Hawker Siddeley P.1127 / Kestrel


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Hawker Siddeley P.1127 / Kestrel

The Kestrel FGA Mk 1 ground attack fighter was an operational evaluation derivative of the P.1127 V/STOL (vertical and short take-off and landing) aircraft, development of which was initiated as a private venture in 1957. Six prototypes of the P.1127 were built, the first of these rising vertically on the vectored thrust of an 5126kg Pegasus 2 engine on 21 October 1960, followed by its first conventional flight on 13 March 1961. Nine evaluation aircraft were ordered for Tripartite (British-US-German) evaluation trials as Kestrel FGA Mk 1s, these introducing a fully-swept wing, a taller vertical tail, a bulged and slightly lengthened fuselage and a 6804kg Pegasus 5 engine. The first of these flew on 7 March 1964. A Tripartite Trials Squadron existed from 15 October 1964 until 30 November 1965, after which six of the Kestrels were transferred to the USA where they were designated XV-6As. The Kestrel featured two wing hardpoints each capable of lifting gun pods or stores of up to 450kg. The Kestrel was to provide the basis for the British Aerospace Harrier (and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B) close support and tactical reconnaissance aircraft.

P.1127 prototypeA three-view drawing of P.1127 prototype (1300 x 1128)

  Take-off weight5625-7031 kg12401 - 15501 lb
  Empty weight4445 kg9800 lb
  Wingspan6.96 m23 ft 10 in
  Length12.95 m43 ft 6 in
  Height3.28 m11 ft 9 in
  Wing area17.28 m2186.00 sq ft
  Max. speed1067 km/h663 mph

Bonny, e-mail, 27.10.2015 12:58

I was the rigger on xs694 when it arrived at west raynham & did a metal patch repair in the port intake a couple of weeks after it was flying much to the surprise of our line chief who thought I was only a 'systems'man but being Royal Air Force my trade covered the aircraft structure besides hydralics,air conditioing,undercarriage etc.XS695 is now at Cosford museum only 40 miles from where I now live,so small world,big experiance


Brian Carlin, e-mail, 30.05.2015 06:38

The previous post is mine, but I entered my surname in the E-mail box by mistake.


Brian, e-mail, 29.05.2015 19:08

I too served on the Kestrel Evaluation Squadron at RAF West Raynham as a RAF Junior Technician aircraft electrical fitter. I well remember Commander Jim Tyson, Chuck Massey and Dave King, all of whom have left comments in this thread. Currently, I'm writing my personal recollections of my time on the squadron, at least as much as memories from 50 years ago permits, but also assisted by some research. In the process of searching, I have been able to acquire a copy of the official report, co-signed by the squadron commanding officer, Wing Commander Scrimgeour and co-signed by Commander Tyson USN and Col. Barkhorn GAF. Incidentally, there is Wikipedia page dedicated to Col. Barkhorn, although it makes no mention of his assignment to the Kestrel Evaluation Squadron. Sadly, he and his wife were killed in an car accident on the autobahn near Cologne in 1983, during a storm.


Jack St. Lawrence, e-mail, 08.04.2014 02:52

I was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY when the six aircraft were delivered to the US.
They were brought in in crates and assembled at one end of the hanger I worked in as a member of ASTA platoon of the 101st,Aviation Battalion of the 101st Airborne.
I was a crew chief for the Army OV-1B Mohawk at the time.
A Mohawk and pilot from Ft. Bragg were brought in to run photo recon missions in comparison with the XV-6A's which at the time were being considered to be photo recon platforms.
I was assigned as temporary crew chief for the aircraft from Ft. Bragg and we flew daily photo missions from a field strip in the boonies of Ft. Campbell for several weeks.
I have photos of all six XV-6A's on the tarmac behind our hanger and also a great photo of the Kestrel flying formation off our left wing while returning from a mission.
I was privileged to watch the very first vertical landing of the future Harrier on US soil on the ramp behind our hangar. (That landing confused the heck out of the Air Force tower operators as they could not figure out how a pure jet could make a landing on the B Company ramp!)
I have communicated with Chuck Massey a few years ago and have some photos he took while crew chief for the XV-6A's at Ft Campbell.
This was an amazing experience and the highlight of my time in service.


kanhai vish, e-mail, 02.12.2012 18:56



Dave King, e-mail, 29.08.2012 22:44

I worked on the Kestrel Squadron as squadron storeman, at that time I was a Junior Technician. Best posting I had in
my service, great lads, learnt a lot, and found it quite a
challenging role as majority of spare parts were not recognised by any RAF section reference numbers.


