The Chicken Works: The Aviation Art of JP Santiago
Hawker P.1216 Profile Art/Part 1
by, 10-08-2007 at 01:53 PM (14902 Views)
In this entry from a few days ago I detailed the technical progression that took place from the existing Harrier design to the BAe Kingston's ultimate VSTOL fighter design, the Hawker P.1216. In a series of installments I'll be showing some of the profile art I created in the last year and a half that show how the P.1216 might have looked had it gone into production and entered service.
That said, these illustrations of mine postulate the P.1216 going into production with an in-service date approximately 1986-87 (though realistically from more detailed sources, the fighter would have entered service in the early 1990s).
^One of the RAF's most storied combat units, No. 1 Squadron has a history that goes back to 1912 and adds to its historical feats the first operational combat unit to fly a VSTOL fighter with the introduction of the Harrier GR.1 in 1969. After then operating the upgraded GR.3, in 1988 No. 1 Sqn transitioned the Harrier GR.5, essentially a British variant of the AV-8B Harrier II used by the US Marine Corps. Supposing the P.1216 enters service at this time, No. 1 Squadron would have been an obvious operator and would have transitioned to the P.1216 from the Harrier GR.3 and this illustration reflects that time.
I've taken a few artistic licenses here and there that result in this illustration deviating in the details from what the P.1216 might have actually looked like, but the essential elements are there. This version wears the dark sea gray/dark green wraparound camoflauge used by Harrier units of the day as well as the distinctive No.1 Sqn badge on the tail. AIM-9 Sidewinders are on the wingtip stations for self-defense, an external tank hangs below each wing boom and a total of six BL.755 cluster bombs are on the weapon pylons. Note also the Mauser 27mm cannon in the front of the wing booms.
^No. 3 Squdron as an RAF Germany unit converted to the Harrier GR.1 in 1972 and would convert to the GR.5 in 1989. This illustration has the P.1216 in the colors of No. 3 Sqn circa 1987 with the green/yellow squadron flash on the side of the wing boom. This aircraft is fitted out for the DCA mission (defensive counter air), with an external tank below each wing boom, four AIM-9 Sidewinders and a medium range Sky Flash missile under each wing (the Sky Flash being a British variant of the AIM-7 Sparrow). During the waning days of the Cold War, P.1216s might have flown with this weapons load in the quick reaction alert to fly against Soviet/East German attack aircraft targeting the RAF's airfields in Germany.
Given that the P.1216 would have been radar-equipped (though there were some design variants with a radarless nose), it might have been able to operated BVR missiles like the Sky Flash, something current RAF Harriers can't do.
^Last one for now, this is a P.1216 in the distinctive markings of No. IV Squadron. No. IV converted to the Harrier GR.1 in 1970. The flamboyant tail markings are taken from the squadron badge of No. IV Sqn and this aircraft is fitted out for the anti-radar role, with Sidewinders on the wingtip stations, an ALQ-101 ECM pod under the left wing, and the AJ37 Martel anti-radiation missile under each wing boom.
Enjoy the history, enjoy the illustrations, there are more to come!