The AV-8B Harrier II V/STOL strike aircraft was designed to replace the AV-8A Harrier and the A-4M light attack aircraft. Combining tactical mobility, responsiveness, reduced operating cost and basing flexibility, both afloat and ashore, V/STOL aircraft are particularly well-suited to the combat and expeditionary requirements of ground forces. The AV-8BII+ features the APG-65 Radar used in the F/A-18.

Standard missions of AV-8B Harrier II squadron are to attack and destroy surface and air targets, to escort helicopters, and to conduct other such air operations as may be directed. Specific tasks of the AV-8B Harrier II include:

  • Conduct close air support using conventional and specific weapons.
  • Conduct deep air support, to include armed reconnaissance and air interdiction, using conventional and specific weapons.
  • Conduct offensive and defensive antiair warfare. This includes combat air patrol, armed escort missions, and offensive missions against enemy ground-to-air defenses, all within the capabilities of the aircraft.
  • Be able to operate and deliver ordnance at night and to operate under instrument flight conditions.
  • Be able to deploy for extended operations employing aerial refueling.
  • Be able to deploy to and operate from carriers and other suitable seagoing platforms, advanced bases, expeditionary airfields, and remote tactical landing sites.

AV-8B Harrier II Specifications

Primary function Attack and destroy surface targets under day and night visual conditions.
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas
Propulsion One Rolls Royce F402-RR-408 turbofan engine
Thrust F402-44-408: 23,400 pounds
Length 46.3 feet (14.11 meters)
Wing span 30.3 feet (9.24 meters)
Armament MK-82 series 500lbs bombs, MK-83 series 1000lbs bombs, GBU-12 500lbs laser guided bombs, GBU-16 1000lbs laser guided bombs, AGM-65F IR Maverick missiles, AGM-65E Laser Maverick missiles, CBU-99 cluster munitions, AIM-9M sidewinders, Lightening II targeting POD to deliver GBU-12 and GBU-16 bombs with pinpoint accuracy.
Crew 1
Countries of Origin USA, United Kingdom.
Similar Aircraft Yak-38 Forger, Mirage F1, AMX.
Crew One.
Role VSTOL fighter, CAS.
Armament Cannon, missiles, bombs, rockets, gun pods.
Dimensions Length: 46 ft, 4 in (14.13 m). Span: 30 ft, 4 in (9.25 m).

AV-8B Harrier II WEFT Description

Wings High-mounted, swept-back, and tapered, negative slant and blunt tips.
Engine(s) One vectored thrust turbofan mounted in the body. Large, semicircular air intakes that give the body a rounded appearance from the head-on view.
Fuselage Thick, rounded, and tapering to a slender tail. Pointed nose and bubble canopy.
Tail Fin swept-back and tapered with curved tip. Small step in the leading edge. Tail flats high-mounted on fuselage are swept-back with a negative slant and blunt tips. Pointed rear tail cone.

Countries which Fly the AV-8B Harrier II

India, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States of America.

AV-8B Harrier II Manufacturer Web Site

The AB-8B Harrier II was originally manufactured by McDonnel Douglas.

In 1997, McDonnell Douglas became part of Boeing.


The original Harrier was manufactured by Hawker-Siddeley, which is now part of BAE.

BAE Systems.

Books on the AV-8B Harrier II

The Harrier Story
The Harrier Story

Harrier: Inside And Out
Harrier: Inside And Out

Sea Harrier: The Last All-british Fighter
Sea Harrier: The Last All-british Fighter

In early 2006, the Fleet Air Arm’s last Sea Harrier FA 2 will launch from the ski jump of an invincible class carrier and fly to RAF St. Athan, in Wales, where it will be placed in permanent storage. This event will signal the end of an era in British aviation that stretches back some 90 years, and includes such illustrious types as the Camel, Fury, Hurricane, Spitfire, Hunter and Lightning. The final all-British single-seat fighter will have been retired from frontline service. This volume serves to chronicle the fascinating career of the Sea Harrier. Built almost as an afterthought by British Aerospace to fulfill a Royal Navy requirement that was restricted by the size of its emasculated ‘through deck cruiser’ style Invincible class helicopter carriers, the Sea Harrier had proven its worth in combat over the Falklands within three years of entering frontline service. A Cold War warrior, and a veteran of the more recent policing actions in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf and Sierra Leone, the Sea Harrier now finds itself in the twilight of its career due to swinging budget cuts. Yet despite its advancing years, the FA 2 variant is still the most capable fighter interceptor in Britain, thanks to the partnership forged between its highly effective Blue Vixen radar and awesome US-built AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles. The retirement of the Sea Harrier will once again leave the fleet without a dedicated fixed-wing fighter for the best part of a decade. The release of this volume in 2005 will coincide with the final airshow season attendance of the Sea Harrier. The ‘SHAR’ is a much loved airshow performer, and there will no doubt be considerable attention focused on the jet by the British public. As well as extensive archive material and images from Sea Harrier pilots through their careers, the volume will be illustrated with recent air-to-air ground material taken by Jamie Hunter during the last two years of Sea Harrier operations.

Sea Harrier Over the Falklands
Sea Harrier Over the Falklands

BAE/McDonnell Douglas Harrier
BAE/McDonnell Douglas Harrier

High-Tech Military Weapons: Jet Fighter: The Harrier AV-8B
High-Tech Military Weapons: Jet Fighter: The Harrier AV-8B

Boeing/BAE Harrier
Boeing/BAE Harrier

This volume provides exceptional technical analysis of a fascinating aircraft. It details the aircraft’s innovative engineering, McDonnell Douglas’ design of the Big-Wing Harrier and its solutions to difficult problems, combat in the Falklands, Marine AV-8 Harriers, and more.

The AV-8B Harrier Jump Jet

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