Harrier Jump Jet - UK:
The Harrier, informally referred to as the Harrier Jump Jet, is a family of jet-powered attack aircraft capable of vertical/short takeoff and landing operations (V/STOL). Originally developed by UK manufacturer Hawker Siddeley in the 1960s, the Harrier emerged as the only truly successful V/STOL design of the many attempted during that era, despite being a subsonic aircraft, unlike most of its competitors. It was conceived to operate from improvised bases, such as car parks or forest clearings, without requiring large and vulnerable air bases. Later, the design was adapted for use from aircraft carriers.
The Harrier Jump Jet, capable of taking off vertically, can only do so at less than its maximum loaded weight. In most cases, a short take off is performed, using forward speed to achieve aerodynamic lift, which uses fuel more economically than a vertical take off. On aircraft carriers, a ski-jump ramp is employed at the bow of the carrier to assist the aircraft in becoming airborne. Landings are typically performed very differently. Although a conventional landing is possible, the range of speeds at which this can be done is narrow due to relatively vulnerable outrigger undercarriage. Operationally, a near-vertical landing with some forward speed is preferred.
As of June 2015, the F-35B STOVL variant of the F-35 Lightning II (formerly the Joint Strike Fighter) is intended to replace the AV-8B Harrier II in service with the US Marine Corps while the RAF and Royal Navy are scheduled to introduce the F-35B in 2016 with their first F35 unit, 617 Squadron. and the Italian Navy in 2018-2019.
In 2010, it was announced that the RAF and RN would retire their remaining Harriers by 2011, and in December 2010 the RAF's Harrier GR9s made their last operational flights. In June 2011, the MoD denied press reports that the aircraft were to be sold to the US Marine Corps for spares to support their AV-8B fleet. However, at the end of November 2011, the Defence Minister Peter Luff announced the sale of the final 72 Harriers to the US Marine Corps. As many as possible of the 72 Harrier GR9s will be converted to match AV-8B Night Attack configuration to augment the total AV-8B end strength (this will allow the USMC to retire some high-flight-hour F/A-18D aircraft), while the remaining aircraft will be used as spare parts sources for the airworthy fleet. More details
Harrier Jump Jet