By George Hall

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Another innovation would accompany the Sea Harrier. Independently, both RN ltCdr. D. R. Taylor and Hawker's Ralph Hooper conceived the "ski-ramp" launch system. This ingenious idea incorporated an upward curve in the forward end of the flight deck so that the Harrier would be launched in an upward ballistic trajectory when executing a STOl takeoff. The system allows the Sea Harrier to takeoff with a larger payload than either a conventional flat takeoff (without a catapult, which the Sea Harrier can not use, and the British cruisers do not have) or a vertical takeoff.

Unless it was needed for a particular mission, the probe was seldom carried. j (Don Logan via the Mick Roth Collection) After a year or so of operational service, the Marine Corps began to modify their aircraft. The Ferranti FE541 nav-attack system had never been particularly well liked by the Marines, but it had been purchased as part of the "off-theshelf" philosophy. The Marines felt EJECTION SEAT the system was too complex and took too long to set up before flight for the relatively simple attack missions they intended to LEG RESTRAINT GARTER .

Although no action was taken as a result of this report, the idea slowly began to take hold. The Admiralty began drafting a requirement in 1962 for an advanced V/STOL carrier-borne interceptor to replace the de Havilland Sea Vixen. i..... \ HARRIERS FOR THE ROYAL NAVY requirement led directly to the first ideas, and the large-deck carrier tests of a V/STOL aircraft aboard a program was cancelled in 1966. ship when XP831 landed aboard The decision at this time was that HMS Ark Royal on 8 February 1963.

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