McDonnell Douglas / BAE AV-8B Harrier II Plus . AV-8B Harrier II Plus Marine Corps close support and air superiority fighter. Also known as the "jump jet". The model features a sliding canopy with detailed cockpit with room for a minifigure, opening radome with radar antenna, working landing gear and wingtip "pogo" gear, rotating exhaust nozzles, positionable airbrakes and flight control surfaces including ailerons, flaps, all moving horizontal stabilators, and a positionable inflight refueling probe. . UPDATE - The main image represents the revised Harrier II Plus model. The below pictures will be updated as they are re-rendered with the new changes.
The AV-8B is a high performance, single-engine, single-seat, Vertical/Short Take-off and Landing (V/STOL) attack aircraft. It was introduced to the Fleet Marine Forces (FMF) in January 1985 after a successful prototype demonstration and Full Scale Development Program. Consistent with the long-standing Marine Corps vision of attaining an all V/STOL amphibious force, the AV-8B replaced both the A-4M and AV-8A/C -- the light attack portion of the Marine Tactical Aircraft (TACAIR) force. The AV-8B Harrier II Plus was introduced in July 1993 as the newest production AV-8B, achieving Initial Operating Capability in August 1997.
Side view of the left side of the model, showing the general arrangement of the landing gear system and stance of the aircraft on the ground. The landing gear doors open only during extension or retraction of the gear. A small opening and door exist for the gear to protrude thru the fuselage while keeping the actual gear bay closed. This not only keeps foreign debris out of the gear bays, but prevents them from interfering with the ground effect from the down wash of the exhaust during the critical V/STOL portion of the flight (itself the largest source of Harrier accidental losses).
The AV-8B was designed primarily to improve upon the performance and handling qualities of the AV-8A/C. It was a new design, with composite structures, a bigger wing, higher engine thrust and reliability, and state-of-the-art avionics; however, it did retain the fundamental single-engine, vectored exhaust nozzle configuration of its predecessor. Where possible, and within tight budgetary and schedule constraints, the prime contractors were also challenged to improve reliability and maintainability (R&M). At the time R&M was a much stronger design driver in the ongoing F/A-18 development program.
Digital render of two of the model in flight with one performing a high G breakaway while ejecting flares to decoy a heat seeking missile.
As hoped, the flying qualities, performance and warfighting capabilities of the AV-8B proved to be dramatic improvements over those of the AV-8A/C. Although hampered by some significant susceptibility and vulnerability deficiencies, the AV-8B, with its flexible basing, high sortie generation capability and accurate weapon system acquitted itself admirably under combat conditions in the Persian Gulf. However, by the end of 1991, the cumulative (non-combat) mishap rate was disappointingly high at more than 14 per 100,000 flight hours for its first seven operational years.
Top view of the model. Note the sweepback of the wings, and the double layered flap system. The Harrier uses conventional ailerons for roll control, and large flaps for extra lift at slow approach speeds. At the tips of the wings are puff ports for roll control when in V/STOL mode. The black squares on the spine of the model at the forward edge of the vertical stabilizer are chaff/flare dispensers.
By 1998, approximately 50% of the Marine Corp's single-seat AV-8Bs and six two-seat TAV-8B's were configured with the 408A engine. A Department of Defense (DoD) decision to retrofit all of the TAV-8Bs with the 408A not only provides increased thrust - thereby providing a larger margin for safety - but improves maintainability within the FRS. It also provides an opportunity to establish a common engine for the entire Harrier community. However, some of the important planned maintenance and logistics support features of the new engine had yet to be realized. The EMS was initially only partially fielded, with no usable ground stations for retrieval of data available at the squadron level, and neither the RCM nor the modular maintenance programs had been adequately funded.
Closeup of the model, with the fan blade of the Rolls Royce Pegasus turbine engine visible inside the large port intake. The wings and horizontal stabilizers have a 10 degree anhedral angle.
The fighter version of the aircraft is manned by a single pilot; a two-seat trainer with the full military capability of the single seater is also available. As with so many modern jet fighters, the Harrier is equipped with zero-zero ejection seats; that is, crew escape is possible on the runway at zero altitude and zero speed.
