AV-8B Harrier II Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1985 Total Production: 317 Also Known As:TAV-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 Plus
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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. Currently, the AV-8B Harrier aircraft can use a wide spectrum of weapons such as bombs, missiles and rockets. Additionally, it can use a inner fuselage mounted 25mm GAU-12/U gun firing PGU-25/U ammunition to destroy targets on the ground.