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Sea Harrier FRS Mk.1

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United Kingdom

Model Box

Date Deployed: 1975
Sea Harrier FRS Mk.1 - Royal Navy FAA No. 888 NAS
Manufacturer: Hawker Siddeley Harrier
Model from Tamiya Kit # 61026 Built on 07-18-2006        1/48 scale

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   The RAF's Hawker-Siddeley Harrier GR1s had entered service in April 1969. In 1975 the Royal Navy ordered 34 Sea Harrier FRS.1s, the first of which entered service in 1978. In total 57 FRS.1s were delivered between 1978 and 1988. The FRS.1 was largely based on the Harrier GR.3, but was modified to have a "bubble" canopy (to give better visiblity for the air defence role) and an extended forward fuselage to accommodate the Ferranti (now BAE Systems) Blue Fox radar. Furthermore it was manufactured in alloys better suited for a maritime environment.
   The Sea Harriers and HMS Invincible, commissioned on July 11, 1980, were operational during the Falklands War of 1982. Harriers also operated from the flagship of the taskforce, HMS Hermes. The Sea Harriers were to operate in their primary air defence role, with the RAF Harrier GR.3 expected to act as attrition replacements for the Sea Harriers. However the Sea Harriers claimed 21 kills with no losses in air combat (two were lost to ground fire and four in accidents) and the RAF fleet was free to operate in their primary ground attack role. 
   The dominance of the Sea Harrier over the theoretically equal or superior Argentinian Mirage III and Mirage V Daggers surprised many. It should be noted that the disparity in figures, with the Argentinian fighters failing to shoot down a single Sea Harrier, can arguably be attributed to a number of factors. The Argentinian planes were operating at the extent of their range with little fuel for dogfights while the Sea Harrier possessed extreme manouverability and employed the latest AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles and the almost unparalleled (at the time) Blue Fox radar.  Additionally, the British pilots had unarguably superior combat air training and were frequently provided with fighter 
control by warships in San Carlos Water.

 

          

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