Bottom view showing the extended landing gear and gearbays (usually closed, open here for viewing), extended airbrakes, exhaust nozzles, ventral cannon and ammo pod, armament, and general shape of the fuselage. The Harrier II Plus has room for another weapons pylon mounted ahead of the wing "pogo" gears, usually carrying an AIM-120 AMRAAM air to air missile.
The current Radar/Night Attack Harrier, or Harrier II+, has all the improvements of the Night Attack aircraft plus the AN/APG-65 multi-mode radar. The fusion of night and radar capabilities allows the Harrier to be responsive to the MAGTF's needs for expeditionary, night and adverse weather, offensive air support. The AN/APG-65(V)2 tactical airborne radar system is based on existing specifications for F/A-18 Aircraft; it provides the AV-8B multi-target tracking capability and the ability to perform air-to-air and air-to surface weapons delivery in conditions of marginal visibility, day or night.
Bottom view of the model, showing the detailed landing gear, airbrakes, fore and aft exhaust nozzles, ventral 25mm gun pod system, armament including 2 AIM-9 Sidewinder air to air missiles, 2 AGM-65D Maverick air to ground missiles, and 6 Mk 82 500 lb general purpose bombs.
In the Radar Aircraft, the AN/APG-65(V)2 Radar System is based on the existing specifications for F/A-18 Aircraft, but tailored for AV-8B missions. Current AV-8B specifications for the radar include a downsized antenna, two modified Shop Replaceable Assemblies (SRA), and commonality with existing items to the maximum extent without compromising performance or mission reliability. The radar modes originally developed in the F/A-18 AN/APG-65(V)2 Radar System were retained, and provide the Radar Aircraft, in conjunction with the Radar Aircraft?s night-attack systems, extended tracking capabilities to perform air-to-air and air-to-surface operations in marginal visibility conditions, day or night. The AN/APG-65(V)2 Radar is a tactical airborne radar system developed by Hughes, Inc.
View of the open radome with the AN/APG-65(V)2 radar antenna, and the naval style probe and drogue inflight refueling probe extended. The cockpit canopy can slide rearwards to open, as shown here. The small antenna on the lower part of the model's nose is one of two pitot tubes for the aircraft's instruments.
To remain responsive to fleet needs, older Day Attack AV-8Bs are being remanufactured to the Radar/Night Attack Harrier II+ standard. Plans called for 72 Harriers to undergo remanufacture through FY 2001, reusing major assemblies and components of the Day Attack aircraft in combination with new production structure, systems, and engines. In addition, the Marine Corps was considering remanufacture of an additional 24 aircraft, to be completed by 2003.
Rear underside view of the model with the gear lowered and the flaps and exhaust nozzles in the VTOL position. The black squares on the belly behind the rear airbrake, and on the aircraft spine at the base of the vertical stabilizer are chaff/flare ejection ports. The round ports on the tail stub are part of the "puffer" system for aircraft control during VTOL flight, that port redirected jet exhaust for marginal control in all 3 axis when hovering.
The ongoing "remanufacture" program, in which 72 Day Attack aircraft from the existing inventory are being rebuilt to the Radar/ Night Attack standard, extends the service life of these Harrier aircraft into the new century, and greatly improves their warfighting capabilities. Existing Harriers are also being upgraded through the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. The Open Systems-Common Architecture program will replace the existing Harrier mission computer with a COTS system that is affordable and easily upgraded and maintained.
Underside view of the model with the landing gear retracted and exhaust nozzles in the flight position.
Info courtesy air-attack.com.
Manufacturer(s) McDonnell Douglass/ Boeing
Country UK & USA
Role V/STOL Ground Attack Fighter
Powerplant Rolls-Royce F402-RR-408 (1x)
Thrust 23,800 lbs 106kN
Length 46.4 (ft)
Height 11.9 (ft)
Wingspan 30.4 (ft)
Weight (empty) 12,500 (lbs)
Max t/o weight n/a
Rate of climb
Speed 629 (mph)
Ceiling 50,000 (ft)