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Boeing
AV-8B Harrier II (1978)

n the late 1960s and early 1970s, the first-generation Harriers entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and USMC but were handicapped in range and payload. In short takeoff and landing configuration, the AV-8A (American designation for the Harrier) carried less than half the 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) payload of the smaller A-4 Skyhawk, over a more limited radius.

Boeing:AV-8B Harrier II

Role V/STOL ground-attack aircraft
National origin United States / United Kingdom
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas / British Aerospace
Boeing / BAE Systems
First flight YAV-8B: 9 November 1978
AV-8B: 5 November 1981
Introduction January 1985
Status In service
Primary users United States Marine Corps
Italian Navy – Spanish Navy
Produced 1981–2003
Number built AV-8B: 337 (excluding the YAV-8B)
Developed from Hawker Siddeley Harrier
Variants British Aerospace Harrier II

Boeing Millitary

Boeing
AV-8B Harrier II (1978)

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Boeing
AV-8B Harrier II (1978)

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family, capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL). The aircraft is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance. The AV-8B is used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy. A variant of the AV-8B, the British Aerospace Harrier II, was developed for the British military, while another, the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer.

Design

The AV-8B Harrier II is a subsonic attack aircraft of metal and composite construction that retains the basic layout of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, with horizontal stabilizers and shoulder-mounted wings featuring prominent anhedral (downward slope). The aircraft is powered by a single Rolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan engine, which has two intakes and four synchronized vectorable nozzles close to its turbine. Two of these nozzles are located near the forward, cold end of the engine and two are near the rear, hot end of the engine. This arrangement contrasts with most fixed-wing aircraft, which have engine nozzles only at the rear. The Harrier II also has smaller valve-controlled nozzles in the nose, tail, and wingtips to provide control at low airspeeds.

Operators

 Italy
  • Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati (1991–present)
 Spain
  • 9a Escuadrilla Aeronaves (1987–present)
 United States

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McDonnell/Douglas AV-8B Harrier II (1978)

The AV-8B underwent standard evaluation to prepare for its USMC service. In the operational evaluation (OPEVAL), lasting from 31 August 1984 to 30 March 1985, four pilots and a group of maintenance and support personnel tested the aircraft under combat conditions. The aircraft was graded for its ability to meet its mission requirements for navigating, acquiring targets, delivering weapons, and evading and surviving enemy actions, all at the specified range and payload limits. The first phase of OPEVAL, running until 1 February 1985, required the AV-8B to fly both deep and close air support missions (deep air support missions do not require coordination with friendly ground forces) in concert with other close-support aircraft, as well as flying battlefield interdiction and armed reconnaissance missions.

Specifications

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Length: 46 ft 4 in (14.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 4 in (9.25 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 8 in (3.55 m)
  • Empty weight: 13,968 lb (6,340 kg)
  • Gross weight: 22,950 lb (10,410 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight:
    • Rolling takeoff: 31,000 lb (14,100 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Pegasus F402-RR-408 (Mk 107) vectored-thrust turbofan, 23,500 lbf (105 kN) thrust
  • Maximum speed: 585 kn (673 mph, 1,083 km/h)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.9
  • Range: 1,200 nmi (1,400 mi, 2,200 km)
  • Combat range: 300 nmi (350 mi, 556 km)
  • Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,100 mi, 3,300 km)
  • Rate of climb: 14,700 ft/min (75 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 94.29 lb/sq ft (460.4 kg/m2)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.948

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The Harrier II Plus is very similar to the Night Attack variant, with the addition of an APG-65 multi-mode pulse-Doppler radar in an extended nose, allowing it to launch advanced beyond-visual-range missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM.[49] To make additional space for the radar, the angle-rate bombing system was removed. The radars used were taken from early F/A-18 aircraft, which had been upgraded with the related APG-73. In addition to the AIM-120, the AV-8B Plus can also carry AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon missiles.[88][89] According to aviation author Lon Nordeen, the changes "had a slight increase in drag and a bit of additional weight, but there really was not much difference in performance between the [–408-powered] Night Attack and radar Harrier II Plus aircraft"

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