|Entered service in||1983|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||9 m|
|Maximum speed||1 060 km/h|
|Flying range||2 500 km|
|Aviation gun||25-mm gun GAU-12/U "Equalizer"|
|Missiles||AIM-9 "Sidewinder", "Maverick", HAP, FFAR, "Hydra".|
|Bombs||3 - 6 t|
AV-8B vertical take off and landing aircraft first attracted public attention at the end of 60-ties when US Marine corpus ordered 20 aircrafts AV-8A "Harrier". In conclusion US Marine corpus got 100 aircrafts AV-8A which were mostly built under license by McDonnell-Douglas. Aircraft served well for Navy marines supporting them in landing operations and hardly reachable world regions.
McDonnell-Douglas continued modernizing aircraft. New wing construction was created, modified Rolls-Royce engine. This new modification got indexation AV-8B "Harrier II". Navy marines acquired 320 this modification fighters, including 28 two-seat trainers.
AV-8B is able to take off and land vertically. It can also use take off runway as a usual aircraft. Fuselage and wings can stand 9.5 t load more than it's limit at vertical take off. Aircraft can also carry additional armament or fuel tanks in overall 15 t weight with usual (not vertical) take off. "Harrier II" stays undistinguished in perfect flying characteristics such as speed and flying range. However it is less important then it's ability to support infantry forces notwithstanding on terrain conditions. Increased load missile, fire power and reliability are the main and the most important AV-8B advantages.
"Harriers II" armament consists from General Electric five barrel 25-mm rotary gun GAU-12/U "Equalizer" and a wide specter of missiles and bombs such as AIM-9 "Sidewinder", "Maverick", HAP, FFAR, "Hydra". Six hard points placed under wings and fuselage allow to carry a number of other weapon systems. Aircraft can carry up to sixteen 266-kilogram bombs or various combinations of missiles, reaction projectiles, fuel tanks and radio counteraction equipment.