The Boeing AV-8B Harrier II jumpjet is a STOL aircraft for the US Marine corps.
AV-8B Harrier II
The British Aerospace Harrier II was a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jet aircraft used previously by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and, between 2006 and 2010, the Royal Navy (RN). The aircraft was the latest development of the Harrier Jump Jet family, and was derived from the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II. Initial deliveries of the Harrier II were designated in service as Harrier GR5; subsequently upgraded airframes were redesignated accordingly as GR7 and GR9.
Under the Joint Force Harrier organisation, both the RAF and RN operated the Harrier II, including routine operational deployments on board the navy's Invincible class aircraft carriers. The Harrier II participated in numerous conflicts, making significant contributions in combat theatres such as Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The type's main function was as a platform for air interdiction and close air support missions; the Harrier II was also used for presence projection and reconnaissance duties. The Harrier II served alongside the Sea Harrier in Joint Force Harrier.
In December 2010, budgetary pressures led to the early retirement of all Harrier IIs from service, at which point it was the last of the Harrier derivatives remaining in British service. The decision to retire was controversial as there was no immediate fixed-wing replacement in its role or fixed-wing carrier-capable aircraft left in service; in the long term the Harrier II is to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II.
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Development of a much more powerful successor to the Harrier began in 1973 as a cooperative effort between McDonnell Douglas (MDD) in the US and Hawker Siddeley (in 1977, its aviation interests were nationalised to form part of British Aerospace) in the UK. First-generation Harriers were being introduced into Royal Air Force and United States Marine Corps; operational experience had highlighted demand for a more capable aircraft. The British government had only a minor requirement, for up to 60 Harriers at most and competing pressures on the defence budget left little room for frivolous expenditure such as the Advanced Harrier.
AV-8B Harrier II
The Harrier II is an extensively modified version of the first generation Harrier GR1/GR3 series. The original aluminium alloy fuselage was replaced by a fuselage which makes extensive use of composites, providing significant weight reduction and increased payload or range. A new one-piece wing provides around 14 per cent more area and increased thickness. The wing and leading-edge root extensions allows for a 6,700-pound (3,035 kg) payload increase.
Boeing AV-8B Harrier II: Specifications
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
Primary users United States Marine Corps
Number built AV-8B: 337 (excluding the YAV-8B)
Program cost US$6.5 billion (1987)
Developed from Hawker Siddeley Harrier
Variants British Aerospace Harrier II
Boeing AV-8B Harrier II
Capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), the aircraft was designed in the late 1970s as an Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational V/STOL aircraft. Named after a bird of prey, it is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance.