Harrier II at 40

Prototype AV-8B Harrier II pictured in front of a hangar at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri. Offering double the payload and combat radius of its predecessor, the AV-8B made its maiden flight on 9 November 1978, some 40 years ago today.

The above model was one of two generations and six main variants of the “jump jet” produced between the prototype Hawker Siddeley P.1127 first flew in 1960 and the Harrier II ended production in 1997. With less than 900 of all types produced, a Harrier in any condition is a rare bird indeed.

early Harrier Kestrel

While Harriers once served with the Indian Navy, Italian Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Spanish Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps, just the Corps (124) and the Italians (30) still operate late-model aircraft refurbished in the 2000’s.

A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 sits on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Arabian Sea Oct. 20, 2013. The Boxer was underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. Michael Schwartz, U.S. Navy/Released)

They are expected to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II within the next decade.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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