Harrier’s Hover Nozzles Look Quite Different At Night
Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane
Harriers are truly one of a kind aircraft. Taking flight for the first time in 1978, these hovering planes redefined what a jet aircraft could do. Capable of V/STOL (vertical or short takeoff and landing), these planes could be inserted into any area without the need of an airstrip. For the United States Marine Corps and Navy, there could be nothing more suitable.
When developed, Harriers had quite an innovative design. Fitted with four vectorable (movable) nozzles, they could be pointed down to create thrust that would lift them straight up in the air. Two of the nozzles were placed in the front of the engine, and two in the rear where the air exits almost directly from the turbonfan engine. This is where this video comes in.
Although seemingly uneventful, the nozzles heat up quite a lot. So much so as a matter of fact that when filming a Harrier landing at night, the only thing you can see are the front nozzles which are hot. Like…red hot.
Although a spectacular feat of engineering, times have changed. With the development of the F-35 Lightning II, Harriers will be phased out when the F-35B variants capable of STOVL become fully operational. These fifth-generation fighters have a whole new system of lift in place which you can watch after the Harrier video.