General Info

McDonnell Douglas
AV-8B Harrier II

Role V/STOL ground-attack aircraft
National origin United States / United Kingdom
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas /
British Aerospace Boeing / BAE Systems
First flight YAV-8B: 9 November 1978
AV-8B: 5 November 1981
Introduction January 1985
Status In service Primary users United States Marine Corps Italian Navy Spanish Navy
Produced 1981–2003
Number built AV-8B: 337 (excluding the YAV-8B)
Developed from Hawker Siddeley Harrier
Variants British Aerospace Harrier II

History Boeing Military
McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier family, capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL). The aircraft is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance. The AV-8B is used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy. A variant of the AV-8B, the British Aerospace Harrier II, was developed for the British military, while another, the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer.

The AV-8B Harrier II is a subsonic attack aircraft of metal and composite construction that retains the basic layout of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, with horizontal stabilizers and shoulder-mounted wings featuring prominent anhedral (downward slope). The aircraft is powered by a single Rolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan engine, which has two intakes and four synchronized vectorable nozzles close to its turbine. Two of these nozzles are located near the forward, cold end of the engine and two are near the rear, hot end of the engine. This arrangement contrasts with most fixed-wing aircraft, which have engine nozzles only at the rear. The Harrier II also has smaller valve-controlled nozzles in the nose, tail, and wingtips to provide control at low airspeeds.

The technological advances incorporated into the Harrier II, compared with the original Harrier, significantly reduce the workload on the pilot. The supercritical wing, hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) control principle, and increased engineered lateral stability make the aircraft fundamentally easier to fly. Ed Harper, general manager for the McDonnell Douglas Harrier II development program, summarizes: "The AV-8B looks a lot like the original Harrier and it uses the same operating fundamentals. It just uses them a lot better". A large cathode-ray tube multi-purpose display, taken from the F/A-18, makes up much of the instrument panel in the cockpit. It has a wide range of functions, including radar warning information and weapon delivery checklist. The pilots sit on UPC/Stencel 10B zero-zero ejection seats, meaning that they are able to eject from a stationary aircraft at zero altitude









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McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Length:  (14.12 m)
  • Wingspan:  (9.25 m)
  • Height: (3.55 m)
  • Wing area: 243.4 sq ft (22.61 m2)




  • Maximum speed: (673 mph, 1,083 km/h)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.9
  • Range:  (1,400 mi, 2,200 km)
  • Combat range:  (350 mi, 556 km)
  • Ferry range:  (2,100 mi, 3,300 km)
  • Rate of climb: 14,700 ft/min (75 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 94.29 lb/sq ft (
  • Thrust/weight: 0.948


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McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II

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AV-8B Harrier II

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