|P1205-11 in RAF default livery|
|Year||1979 (Design Frozen)|
|Primary Use||Military, air superiority|
After the withdrawal from the AV-16 programme, the RAF redefined AST.396 as AST.403. This requirement defined a range of battlefield duties with an increased emphasis on air-to-air. Despite the lack of RAF enthusiasm for the Harrier platform, BAe proposed the P1205 to fulfill this role.
Evolved from the P1185, this design raised the cockpit further giving a full visibility bubble canopy. Together with straightened wings, Hawker had designed a very F-16 looking plane. Many of the design changes were based on practicality - moving the wings from the shoulder mounting to a mid mounted position enabled removal of the engine without having to remove the wings; the chin inlet reduced bird strike at low level and improved airflow at high angels of attack.
Powered to supersonic speeds by the PCB pegasus, this aircraft suddenly made the RAF sit up and appreciate Hawker’s work. A major R&D programme was instigated to research the technologies and dynamics of this aircraft. The PCB pegasus was optimised in an acquired GR1 airframe - XV798. The P1205 model was analysed for all requirements, being taken to a full scale mock up. A flaw in the design was identified however. The centre of lift being much higher than the centre of thrust made the aircraft prone to pitch instability and complicated the transition between vertical and horizontal flight.
The RAF had now realised that AST.403 was becoming too much for a single aircraft, so split off the close air support role into AST.409 resulting in the proposed P1208-2. The momentum was still behind the technological evolution of the P1205-11, and BAe resolved the problems encountered with the P1216.