AV-8B Harrier II

Product Type:

V/STOL Ground-Attack Aircraft

Using Service (US):

Marine Corps (USMC)

Program Status:

No more new aircraft will be purchased.
Focus is on upgrades and sustainment.

Prime Contractor:

Airframe: The Boeing Co.
Aft Fuselage: BAE Systems
Engine: Rolls-Royce

The AV-8B Harrier II

About the AV-8B Harrier II:

The BAE Systems/Boeing AV-8B Harrier II Plus is a single-seat, single-engine, subsonic ground attack fighter aircraft capable of Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing (V/STOL). The Harrier provides the U.S. Marine Corps with a high performance, combat effective and responsive weapon system. The aircraft can operate from ships and austere forward bases in direct support of ground forces. The AV-8B is in service the U.S. Marine Corps and the Spanish and Italian Navies. The United Kingdom Royal Air Force operated their own variant of the Harrier called the GR9 (now retired).

The aircraft is no longer in production and the last new-built Harriers were delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1992. The aircraft's projected service life ends in 2022 or until replaced by F-35B Lightning II STOVL aircraft.

The AV-8B Day Attack variant is powered by a Rolls Royce Pegasus F402-RR-406 turbofan engine with 20,280 pounds of thrust, while the AV-8B Night Attack variant is powered by the Rolls Royce Pegasus F402-RR-408A (22,200 pounds of thrust). The AV-8B is equipped with a Raytheon AN/APG-65 digital radar, which is a jam-resistant, all-weather detection and tracking radar that provides a day/night and adverse weather capability. The AV-8B can also be equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING targeting pod.

The U.S. Marine Corp's active AV-8B inventory, as of March 2013, consists of 134 aircraft vs. 144 in May 2011. There are four major configurations: 16 two-seat T/AV-8B trainer aircraft, 2 Day Attack aircraft, 34 Night Attack aircraft, and 82 Night Attack/RADAR aircraft.

The aircraft made its first flight in May 1968 and achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in July 1971. Over the years, the Harrier II has been deployed in Operation Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom.


The AV-8B Harrier II has seven hardpoints (six under-wing + one under-fuselage) and is equipped with a General Dynamics GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm five-barreled gatling gun and can employ a wide range of ordnance. The aircraft carries General Purpose Bombs, GBU-12/16 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-84 Harpoon/SLAM/SLAM-ER, AGM-88 HARM, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, 2.75" (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets, and GBU-31/38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM). For more detail, see specifications below.


The mission of the AV-8B is to provide close air support for Marine Corps forces in amphibious operations, and direct support of ground forces from austere forward bases.

FY 2014 DoD Program:

Provides procurement funds in the amount of $96.9 million to support AV-8B sustainment.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

Provides procurement funds in the amount of $65.5 million to support AV-8B sustainment. The overall goal of the modifications budgeted in FY 2015 is to continue incorporation of Obsolescence Replacement/Readiness Management Plan systems; electrical and structural changes; upgrade air-to-air weapon system employment and integration components; inventory sustainment and upgrade efforts to offset obsolescence and attrition; incorporation of Litening Pod upgrades; and incorporation of AV-8B F402-RR-408 engine safety and operational changes.

For more information, click to see the Complete FY 2015 Navy AV-8B Budget.

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Boeing Company, BAE Systems,
and Rolls-Royce plc.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

Last Update: June 6, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:

The Boeing Company: AV-8B Harrier II

Raytheon: AN/APG-65 Radar
Northrop Grumman: AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING Targeting Pod

YouTube: AV-8B Harrier II | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: AV-8B Characteristics | Fact Sheet

AV-8B U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the AV-8B Harrier II in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of AV-8B Harrier II Aircraft in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the AV-8B Harrier II

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Modification of AV-8B Aircraft (NAVY)

Aircraft Specifications: AV-8B Harrier II

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Primary Function: Close air support/ground attack
Prime Contractor: Airframe: McDonnell Douglas (The Boeing Co.); Engine: Rolls-Royce
Power Plant:
TAV-8B/AV-8B Day Attack (DA):
1x Rolls Royce Pegasus F402-RR-406 turbofan engine with 20,280 pounds of thrust
AV-8B Night Attack (NA)/AV-8B Radar:
1x Rolls Royce Pegasus F402-RR-408A turbofan engine with 22,200 pounds of thrust
Wingspan: 30 ft 4 in (9.3 m)
Length: 46 ft 4 in (14.1 m)
Height: 11 ft 8 in (3.6 m)
Weight (Empty): 13,968 lbs (6,340 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): Rolling: 31,000 lbs (14,100 kg); Vertical: 20,755 lbs (9,415 kg)
Speed: Max: 585 kts/673 mph (1,083 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 14,700 ft/min (74.7 m/s)
Range: 802 nm/922 miles (1,485 km)
Combat Radius: 300 nm/345 miles (556 km)
Crew: One
Deployed: First Flight: May 1968; Initial Operational Capability (IOC): July 1971
Inventory: Active: 134 AV-8B aircraft, including:
16x Two-seat T/AV-8B trainer aircraft; 2x Day Attack aircraft;
34x Night Attack aircraft; and 82x Night Attack/RADAR aircraft.

1x General Dynamics GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm five-barreled gatling gun.
Typical combinations of ordnance include up to: 4x AIM-9 Sidewinder; or 6x AIM-120 AMRAAM;
or 6x AGM-65 Maverick; or 2x AGM-84 Harpoon, SLAM, SLAM-ER; or 2x AGM-88 HARM.
Other Weapons Carried: Mk 82/84 General Purpose Bombs; GBU-31/38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM);
GBU-12/16 Paveway II Laser-Guided Bombs; Hydra-70 Rockets.

Sensors & Systems:
Raytheon AN/APG-65 Radar
Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING targeting pod

Defense Program

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