the aircraft it is derived from, the Harrier GR.3, possessing the same Pegasus 103 engine. It is worth noting however that the Sea Harrier carries additional weight in the form of the radar equipment within its nose and an altered aerodynamic profile to accommodate this.
Comparatively, the Sea Harrier turns more sluggishly than contemporary Harriers, but it still maintains the exceptional thrust and climb rate prevalent among its kind, able to climb up to lofty heights where it can maximise the range potential of its all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles. It comes with the same thrust vectoring of other Harriers allowing the aircraft to pull tighter turns and make split second adjustments at the cost of speed and energy.
| Max speed
(km/h at 0 m - sea level)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|Wing loading (full fuel)
|Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk.104
|Mass with fuel (no weapons load)
|Vectored-thrust low-bypass turbofan
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)
| 9,150 kgf
| 9,709 kgf
Survivability and armour
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 possesses no armour. All of its internal modules are arrayed in close proximity within the fuselage centred around the engine.
The Sea Harrier is not a sturdy aircraft and can be destroyed fairly easily owing to its compact assembly. However, if the damage taken is not enough to outright down the Harrier such as damage to flaps or wings, the Harrier can in an emergency leverage its thrust vectoring to compensate for lift lost from wing damage and limp back to the airfield for repair at the cost of being exceptionally vulnerable to enemy aircraft on the way.
Modifications and economy
As with most aircraft at the tier the Sea Harrier competes at, it is advisable to prioritise unlocking the Flare/Chaff upgrade to greatly increase survivability of the Harrier against very commonly encountered IR missiles. After which, pursuing the unlock of the Sea Harrier's own AIM-9L Sidewinder capability is highly recommended as this will encompass most of the jet's offensive capability when dealing with other aircraft.
A further advantageous unlock would be to acquire the 1,000 lb bombs which can be grabbed while prioritising the unlock of the AIM-9L's: these will allow unlocking further upgrades and RP by bombing bases before turning to engage enemy aircraft. Once sufficient weapons and countermeasures are unlocked then it is recommended to focus entirely on flight performance upgrades to make the most of the superb climbing and thrust of the Pegasus engine.
Flares/Chaff -> 1000 LB bombs -> New Boosters -> AIM-9L -> Wings Repair -> Engine -> Compressor -> Cover -> Airframe -> Fuselage Repair -> G-suit > EFS -> Offensive 30 mm belts -> New 30 mm cannons -> Matra No7 Mk 1 rockets
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 is armed with:
- A choice between two presets:
- 2 x 30 mm ADEN Mk.4 cannons, belly-mounted (130 rpg = 260 total)
- 2 x 30 mm ADEN Mk.4 cannons + 60 x countermeasures
The 30 mm ADEN cannons are identical to those found on the GR.1/3 and the AV-8A/C found in the USA tech tree. These are very hard-hitting guns that can bring down an enemy aircraft with even glancing blows. However on the Harrier family they are often located low on the belly in an awkward spot, possess low muzzle velocity, and often very limited ammunition. They can however be used to great effect on larger aircraft such as A-10s or Su-25s when a quick and snappy burst needs to do fatal damage.
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 bombs
|1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 No.117 bombs
|AIM-9G Sidewinder missiles
|AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles
|Default weapon presets
AIM-9G Sidewinder missile:
The AIM-9G is a potent missile but may begin to feel a little lacklustre at the BR the Sea Harrier operates at. The stock missile option for the Sea Harrier and only able to hold 2 of them on wing-mounted pylons. 9Gs are rear-aspect only but come with a very large seeker cage, 18G of maximum overload and the option for radar-slaving which the Sea Harrier is uniquely able to capitalise on amongst its brethren Harriers. When employing these with the Harrier in particular, it is advisable to deploy them from an altitude advantage on unaware enemies.
AIM-9L Sidewinder missile:
The AIM-9L is a further upgrade of the Sidewinder missile. It retains the radar-slaving capability of the 9G but with a much smaller seeker cage. However instead the 9L now enables the Sidewinder to have all-aspect functionality and up to 30G of maximum overload. This greatly enhances the killing and lock-acquiring capability of the missile with the added benefit of some flare-resistance which will be noticeable especially when firing from a rear-aspect on an aircraft with an afterburner. A potent missile which can be used more widely than the 9G with particular regards to the Sea Harrier, but again is very strong capitalising on the climb rate of the sea Harrier to be deployed almost in a 'sniping' way.
1000 LB Mk.13 bomb:
A common bomb found on British aircraft, the Mk.13 can be employed with the onboard CCIP to be accurately delivered and the Harrier can carry a maximum of 5 alongside its AAM loadout of choice. A full payload of these bombs can destroy a single base in Air battles and are sufficient to destroy enemy armoured vehicles in ground battles with a TNT explosive equivalent of 296.48 kg per bomb.
The Harrier can carry up to 72 RP rockets, these rockets are simple and can be aimed using the onboard CCIP. Each rocket is equivalent to 691.2 g of TNT and will require multiple hits to damage light vehicles to the point of destruction. However with only 10 mm of penetration these rockets will see little to no effect on MBTs or more thoroughly armoured vehicles.
Usage in battles
Although the Pegasus engine can always ensure the >1.0 P/W ratio of Sea Harrier FRS.1, due to the heavy airframe and the engine, Sea Harrier can still be described as a "flying brick" and nowhere close to what it's named after - harriers. But planning for sudden strikes from high-altitude will make its life mush easier, the overall payload is still sufficient for CAS before players researched more dedicated and competent attackers in British tech tree.
