McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II
The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft. It is the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family. It is 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. It can hover like a helicopter but can also fly like a jet at near supersonic speeds. It is named after the a bird of prey. It is primarily used on light attack or multi-role missions. These range 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. Another is the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer.
The project that eventually led to the AV-8B's creation started in the early 1970s. It was a cooperative effort between the United States and United Kingdom (UK). it was aimed at working on solving the problems of the first-generation Harrier. Early efforts centered on a larger, more powerful Pegasus engine to improve the Harrier's performance. The UK dropped out of the project in 1975.
Following the withdrawal of the UK, McDonnell Douglas extensively redesigned the earlier AV-8A Harrier to create the AV-8B. While retaining the general layout of its predecessor, the aircraft uses a new wing, an elevated cockpit, a redesigned fuselage, one extra hardpoint per wing, and other structural and aerodynamic changes. The aircraft is powered by an upgraded version of the Pegasus, which gives the aircraft its V/STOL ability. The AV-8B made its maiden flight in November 1981 and entered service with the USMC in January 1985. Later upgrades added a night-attack capability and radar. This resulted in the AV-8B(NA) and AV-8B Harrier II Plus, respectively. An enlarged version named Harrier III was also studied, but was not built. The UK, through British Aerospace, re-joined the improved Harrier project as a partner in 1981. After corporate mergers in the 1990s, Boeing and BAE Systems have jointly supported the program. Approximately 340 aircraft were produced in a 22-year production program that ended in 2003.
References[change | change source]
- "AV-8B HARRIER II". Military Advantage. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- Searle, Adrian (29 June 2010). "Fiona Banner's toys for boys are a turn-on at Tate Britain". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
the Harrier is in any case named after a bird of prey.
- "McDonnell Douglas/British Aerospace AV-8B Harrier II Attack Fighter". Aerospaceweb.org. Retrieved 11 November 2015.