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The Hawker Harrier had a long evolution from the P1127, through the Kestrel, to today's AV-8B based aircraft. As the first combat ready Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft it has proved its worth around the world in many conflicts. Its ability to operate from tiny locations, be that a supply ship deck or a back street alleyway, has allowed it to be employed in ways that no other fixed wing aircraft can be. The original Harrier was bought by the RAF, US Marine Corps and the Spanish Navy. McDonald-Douglas partnered with British Aerospace (which had merged with Hawker) to build the AV-8A, and ultimately lead the development of the AV-8B, a much larger aircraft, the basis for the current Harrier GR-5. The Royal Navy also bought a version of the Harrier called the Sea Harrier, fitted with the Blue Fox radar and a taller cockpit layout.

RAF Conningsby, a GR 5. 1998

USAF Kestrel, USAF Museum, Dayton OH (Oct 2004)


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