VAAC Harrier XW175 Acquired by Jet Art Aviation

May 21, 2019 | Aircraft, Aviation, Company News

Just as one very special and historic Harrier left our custody with the delivery of Trans-Atlantic Air Race Harrier XV741 to Brooklands Museum last month, it’s time to welcome another suitably special airframe to the Jet Art Aviation stable.

Earlier this year Jet Art Aviation acquired XW175, also known as the VAAC Harrier. For any AV geek this aircraft needs no introduction. For those of you needing some VSTOL education here is a brief resumé. This aircraft is a significant, benchmark airframe with the following claims to fame:

  • Oldest 2-seater Harrier in existence
  • Longest serving Harrier ever; 1969 to 2008 last flight: Staggering 40 years’ service
  • The last fixed-wing aircraft to launch from HMS Invincible
  • First Harrier to achieve more than 100 Ski jump ramp launches
  • Only surviving example of a development batch two Seat V/STOL ground attack and reconnaissance fighter / trainer. Built to specification: SR(A)386.
  • First 2 seat Harrier to fly from a Ski Jump launch ramp in August 1977
  • Flown by great test pilots such as John Farley
  • Only Fly-By-Wire Harrier ever
  • Cutting edge research aircraft used for trial supporting JSF and other platforms
  • In July 2019 it will be 50 years old

Before all the keyboard warriors break out the Indiana Jones hat / whip combo and start banging the ‘it belongs in a museum’ drum…we could not agree more! In fact the aircraft was offered by her previous owner to a number of large UK aircraft museums and was unbelievably turned down. In our opinion the most fitting place to display this historic aeroplane would have been the Flight Test Hangar at RAF Cosford Museum, but hey-ho the VAAC is now on our books and we have been entrusted with this rare and significant airframe as a safe pair of hands. Preservation of historic aircraft in private ownership now seem to be on the rise. As with XV741, a responsible custodian / resale policy will apply. We may retain this aircraft for our own future museum project, however we would be open to discussions with potential future suitable owners / custodians who would wish to acquire this special airframe.

Jet Art Aviation will be loaning the aircraft to the RAF Cosford Airshow this year for a final public appearance at Cosford on the 9th June. The aircraft will be on static display alongside other Harriers in a special 50th Anniversary celebratory line up. Negotiations are currently underway with several other airshows to get the aircraft into other static line ups throughout the UK airshow season to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Harrier, prior to road movement to Jet Art Aviation’s site.

NB: All sensitive trials equipment has been removed from the aircraft, as well as items of US origin. This has reverted the aircraft back to all British spec designated as Harrier T4A.

Historic photograph of XW175 in 1977 during Ski jump launch trials at RAE Bedford. Photo by Peter Hudson