Note: This aircraft is located in the Research & Development Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The gallery will close until further notice beginning May 1, 2013, as part of budget reduction requirements due to sequestration.
The British-built Kestrel was designed with vertical/short takeoff and landing capabilities, making it possible to operate from grass or semi-prepared surfaces offering great operational flexibility. Four adjustable exhaust nozzles beneath the wing roots could be rotated to provide thrust for vertical, backward or hovering flight as well as conventional forward movement.
The first Kestrel began conventional flight trials on March 13, 1961, in Britain. In 1962 the governments of the United States, Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany ordered nine aircraft for combined testing by those countries' representatives. They formed an evaluation squadron that conducted Kestrel trials between April and September 1965. Six of these trial aircraft were later delivered to the United States where, as XV-6As, they underwent additional testing of V/STOL fighter techniques. An improved version, known as the Harrier, became the world's first operational V/STOL fighter when it entered Royal Air Force service in 1969.
When the aircraft on display was delivered to the museum from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 1970, it became the first airplane to be airlifted by the giant C-5A Galaxy.
SPECIFICATIONS: Span: 22 ft. 11 in. Length: 42 ft. 6 in. Height: 10 ft. 9 in. Weight: 15,500 lbs. maximum Armament: None Engine: Bristol Siddeley Pegasus 5 of 15,200 lbs. thrust Serial number: 64-18262 Other registrations: XS688
PERFORMANCE: Maximum speed: 650 mph Cruising speed: 625 mph Range: Not Applicable Service ceiling: Not Applicable