The AV-8B Harrier II is the U.S. military’s only short takeoff, vertical landing jet aircraft in current inventory. Originally flown in the late 1960s, the Harrier has undergone a series of improvements that have increased safety, range and lethality. The AV-8B is a key component of the Marine Corps’ “all STOVL force” concept, allowing Marines to be supported in austere conditions in expeditionary environments.
The AV-8B V/STOL strike aircraft was designed to replace the AV-8A and the A-4M light attack aircraft. The Marine Corps requirement for a V/STOL light attack force has been well documented since the late 1950s. Combining tactical mobility, responsiveness, reduced operating cost and basing flexibility, both afloat and ashore, V/STOL aircraft are particularly well suited to the special combat and expeditionary requirements of the Marine Corps. The AV-8BII+ features the APG-65 radar common to the F/A-18, as well as all previous systems and features common to the AV-8BII.