Developed in Great Britain by Hawker Siddeley (later part of British Aerospace) the Harrier is one of only two vertical/short takeoff and landing jets to go into full production. First placed in service by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy the Harrier first saw combat in the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. The United States Marine Corps first ordered the Harrier in 1969 with the first deliveries in 1971. The AV-8C designation indicates an upgrade to the original AV-8A. In the United States the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft company produced the advanced AV-8B version of the Harrier for the USMC and foreign customers. It is the AV-8B version that the Marines took into combat during the 1990 Gulf War. The Harrier’s ability to operate from small forward airfields decreases turn around and flight times allowing the plane to spend more time over the battle lines providing close air support to the ground troops.
VMA-513, Yuma MCAS, Yuma, Arizona, 1985
Pima Air & Space Museum