|P1185 in USMC alternate livery|
Aircraft Background Edit
After 5 years flying the AV-8A (and the improved C variant), the USMC wanted more out of their Harriers. The US Government initiated the AV-16 programme - so called because the aim was to double the range and payload of the Harrier. Over the pond, the RAF had improved their GR1s to GR3s, and were now looking for better performance.
The P1185 was the result of work in St Louis of the Hawker / McDonnell Douglas Harrier joint venture to improve the AV-8A in the AV-16 programme (so called because it’s aim was to double the capability of the AV-8). The P1185 featured some evolutions of the phase 1 Harrier - a raised cockpit as in the Sea Harrier; a bigger wing with an 8” increase in span over the phase 1, and 8 feet added to the length to give the horizontal stabilisers more pitch effect. The biggest change however was am evolution of the pegasus engine to position the nozzels much lower and thus avoid exhaust gasses interfering with the control surfaces. The programme proposals included the subsonic AV-16 and the supersonic AV-16+.
Whilst the RAF had drawn up AST.396 for a mid 1980s Harrier/Jaguar replacement, they had never been enthused with VTOL and were not overly enthusiastic for another Harrier. The programme was cancelled in 1974 due to divergent requirements - the USMC wanter a bigger bomb truck, whilst the RAF wanted multi-role. The US Marine Corps stuck with the Harrier and McDonnell Douglas salvaged much of the AV-16 programme research to develop the AV-8B.