AV-8B Harrier II

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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, in March 2013, consisted 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).


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 2020 & FY 2021 - AV-8B DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

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

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