Jim Tyson, e-mail, 14.01.2012 17:02

Correction to my earlier comment: U.S.A. National trials took place in 1966 vice 1965. JT


Jim Tyson, e-mail, 14.01.2012 16:57

Late 1950s & the 1960s were watershed years in aircraft development, the P.1127 project among the notables. As one of the pilots of this remarkable V /STOL airplane, I count the experience at the top of my RDT&E time. I was the sole navy pilot of the P.1127 and Kestrel (XV-6A)until after U.S.A. national trials were completed. It was a wonderful challenge to fly the airplane. When in jet-borne flight, operation was as if the plane had an "infinite flap". Otherwise flight was typical of a high performance jet fighter (with minor aerodynamic differences). The "Kestrel Evaluation Squadron" reports were extensive, laying the groundwork for subsequent operational employment of the Harrier airplanes. Similarly, the U.S. National trials by the "Tri-National Squadron" made up of the residual members of the U.K. squadron, explored Army, Navy & Air Force uses. As the OIC for U.S. Navy evaluations, I was pleased to lead the operations aboard U.S.S. Independence (CVA-62) and U.S.S. Raleigh (LPD-1) in 1965. JT


paidui, 20.06.2011 10:04

What are STOVL,STOL and how do they fly like that.There must be a scientist?Machine.Terminator movies and t.v. and video games.Kestrel fighter squadron is like the Blue Angels and Snowbirds.JSF.WW3's role,any alert Kestrel is on.


chuck massey, e-mail, 15.06.2010 04:10

I was the first crew chief of 688 shown here it is in the air force mueseum in ohio the no now is 262


John Beard, e-mail, 21.12.2009 14:03

as a former member of the Sqn (attached RAF Fireman) my understanding was that it was formed on 1 April 1964


William McMillan, e-mail, 26.12.2021 John Beard

Hi John

My uncle, Peter Stevenson was also in the Fire Service during the Kestrel evaluation.
If you remember him, please let me know?

Kind regards Bill


Feroz Y Khan, e-mail, 15.09.2009 18:23

My favourite fighters are the VSTOL VTOL.I like them for they remind me of space,outer space.They are monuverable and can attack enemies supersonic and faster.They are like robotech Alpha fighters and Mospeada and Contra Grey Alphas.Star Blazers,Cosmo tigers.E.D.F.,U.F.P.,I.S.A.F.,U.N.Spacy,They are supersonic and monuverable.High monuverability.I would love to use them in Ace Combat video game.They carry payload and weapons packs.I wonder what they would look like as a robot.What is their AC units?GoBots and Transformers.That's why I Qn.Armada like G1,G2,G3,Headmasters,Super God Masterforce{without 3rd world transmen Cab}and Transformers movies,ROTF.I would like to know more about them and hatred roller coasters.Not enough info,go harriers.Carrierbourne and navy is interesting Military Channel.1hr about them instead of Super Hornets.CNE Airshow should get VSTOL VTOL fighters as they had the "Blue Angels".Toronto International Airshow.They have the F-16 Viper.YYZ.Toronto Island Airport and Lester B.Pearson International Airport are the areas and U.S. carriers to prepare for our airshow.Americans pilot the AV harrier like a helicopter gunship and many Apache helicopter pilots pilot AV's.Don't know the set of G forces monuvers and VSTOL,VTOL.What are STOVL,STOL and how do they fly like that.There must be a scientist?Machine.Terminator movies and t.v. and video games.Kestrel fighter squadron is like the Blue Angels and Snowbirds.JSF.WW3's role,any alert Kestrel is on.


Ian, e-mail, 22.04.2009 13:10

I used to work with an old guy who used to build wooden mock ups for HS when they were developing the airframes for these jets. They used to mark everything out with a sharpened rivet & build from scratch. Really interesting guy you could talk to all day. He worked on all sorts Hunter, Sea Hawk but he'd always talk about them as P1127 etc.


andrew s, e-mail, 01.11.2008 02:39

You are thinking of the larger & supersonic P.1154 which was to be called the Harrier in service. -the kestrel was later renamed the Harrier after the 1154 was cancelled in 1964. The Kestrel was a private venture by hawker & thus immune from government cancellation.


Robert Scott, e-mail, 12.06.2008 18:08

If my memory serves me correctly, the name Kestrel was given to the two-seat version that was specifically destined for the RN (Fleet Air Arm). The Kestrel project was subsequently cancelled by Wilson and Cronies, along with the TSR2, V1000, etc.


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