Pegasus the Heart of the Harrier, the History & Development of the World’s First Operational Vertical Take-of & Landing Jet Engine

B2143

The Rolls Royce Pegasus was a jet engine revolution in a single product. It was even more important than the WWII Merlin engine. This book is an outstanding document, worthy of an outstanding subject. It is a tour de force with many fine photographs, sketches, drawings and tables and well worth every penny of the cover price, although with Pen & Sword there will also be some great special offers that will make this great book affordable to a much wider readership.

The author has done a really great job in producing a very readable account that will be appreciated by engineers, enthusiasts, historians and general readers.

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NAME: Pegasus the Heart of the Harrier, the History & Development of the World’s First Operational Vertical Take-of & Landing Jet Engine
DATE: 200215
FILE: R2143
AUTHOR: Andrew Dow
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 543
PRICE: £35.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Royal Navy, RN, design, deployment, Falklands Liberation, Harrier, jump jet, VTOL, VSTOL, STOVL, jet engines, Rolls Royce, technology revolution
ISBN: 1-84884-042-X
IMAGE: B2143.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/q2yqf2e
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The Rolls Royce Pegasus was a jet engine revolution in a single product. It was even more important than the WWII Merlin engine. This book is an outstanding document, worthy of an outstanding subject. It is a tour de force with many fine photographs, sketches, drawings and tables and well worth every penny of the cover price, although with Pen & Sword there will also be some great special offers that will make this great book affordable to a much wider readership.

The author has done a really great job in producing a very readable account that will be appreciated by engineers, enthusiasts, historians and general readers.

The concept of the Pegasus engine in 1956 was a major revolution and addressed one of the great concerns during the Cold War. As all military aircraft were getting heavier and faster, the length of runway required to get them safely into the air was not just very costly, but also produced a great target for nuclear missiles. Experiments to use motorways for military jets was acceptable for fighters and attack aircraft but impractical for larger aircraft and of questionable viability even for smaller aircraft. Hiding under motorway bridges was practical only for single and twin seat fast jets. The Pegasus and the Harrier addressed the issue successfully and also returned army co-operation for ground attack aircraft to ‘hides’ and unprepared grass fields, Sadly, the innovation of the Pegasus and the RAF support of this concept was not a great success. The RAF was wedded to its costly concrete air strips and highly visible air stations, and it looked at the bomb load capability of the Harrier with little enthusiasm. It also feared the challenges of providing helicopter fuel tankers and other assets that would be required to keep a squadron of Harriers supplied close to Army front lines. Then it looked at the subsonic performance of the Harrier and considered it a huge disappointment.

It was the Royal Navy that really gave the Harrier life as a result of draconian cuts that removed fixed wing carriers from its fleet and required a naval concept as revolutionary as the Pegasus and Harrier. The Comptroller of the Royal Navy smuggled the Invincible Class carriers past the National Socialist Defence Minister Healey and PM Wilson. Described as anti-submarine cruisers, the Invincible Class were presented as helicopter carriers to provide helicopter flight decks for convoy escort in the North Atlantic, but the Sea Lords always intended that they would be real combat carriers with a multi-role capability and fixed wing fast jets in the shape of the Sea Harrier with its intercept radar and ability to carry AAMs and 30 mm canon in addition to alternative loads of ground attack munitions.

Without the Pegasus engined Sea Harrier it is unlikely that the Falkland Islands would have been liberated from the Argentine bandits who sought to enslave them. The great victory achieved in the Falklands fully vindicated the skill and determination of the Royal Navy to take advantage of the revolutionary VSTOL technology and deliver the killer blow to a significantly larger enemy force 8,000 miles from the nearest British-friendly port.

If the Pegasus had only made possible the liberation of the Falkland Islands, it would have found a place in history, but that was only part of a greater story that has been very well-told in this new book.

The Royal Navy’s appreciation of the potential of the Pegasus was closely matched by the US Marine Corps commitment to the engine and the Harrier. The technology closely matched the USMC mission to provide amphibious forces and fully support them in landing and ashore by USMC ground support fighters. This meant the Harrier would be produced in much larger volumes, reducing the production costs, and providing another view of further development. Without the Pegasus there would have been no Harrier, and without the Harrier it is unlikely that there would be a Lightning II supersonic stealth STVOL combat jet.

The author has looked at the great story of the Pegasus and the missed opportunities. Rolls Royce and Hawkers always wanted to go on to produce a multi-cell engine for supersonic operation. They also saw potential for other larger aircraft. It was a great missed opportunity to re-establish a lead for the British aerospace industry and to produce fast jet aircraft for vertical insertion and extraction of troops, vehicles and guns in a way that has only become possible with the V-22 Osprey Tilt-rotor used by the USMC.

The Pegasus and Harrier are still in service around the world, particularly for the USMC, Sadly, through the gross incompetence of the Coalition Government in Britain, the Royal Navy was to have its carriers turned into razor blades and its Sea Harriers, and the RAF Harriers, disposed of in a fire sale. Happily, most Harriers ended up with the USMC and one was even preserved for the display circuits by a former USMC Harrier pilot.

This story is therefore one of great British pride but also great sorrow that venial politicians have once again let down the British aviation industry, the Armed Forces and the People.

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