The harrier family, and some suggestions

I’ve got a few suggestions for the Harrier/AV-8 series, many people love these, and many people hate them, I personally find a high interest in them. The ability to be a strike/fighter and a “helicopter/VTOL” attack ship is extremely appealing. But a few things that I don’t like that aren’t implemented in the game.

  1. Exterior fuel tanks.

For all Harrier/AV-8 variants have exterior fuel tanks, or drop tanks as most know them. All of them have a drop tank of some form or shape. The AV-8A/GR.1’s tanks were discontinued on the next variant for a more economical size and aerodynamic shape. The AV-8C/GR.3 have a better size and lowered drag to them. The AV-8B/AV-8B+/Harrier II/GR.7-9 have a much larger fuel tank than the last variant, yet still have decreased drag by the shape of them. Finally, the FRS.1 or Sea Harrier, had small/medium “asbestos” fuel tanks. This would truly only be useful in Air SB, and on the GR.7-9/AB-8B because of them having the extra pylon.

  1. Hover mode not being useful/useless.

Hover mode honestly needs to be removed, when trying to move in slow and hover/fly like a helicopter and use it as a gunship, like commonly shown in pop culture, the hover mode just completely keeps you from doing that. I feel it needs to be removed, as it really has no use in the game at all.

Fuel tanks would be great, but even in a gamemode like SB, where range is a factor, you just dont use enough fuel to need it, they are very effecient aircraft that not only do you not need sit at max thrust to reach max speed, but you cant due to overheating. I rarely deploy with more than 30 mins, and sometimes only 20 and that is plenty, I can take double of that internally. Dont get me wrong, every aircraf that can get fuel tanks should, but its just a lower priority. Other aircraft need them more, Even the Phantoms that recently got their inline tanks could and should still get their wing based tanks and that would be a bigger upgrade than the tanks on the harriers.

Hover mode works for Harriers? I thought that was Helis only? I tried it ages ago and it did nothing. So unless that has changed, are you talking about just manually keeping it in the hover?

As for using the Harrier like a “Gunship” that is total fiction and as far as I am aware, was NEVER done IRL. The Harrier couldnt do that. It could only hover with less than 2200-3000lb of fuel onboard. less with weapons. The Hover was almost always only used for landing the Harrier at the end of a sortie.

The Vectored thrust can be used for tactics like “VIFFing” (Vector in forward flight) to increase your turn rate, and you can slam the nozzles to the breaking stop (100% in game) and slow down rapidly, but it was never used as a “gunship”

That all being said. The main feature that would benefit the harriers that has not been modeled yet, is the ability to fuel dump. Being able to dump your fuel on demand, would increase your ability to hover if needed (which is what Harrier pilots had to do when landing on something like a carrier) as the harrier will fall out of sky if you try to hover in game with more than about 15 minutes of fuel and could be used tactically I suppose to reduce weight in a dogfight

(F-111 pilots would love it for the jet of flame)

Fuel tanks would allow for a kind of “fuel dump” by taking min fuel and tanks. But i’d prefer the proper system eventually

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Yeah, the fuel is the restricting factor for vertical take off. As for the “gunship” ability, like I said, it’s a pop culture thing. If you look at any retro games, just as a most likely well known example, being the “Harrier Jump Jet” game in 1998 by MicroProse, where they commonly show in the intro it’s VTOL capability used in combat as, what I would call, a gunship style of use, there’s probably a better term for that, but it’s not a total VTOL use. Or just a low and slow, with a 45°-60° nozzle angle with high angle flaps and airbrake for ease of targeting with the guns on a ground target. That’s what I was also talking about, I recently was messing around with the FRS.1 in test drive, and if you didn’t throttle down below a certain threshold it would hover with the nose up where you couldn’t target the guns.

Call of Duty Modern warfare has a killstreak with a hovering “Harrier”. Fairly certain there was a “scene” in the campaign with hovering Harriers too at some point.

But yeah, not entirely realistic. Slamming the nozzles forward, whilst doing a barrel was a real tactic (talked about in the Book “harrier: How to be a fighter pilot” by Paul Tremmeling.) Doing that maneuver should result in the enemy aircraft shooting out in front of you for a Aim-9 lock.

In game, I’ve taken a few aircraft by going near enough into a hover, but recovering from that position, especially with plenty of fuel on board is extremely tricky (easier though with the higher thrust in the Gr7) and i’ve never done it for ground attack in an aircraft like the Gr7, but if in a dogfight and having bled a lot of speed, using 30% nozzle and flaps means I can stay fairly nimble at speeds that most aircraft would have stalled, punished more than a few VIggens in the Harrier Gr1 using that tactic last year.

