Experimental jump jet is museum’s new addition

WESTON’S Helicopter Museum will welcome an experimental Harrier Jump-Jet as the first fixed-wing aeroplane of its collection.

The jet, built by Rolls Royce in the 1980s, was previously at the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust in Kemble, Gloucestershire and will be moved to the museum in Locking Moor Road today (Weds).

The modified aircraft used the nose and tail of the XV798 model Harrier and the wings of the XW264 model alongside a custom-built centre section housing a Pegasus engine.

The experimental model was used in the 1980s to test the modified engine for a potential supersonic version, and still has some of the framework which was used to attach it to a gantry for the test.

Elfan Ap Rees, chairman of the museum trustees, said: “Although the proposed supersonic Harrier was never built, the data and lessons learned from this research later found their way into development of the modern-day Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter, now on order to replace the Harrier in the Royal Navy.

“The PCB testbed is therefore an important piece of local aviation heritage and the trustees have agreed that this fact, coupled with its vertical flight link, makes it well worthy of continued preservation.”