AV-8B Harrier II Plus Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1994 Total Production: 55 Also Known As:EAV-8B Origin:United States of America Corporations: Boeing
Parent System:AV-8B Harrier II Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1985 Total Production: 372 Family Members:AV-8B Harrier II
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Description: The AV-8B is a Vertical Short Take Off and Landing (V/STOL) aircraft designed to meet the requirements of USMC for close air support to expeditionary forces. The Harrier also can destroy surface and sea targets, provide air defense and escort helicopters.
The AV-8B Harrier II is a second generation of Harrier V/STOL aircraft developed by BAe Systems in the 1960s. TAV-8B designation is applied to two-seat Harriers intended for training.
The more capable AV-8B Harrier II replaced the AV-8A Harrier and the A-4M aircraft in the USMC inventory. The AV-8B is an enhanced version of the proven AV-8A Harrier I intended for daylight close air support. In 1989 Boeing delivered the first night attack AV-8B Harrier to the USMC.
The USMC deployed the Harrier aircraft during the Gulf War demonstrating the suitability of V/STOL aircraft for expeditionary forces. USMC AV-8Bs will be replaced by the F-35C beginning in 2010 with the Harrier fleet remaining in service at least until 2015.
The AV-8B+ Harrier II is the most advanced derivative of the Harrier aircraft produced to date featuring the AN/APG-65 radar as well as full compatibility with the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile and other advanced weaponry. Older USMC AV-8B aircraft were remanufactured to the Harrier plus configuration at $21.6 million each.
In the 1990s, the USMC ordered re-manufactured (74) and new built (27) aircraft totaling approximately 100 aircraft to perform day and night attack missions. Spain ordered eight new built and five re-manufactured AV-8B+ aircraft. Italy ordered 20 new built Harrier pluses.