• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Fate of the British Harrier if the GD Convair Model 200 enters service?

Elan Vital

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Hi everyone,

IRL the US and UK jointly embarked on a complete Harrier redesign as the AV-8B as the US had no V/STOL alternative at the moment. But had the US chosen to finish development of the Convair Model 200 instead of the XVF-12A, and had this worked well enough to enter service, there would be no need for the AV-8B, and thus Harrier GR5 and GR7 wouldn't exist.

From my understanding, before the AV-8B program began the UK was thinking about replacing the wings of their Harriers with a new one. But outside of that, what was the UK considering and what was likely to be done? Were more upgrades for the Harrier, such as better engines or avionics planned? Was the UK likely to start development of an entirely new V/STOL aircraft, or to purchase the Model 200?
 

royabulgaf

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
472
Reaction score
48
There could be room for both the 2nd gen Harrier and Convair 200. It all depends on how much money is available for throwing. The 200 was more in the P 1154 range, a mach 2 fighter in both VTOL and CTOL versions. Maybe if the US guaranteed a certain amount of British built Harriers and maybe a few bucks toward development, while RN agrees agrees to some VTOL buys?
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,927
Reaction score
638
The chief issue is the UK is looking at AST.396 in 1972 and concluding in 1973 that increases in speed or manoeuvrability over the Jaguar and Harrier fleets, are of doubtful value.
But what is needed the ability to operate at night and poor visibility.

So an argument for any variation of Convair 200 would have to centre around the carriage of radar that can greatly facilitate that. But to win the UK over ideally needs licensing and UK content.

Arguably variations of the 200 in CTOL and V/STOL could offer savings in training and support through life compared to separate fleets of Harrier and Jaguar.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,253
Reaction score
1,281
Arguably variations of the 200 in CTOL and V/STOL could offer savings in training and support through life compared to separate fleets of Harrier and Jaguar.
There were CTOL and CV version IIRC. Basically a non-stealthy F-35 in the 70s.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,927
Reaction score
638
Arguably variations of the 200 in CTOL and V/STOL could offer savings in training and support through life compared to separate fleets of Harrier and Jaguar.
There were CTOL and CV version IIRC. Basically a non-stealthy F-35 in the 70s.
Yes indeed.
Though I think the CTOL version has the most potential.
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,787
Reaction score
1,061
The 200 was the best US VTOL design produced to that date, it had some potential, perhaps not quite as effective as Harrier due to the extra hot gas issues and melting decks and holes blasted in tarmac, but it could have worked as well as, say, the Yak 41.
The CTOL version would have been good too but its hard to see it having any impact against the F/A-18 and F-16 programmes.

I still think the AV-8 would have been the USMC's choice, the idea of operating supersonic lift jet VTOLs from amphibious ships was probably pushing things too far. They are quite crowded decks (at the time all they had was Tawaras). Adding new wings and using more composites in the structure and upgrading the Pegasus was a safer low-risk R&D pathway.
The 200 would have been cool, but very niche.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen
Top