"It's a nice day."
- Brimstone Missiles
- Disperse Chaff Countermeasures
|“|| Harrier listo por la batalia.|
The main air unit of the ECA, the Harrier is a versatile VTOL aircraft that excels in taking down a considerably large range of units.
|“|| There is nothing to fear.|
Based in the true classic of British aviation, the British Aerospace Sea Harrier III jumpjet was developed specifically for close air support that was capable of operations from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. Upon hearing of the project, interest from the Spanish and Italian navies grew, eventually leading to orders from said organizations. The decision was made by the British Ministry of Defence, when its intended replacement, the American F-35 Lightning, would not enter service for many years to come due to a number of safety issues and overflowing costs. Whilst the United States went on and shifted their focus to a more economical multirole version of the F-22 Raptor, many international partners of the Joint Strike Fighter program, including the Netherlands, Italy and the United Kingdom opted out and were left with no adequate aircraft to fill the niche. So the development of a new CAS VTOL aircraft was needed.
BAE wasted no time on producing a new aircraft design that looked similar to a modernization of the 20th century Harrier. The Harrier III variant features omnidirectional LIDAR sensors and a CAPTOR-X AESA radar. It's powered a Pegasus engine rebuilt with the latest materials, and has a maximum speed of Mach 0.8. Additionally, the hull has a radar signature reducing shape, although not to the extent of the F-22 or F-35. Since VTOL aircraft need to keep their weight down, the Harrier III is not nearly as well armored as an A-10, but has lightweight ceramic plating around the engine and other critical areas of the airframe, in addition to a heavy array of chaff/flares/decoys and standard IR and radio-band jammers. The Harrier III entered service just in time for Operation Nemesis where it proved to an efficient strike bomber when deployed from carriers in the Mediterranean. Standard loadout consists of Brimstone air-to-ground missiles and two Mauser 27mm autocannons.
By the beginings of 2040s, large parts of the british Harrier fleet were sold off to the Armada Española, and so, many of the Sea Harriers used during the Russo-European War were supplied by the Spanish Navy, seeing as their naval air wing was, besides England & some nordic countries, for the most part spared from the Russian air offensive against most European air forces. Both Spanish and Italian Harriers, launched from assault carriers, aided British sea and ground based aircraft in providing air support to the defenders during the unsuccessful Russian invasion of the United Kingdom.
Ever since the creation of the European Continental Army, Spanish carrier ships formed a large portion of the task force's naval branch and provided reliable close air support with their Harriers during ECA combat operations in North Africa. It was at this time when General Cutting of the British expeditionary force worked in close coordination with Admiral Pablo Garcia during the attack on Casablanca. Ten years later, in the most desperate phase of the Russo-European War, Charles once again called upon the help of his Spanish friend, successfully repelling General Aleksandr's ill-conceived invasion of England in one of the war's bloodiest, most decisive battles.
In combat, the Harrier is a deadly tank hunter thanks to its powerful Brimstone missiles that also engages both airborne and ground-based targets with a pair of 27mm cannons. Beyond that, its VTOL capabilities ensure a high level of mobility and allow the plane to fly idle in tight circles, making it less prone to sudden anti-air ambushes.
|“|| Just look at the view.|
- Harrier moving
The Harrier is a versatile, agile VTOL jet fighter. It possesses the speed of jets while like helicopters it can rearm while in air. Its armed to deal with any type of threat in ground or air. It can also deploy manually controlled chaff countermeasures to confuse enemy missiles.
While idle it flies idle over the battlefield in tight circles. It requires a short attacking run before engaging a target.
The Harrier is an expensive aircraft. Additionally its production building, the Deployment Zone, has a build limit of 1. That also makes it difficult to mass produce Harriers quickly.
|“|| Let's show our guests the way out.|
- Harrier attacking
The best tactic with the Harrier is to use it in numbers. The Harrier is a little too expensive to be frontal-attack units, but approximately 9 (basic) or 7 (Elite) of these could bring down a Sentinel with a full salvo of missiles and gunfire. Alternatively, you could create Harrier "wolf packs" to harass the enemy's economy, although you need to be mindful of the enemy's defenses. Also, note that this arguably among the most micro-management-intensive air unit in the game, but if wisely used, it could help turn the tides of the battle. Also, in an event where your AA defenses fail, Harriers could be used against a helicopter rush, although with considerable casualties if supported by even tier-1 AA units. If you plan on using Harriers even as support units, make sure to have a very good and stable economy. Since they are able to attack all kinds of targets, be it on the ground, sea or air, they are very versatile units that could be adapted for either offensive or defensive roles.
Another lucrative strategy is to use Harriers to spot targets for your Howitzer Artillery.
|“|| Ejection isn't working.|
- A crashing Harrier
The biggest weakness of Harriers is that they are not capable of attacking targets that are too close to them: they need to retreat and then attack from a distance. What this means is that units such as Vipers and Hinds can take advantage of this weakness and try to keep close to Harriers at all times while constantly firing rockets at them, making for an easy victory on their part. This same weakness applies to ground units, but it is far easier for an Harrier to outrun a Quad Cannon than a Viper. Additionally, although Harriers are effective against infantry and vehicles, if a group of Igla Troopers manage to garrison an area while being attacked by Harriers they will certainly gain the upper hand.
Harriers are also slow to build, and since only one Deployment Zone may be built at all times, it is not possible to amass them like Raptors or MiGs. Another effective measure would be stationing heavy AA at your units, although with considerable casualties. But because of the Harrier's chaff ability, missile AA defenses might be rendered partially ineffective. Twin Fangs are great counters, but must be supported by lots of Gattling Tanks to avoid them being destroyed by large groups of Harriers. Tunguskas on their own perform quite poorly against Harriers, even when amassed, so support them with Grumbles.