Air - Bricks Fly When Thrust is Enough
One major advantage of Harrier family is their oddly high P/W ratio for jets due to the need to vertical take-off (to compensate for its weight), players can jump into the skies much faster than their supersonic counterparts thanks to the Pegasus engine; this is also the most crucial point of flying Harriers as launching sudden strikes on unaware enemies is the most common way to earn clean victories against enemy jets. As mentioned, due to the unpleasing maneuverability that can be referred as a brick and lacks of radar-homing missiles, heading straight for the battlefield is never a good idea even for players opting for ground-attacking payloads for bases. The Pegasus engine heats up very quickly from idle temperature at 420°C to overheating at 710°C within 15 seconds, the limited WEP also hinders its flying capability as abusing it at climbing phase also means there will not be any spare thrust for an escape in battlefield, therefore putting the throttle at around 80% is more than enough to maintain positive climb at acceptable overheating rate. When players hit the altitude at around 5-8 km (depending on the terrain and setting of map; seaside maps and plateau maps can have up to 3000 m AMSL differences) and no enemy interceptors with SARH missiles hunting players down, the Sea Harrier now becomes the overwatcher of team; be sure to pick careless enemy players, especially when using AIM-9G at grinding stages - always put enemies within 3 km radius to utilize its overload and thrust, be sure to turn off the radar for maximum concealment. When having AIM-9L as its A-A armament, it gives much more flexibility to the jet and enables attacks against enemies from any aspects, turning it into a somewhat competent interceptor.
But players will have to remember the brick-like flight performance, due to the heavy and easily overheating engine, any dogfight will eventually turn down on Harriers and enemy fighters have an edge on players, especially at low altitude when players need the extra thrust to get back to altitude or exiting the battlefield; it will be a good idea to consider for letting enemy jets overshoot players, this tactic applies to other Harriers as well - when enemy eventually overshoots, the 30 mm ADEN autocannon will make sure enemy jets shatter in the sky. Utilizing the thrust-vectoring nozzles is also a viable but risky move, while it can vastly decrease its turn radius, a jet slowing down to propeller-like speed will become easy prey for other enemy jets even with their guns; therefore avoid dogfight at all cost unless in dire situation - even subsonic attackers can out-turn Sea Harrier.
Ground - An Early Alternative
When players have the need for an attacker with slightly better A-A payload while leaving some payload for enemy ground targets, FRS.1 is still a viable alternative thanks to its AIM-9L once researched, and the advanced RWR can warn players on enemy radar sources with all-aspect warnings to tell where the source from. Due to lacking any guided A2G weaponry, low-altitude flyovers against enemy targets can be said as the safest approach without concerning SAMs as they would likely lack the reaction time to engage players after bombing runs. If players opt for top-down assaults whatsoever, always consider for leaving enough altitude to disengage as FRS.1 needs rather high AoA to recover. In most cases, the 1000 lbs bombs are your best friend since the RP rocket pod is more of aesthetic purpose than hitting armored vehicles, it doesn't have sufficient explosives to take out open-top vehicles or SPAAs so always fire in multiple salvos to ensure a destruction.
Pros and cons
- Retains the great climb rate and thrust of earlier Harrier's
- Addition of a search radar that can be used to slave the AAM's the Harrier can bring for off-angle shots
- 4 powerful AIM-9L all-aspect missiles
- Modern RWR with ability to detect track, launch and TWS modes
- Subsonic in a bracket mostly populated with supersonic aircraft
- Sluggish in its turn radius
- Engines will overheat if run for too long at 100% throttle, management is required
- Limited WEP
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier "Jump-Jet" has been a successful attack aircraft for multiple users, most notably the RAF themselves as the quick-response aircrafts against possible Warsaw-Pact assaults in case of the destruction of NATO airbases as the Harrier could utilize its V/STOL capability to mobilize and attack enemy targets before the reinforcements arrived. After its commission in 1969, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm also need the Harrier as they opted for a ski-jump style flight deck instead of conventional designs with catapult; the resulting jet was the Sea Harrier FRS.1 for the need to intercept Soviet AShM guidance aircrafts, 24 jets were ordered to the then-Hawker Siddeley, but the first prototype jet arrived in April 1978 after the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977 and built by the merged British Aerospace, only to be declared operational by FAA in 1981. The jet achieved 20 recorded victories over Argentine aircrafts with no losses during the Falkland War and were saw action in the Bosnian War.
These jets would be upgraded to F(A).2 standard with Blue Vixen PD radar and the capability of launch AIM-120 in 1988; the Sea Harrier retired from FAA in 2006 and was replaced by more advanced Sea Harrier II, while Indian Navy acquired some of these jets and used until 2016.
Hawker Siddeley Harrier
British Aerospace (BAe) Sea Harrier and Sea Harrier II
|British Aerospace plc
|Harrier GR.7 · Sea Harrier FRS.1 (e) · Sea Harrier FRS.1
|British Aircraft Corporation · Hawker Aircraft Limited
|Britain jet aircraft
|Buccaneer S.1 · Buccaneer S.2
|Harrier GR.7 · Sea Harrier FRS.1 (e) · Sea Harrier FRS.1
|British Aircraft Corporation
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|Meteor F Mk 3 · Sea Meteor F Mk 3 · Meteor F Mk 4 G.41F · Meteor F Mk 4 G.41G · Meteor F Mk 8 G.41K · Meteor F Mk.8 Reaper
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|Vampire FB 5 · Venom FB.4 · Sea Venom FAW 20 · Sea Vixen F.A.W. Mk.2
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|Jaguar GR.1 · Jaguar GR.1A
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|Phantom FG.1 (USA) · Phantom FGR.2 (USA) · F-4J(UK) Phantom II (USA)
|Me 262 A-1a/U1 · ◌Hunter F.58
|Firecrest · Sea Harrier FRS.1