I’ve heard about these maneuvers being used in, correct me if I’m wrong, the Balkans fighting against Mirage 2000 aircraft. When they would eventually run out of flares, they would use these to trick the missile with the heat blast as well.

Yeah, when defending from a missile, the harrier could angle the thrust, turning a rear aspect shot against them into what is essentially a side aspect shot. For earlier missiles, this might have been enough to allow the missile to be evaded (along with hard turns of course)

Yes, and also the because of the harriers wing placement causes a slightly “off center” rotation, which caused a bit of a heat effect causing the missles to “over rotate” or spiral and cause it to lose track when approaching. I don’t have any personal experience with these, but I have heard things about them being used in tandem with the IFTV and slamming the nozzles where both ways to distract and throw off IR missiles.

Yep, even in more modern aircraft with larger numbers of CMs, I think it was standard practice to angle nozzles to defend against an incoming missile. Though I think the Gr7/9s and FA2s only did it training, no idea about hte Italians, American or Spanish Harriers.

I’ve got a few books on my reading list about it, but I think it was a common tactic used by Sea Harriers in the Falklands. Gave them a major edge over the “superior” aircraft they were facing.

These are great threads with people far far more knowledgable than I am, good place to ask questions if you have any

Maybe that was the area I was thinking of. I’m currently trying to 3D print a harrier of my own. I’m also working on a Sea Harrier 1/48th. Also, I don’t remember if it was Mirage 2000’s, but I do remember that it was a French jet. Probably the Mirage III though.

In true lies aswell uses the harrier as a heil basically

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I dont know much about the Balkans, but Argentina did operate a few French aircraft like the Super Eternard and Mirage III. Though they mostly used Israeli Daggers (which is a modified version of the Mirage 5)

Yeah, thinking about it, I believe it was the Falklands I was thinking about, but I’d have to find what I read and saw to find it again.

They did see combat in both, but the Sea Harrier over the Falklands was the more infamous encounter

Never shot down in A2A combat makes infamous

Yep, only from Rolands for the Sea Harrier and MANPADs for Harrier Gr3 losses.

Yeah, honestly, another thing that probably won’t come anytime soon, and also yet again, only really useful in air SB, and then and only then, when loitering it would be useful, but also, war thunder doesn’t give a real life feel to the ground strike abilities of these craft. They are precision tools, finely tuned to be perfect in every aspect possible, but the play style is so arcade still, I don’t want to be a “that guy” but I feel they could pull a bit of the realism in ground strikes like from DCS. Precision strikes on targets, not even using a, for this instant I’m just going to say unguided rockets, that you would realistically be able to KO even a Tank with one or two salvo of rockets.

Im not sure if there was any A2A combat in the Balkans

I’m fairly sure that the fueling probes were added on the Sea Harriers later, I believe in the late 80’s. I do think it was the Falklands war I was thinking about though. I remember that it was Argentine Mirage’s as well, so it is the Falklands war.

Yeah, though I dont feel that is a Harrier Specific problem. I play a lot of mud movers. Jag, Tornado and Harriers. The ground combat can feel a little unrewarding. THe controls are just too simple and there isnt enough control, especially with systems like CCRP not working with GBUs.

Though I feel the bigger problem in SB is the lack of targets, the battlefields and convoys are just boring to attack sometimes. No effort required for things like finding the target, or landing the hit. I’ve always wanted objectives like taking out a HVT. Think a jeep driving around quite quickly, somewhere in enemy territory. You’d only be given a grid reference but the target would follow roads. So you#d have to find the target using a TPOD and then deploy an attack. ¬

An additional Idea i’ve seen suggested is surgical strikes. Taking out a building in a built up area but have it surrounded by friendly “buildings”. So you have to nail the target perfect with a guided weapon.

I have this thread going for ideas for improvments for SB

I think they could always be fitted, but were optional, only used for long transits. Otherwise htey just increased drag and restricted vision. Possibly used during air policing missions like in the Bosnian war with fuel tankers about. But I dont know much about that conflict.

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Also adding mission types that are better suited for Rocket Pods could be great too, those weapons just have little value in SB I find. Though I dont think we should have add infantry based CAS as that would be “problematic” but we could see other targets that might be ideal for strafing style attacks. Maybe depots of some description

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