Aviation -- and in the United States a modified version of the British Harrier "jump-jet" fighter plane has flow for the firs time.
GV YAV-8B Harrier aircraft on McDonnell Douglas flight ramp.
GV front view of YAV-8B taxiing toward take-off pad
SV YAV-8B lifts vertically off pad
GV closer view of YAV-8B hovering and turning
MV YAV-8B landing vertically
According to Reuters news agency China is believed to be considering an initial purchase of some 90 Harriers at a cost of four million pounds sterling each (eight million U.S. dollars). Reuters say that Vice Premier Wang flew back to Peking with the draft of an agreement which could boost Sino-British trade to about 10 billion U.S dollars by the end of 1985. At present two-way trade between Britain and Chine is under 400 million dollars annually.
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Background: Aviation -- and in the United States a modified version of the British Harrier "jump-jet" fighter plane has flow for the firs time. On November the ninth test pilot Charles A. Plummer took off in the McDonnell Douglas YAV - 8B at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and hovered at about one hundred and thirty feet (35 metres) above the ground for most of the flight.
SYNOPSIS: Developed originally by the British firm Hawker Siddeley, the Harrier is the world's only successful vertical take-off aeroplane. But in 1975 Britain bowed out of the possibility of co-operation with the United States on an advanced version. Since then McDonnell Douglas has been primarily involved in the development of Harriers designed to meet the needs of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
Modifications on the latest version include a new wing structure giving increased area, and a second row of air intakes. The Rolls Royce Pegaus Eleven engines have also been improved. Development to production standards is due to start in January and -- if approved -- full scale production will begin in 1983. The United States Marine Corps are already flying a McDonnell Douglas version of the Harrier -- the Av-8A.
The Chinese are also interested in the Harrier. Following the recent visit to Britain of Vice-Premier Wang Chen, the British government has begun consultations with its allies on the possible sale of the fighter to China. It may eventually be deployed along China's border with the Soviet Union.