A more powerful version of the Harrier GR7 made its first flight on Sept 20, when a development GR7A took off from Warton in Lancashire for a flight that lasted just under an hour.
The Harrier GR7A is a more powerful version of the GR7, currently in service with the RAF. It features an upgraded, lower-maintenance Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk 107 engine, which develops an extra 3,000lbs thrust at 300C. This improvement will enable a significant increase in hovering capability in hot climates.
The engine upgrade programme was initiated in December 1999. Rolls Royce were contracted to modify 40 Pegasus Mk105 engines to the Mk107 standard, and BAE Systems to supply sufficient aircraft modification kits to enable 30 aircraft to be upgraded. The combined value of the contracts is worth approximately £150 million and in-service deliveries are planned to commence in December 2003.
The Ministry of Defence stated that they were very happy with progress on the upgrade to GR7A standard and the results of this first test flight.