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21-Jun-2016 17:13

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A more advanced model, designated as the Harrier GR7, was developed primarily to add a night-time operational capability and avionics improvements Some GR7s were equipped with uprated Rolls-Royce Pegasus engines, correspondingly redesignated as GR7A; these Harriers had significantly improved takeoff and landing capabilities, and could carry greater payloads.

A further major upgrade programme from the GR7 standard was conducted; the Harrier GR9.

A lack of government backing for developing the necessary engine of the new aircraft, the Pegasus 15, led Hawker to withdraw from this project in 1975.

As the Harrier II had a significantly greater range and survivability than the preceding Hawker Siddeley Harrier it was derived from, a new emphasis was placed on interdiction operations.The GR9 was developed via the Joint Update and Maintenance Programme (JUMP), which significantly upgraded the Harrier fleet's avionics, communications systems, and weapons capabilities during scheduled periods of maintenance in an incremental manner.The first of these increments started with software upgrades to the communications, ground proximity warning and navigation systems, followed by the integration of the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile.The Sea Harrier had a radar since its introduction and the USMC later equipped their AV-8B Harriers with a radar as part of the AV-8B upgrade; however the RAF chose not to install a radar on their airframes.

When the Sea Harrier was retired, it was suggested that its Blue Vixen radar could be transferred to the Harrier IIs.

In 1995, hostilities between ethnic Croatians and Serbians in the aftermath of the collapse of Yugoslavia led to the dispatch of NATO forces to the region as a deterrent to further escelations in violence; a squadron of Harrier IIs was stationed at Gioia del Colle Air Base in Italy, relieving an earlier deployment of RAF SEPECAT Jaguars.

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