AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft. (U.S. Navy Photo by CDR Ian Anderson)
AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft. (U.S. Navy Photo by Michael McGinnis)
The AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft is a transonic, single cockpit, single engine, jet propelled day/night tactical fighter built by Boeing for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), Spanish Navy and Italian Navy. The aircraft is powered by a Rolls Royce axial-flow, twin-spool turbofan engine. Four exhaust nozzles can be positioned and controlled for vertical take off and short take off and landings. The aircraft features shoulder-mounted swept wings with trailing-edge flaps and ailerons. Weapons and sensors may be carried on six wing-mounted pylons and one centerline pylon. The flight controls are hydraulically powered to provide the desired control effectiveness throughout the speed range. There are three variants of the AV-8B aircraft: Night Attack, Radar and Trainer. VX-31 currently maintains five AV-8B Harriers - two Night Attack and three Radar variants.
All Harrier variants are capable of carrying and delivering a wide range of air-to-surface weapons. GPS-guided, laser-guided and general purpose bombs make up the majority of the aircraft’s operational payload. Rockets, precision guided missiles, illumination flares, cluster munitions and other special ordnance supplement the aircraft’s capability. The Litening targeting pod remains a critical target detection, recognition and designation system. Additionally, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAA and 25mm gun weapons are utilized. The aircraft is designed to perform all Offensive Air Support missions and a subset of Anti-Air Warfare missions.
VX-31 supports the Joint Systems Support Activity (JSSA) and Operational Test Agencies (COMOPTEVFOR) through the Integrated Test Team concept. The AV-8B JSSA is responsible for the test and evaluation of new or improved aircraft and weapon system capabilities for the AV-8B Harrier, including all aspects of development from initial conception to final flight test efforts. Additionally, the JSSA provides continuing fleet support for hardware and software integration issues experienced by operational squadrons. COMOPTEVFOR is responsible for the operational test and evaluation of all hardware and software modifications. At VX-31, these efforts are completed with maximum efficiency under the Integrated Test Team concept where both agencies share test events and data. These efforts have provided numerous additional capabilities to the AV-8B, giving the fleet Harrier squadrons increased combat power in a significantly shorter time.
Test capabilities include internally and externally mounted instrumentation equipment that records multiplex bus data and cockpit audio and video, and transmits telemetry data streams. VX-31 Harriers perform all test and evaluation functions to include flying qualities, envelope expansion, propulsion, weapons carriage and separation, software developments and integration, fleet support, and Operation Test and Evaluation. The AV-8B will remain combat-relevant well into the 2020 decade.
Last Update 06-Sep-2013 9:55