As the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and Royal Navy are preparing to begin operational deployment of the new F–35B Lightning II Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) version of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), it is to important to remember that it was a predecessor aircraft that made the STOVL JSF possible: the Harrier. The British and American variants of this pioneering STOVL strike fighter, still serve today as their replacement begins to come online. And while they were proving the viability and value of STOVL strike fighter operations, the various models of the Harrier also accumulated an impressive combat/service record of their own. From the Falklands and the Balkans, to the Persian Gulf and Africa, Harriers have done impressive work for a number of nations, especially the United States. Often their operations have gone unnoticed or not been reported, with public perceptions of the Harrier drawn from airshow appearances.
To learn more about the AV-8 Harrier and it's pioneering STOVL/combat operations, join military historian, author and journalist John D. Gresham (@greshamj01) for Military Monday (#MilitaryMonday on @Writestream) at 1 p.m. Eastern. He will be joined by U.S. Naval Institue Press (@USNIPress) writer Lon Nordeen, author of Harrier II: Validating V/STOL, along with LCol. Ted Herman, USMC (Ret.), a former AV-8B Squadron Commander (VMA-542) and Desert Storm veteran. Together they will discuss the history of the AV-8 Harrier in USMC service, and how the aircraft evolved in the decades since a moment at a European airshow where a Marine officer reportedly said, “We're here to fly the Harrier.” Listeners are encouraged to: an offer questions during what will certainly be a lively hour recalling one of the most unique combat aircraft in military history.
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