Profiles and Logos
The Hawker P.1127 Kestrel was an experimental aircraft that led to the development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier the first operational vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) jet fighter-bomber. In the 1950’s a number of companies developed designs for V/STOL aircraft to reduce the requirements for vulnerable runways, in the United kingdom Hawkers began the development of the P1127 in 1957 taking advantage of the development of the Bristol Siddeley Pegasus vectored-thrust engine.
The first prototype XP831 was delivered to RAF Dunsold on 15th July 1960 where static engine tested started on 31st August. The first tethered flight was on 21st October 1960 by XP831 and the first untethered hover took place on 19th November 1960. The first conventional flight was on 13th February 1961 with the first transition from vertical to conventional to vertical flight taking place on 8th September 1961.
Four initial P1127 aircraft were built with three crashing during development flying. In May 1962 nine improved Kestrel FGA.1 aircraft were ordered for development and testing by the Tri-partite Evaluation Squadron (TES) based at RAF West Raynham. The TES was made up of pilots from Britain, Germany and the United States. Subsequently six aircraft were transferred to the United States for evaluation by the Army, Air Force and Navy.