The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in a Museum

British Aerospace AV-8C Harrier

Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum - Joy of Museums 12

Most aircraft require long runways or an aircraft carrier’s powerful catapults to get airborne. This British-designed Harrier “Jump Jet” used vectored-thrust technology to take-off and land vertically. The British Aerospace Harrier was capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL).

The first Harrier flew for the the British Royal Navy (RN) in 1967 and saw combat during the Falkland War in 1982. The Harrier II participated in numerous conflicts, making significant contributions in combat theatres such as Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The US Marine Corps realised the Harrier’s potential and purchased Harriers from Britain in 1970 -71. The aircraft in the picture above was part of the Marine Corps original order of Harrier Mk Is. It was upgraded with more powerful engines and electronics and designated AV – 8C.

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II was a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that was the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family. The AV-8B was used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy.

The Harrier’s unique ability to land and takeoff vertically ensured it was featured in films such as the James Bond “The Living Daylights” (1987) and “True Lies” (1994)

Essential Facts:

  • Name:                     British Aerospace Harrier
  • Role:                        Vertical/short takeoff and landing strike aircraft
  • National origin:    United Kingdom / United States
  • Manufacturer:      British Aerospace / McDonnell Douglas, BAE Systems / Boeing
  • First flight:            1967 (first version)
  • Introduction:        1980’s
  • Unit cost:               US$24–30 million (1996)
  • Developed from:  Hawker Siddeley Harrier; McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II
  • Museum:                Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum

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“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons