Hawker P.1127

During the postwar period aircraft manufacturers around the world wrestled with t he knotty problem of vertical
take-off and landing (VTOL). The usefulness of a winged aircraft that could operate from a car park or a forest clearing was obvious, but how to design one was certainly not.
An extraordinary variety of configurations was tested – including a number of “tail-sitters” – but none proved satisfactory.
In 1957 Ralph Hooper at Hawker Aircraft began work on an aircraft to exploit “vectored thrust”, an idea originally conceived by frenchman Michel Wlbault and developed by the Bristol Engine Company.
Designated P1127, the Hawker aircraft had four rotable nozzles that directed the efflux of its Pegasus jet engine vertically during take-off and landing, but horizontally in flight. The aircraft had a one-piece, high-set swept wing and swept conventional tail surfaces. The engine was located amidships, with fore and aft nozzles protruding on the
fuselage flanks.
The first of six P.1127 prototypes made its initial tentative hover in October I960, and by September 1961 two P.1127s were able to complete transitions from vertical to horizontal flight and vice versa.
The enigma of vertical take off and landing had finally been solved. The way was now open to development of the famous Harrier “Jump Jet”, one of the most successful of modern military aircraft.

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