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1/48 Hasegawa AV-8B Harrier II Plus

1/48 Hasegawa AV-8B Harrier II Plus

Regular price $30.99 USD
Regular price $46.99 USD Sale price $30.99 USD
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Touted as the worlds first successful V/STOL attack aircraft, the Harrier first flew over 40 years ago in 1960. An aircraft of this type was not only eagerly awaited by the British, but also by the US Army and the Germans. The Army and Germans opted out after the initial P.1127 Kestrels were flown for a while, but the US Marines stepped in as it seemed to be something they would be interested in. Other than a few NASA planes, all Harriers built in and for the US have been Marine Corps planes.

The original AV-8A/C aircraft entered service with the Marines some time in the late 1970s and were put through their paces. While they were not that difficult to operate and showed a lot of promise, they were constricted by a rather limited payload. Not wanting to let this hamper things, McDonnell/Douglas went a step farther and developed the AV-8B which, along with a more powerful engine, had a larger airframe and the ability to carry a greater payload than the earlier Harrier. The British saw the wisdom in this and opted into the program for the very similar Harrier GR.5 and later aircraft.

AV-8Bs started entering Marine service in 1985 and have been continually upgraded and improved with each subsequent batch. One of the latest is the Harrier II plus which adds a radar system to it for the first time in US Harrier operations. This allows the Harrier to actually perform as a viable air to air aircraft as well as improving ground attack capabilities. It doesn't hurt that it is basically the same radar as carried in the Hornet so there is some system savings in that regard. The most important addition other than the new radar is that the Harrier II plus is now AMRAAM capable and that gives it BVR capabilities only dreamt of a decade earlier.
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