Harrier Jump Jet - Mobility and Firepower

Unique Aircraft Gives The U.S. Marine Corps An Edge In Combat

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With its ability to conduct vertical takeoffs and landings, the AV-8B Harrier II jet provides the U.S. Marine Corps with the mobility and firepower needed during combat missions.

Subsonic Attack Aircraft

The Harrier II is a subsonic attack aircraft that is used for combat. Because of its ability to conduct vertical takeoffs and landings on short runways, the AV-8B Harrier II is commonly called the "Harrier Jump Jet." The aircraft was designed by McDonnell Douglas, which is now part of the Boeing Company.

The first Harrier jets were developed and entered service in the late 1960s. A modification of the Harrier jet entered service with the U.S. military in 1985, and variations of the aircraft have been in active duty since then.

The Harrier II is used primarily for attack missions. The aircraft can be launched from small aircraft carriers and even smaller amphibious assault ships. The U.S. Marine Corps is the main operator of the Harrier II aircraft. However, other militaries also use variations of the jet, including the British, Spanish and Italian Navies.

Air-To-Air Missiles

The Harrier II aircraft is equipped with numerous weapons, including air-to-air sidewinder missiles; air-to-surface harpoon missiles; cluster bombs; napalm canisters; and 25 millimeter GAU-12 Equalizer cannons. Each jet also contains state-of-the-art avionics, night vision equipment, and infrared cameras. The cost of each Harrier II aircraft is about $35 million.

The Harrier II aircraft’s unique engine configuration allows it to takeoff and land vertically and on short runways. The jet features a "Rolls Royce Pegasus" turbofan engine that is situated close to the turbine. This is different from most fixed-wing aircraft where the engines are placed closer to the back.

The Harrier II jet also has small valved control nosels in the nose, tail and wings that give it control in low airspeeds. And, the jet is outfitted with landing gear on the fuselage and wings.

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