History of the Museum's "MARINE MACHINE" AV-8B HARRIER II

The AV-8B is an evolutionary improvement of the P-1127, Kestrel (XV-6A) and Harrier (AV-8A). The four exhaust nozzles vector engine thrust for Vertical and Short Take Off and Landing (VSTOL) operations. It can operate from forward sites including roadways or grass fields. The AV-8B can carry a wide variety of ordnance on its seven store stations. It is shown below with two AIM-9 air-to-air Sidewinder missiles, two MK-82 and MK-83 general purpose bombs.  This aircraft type is in service with the United States Marines, The Royal Air Force and the Navies of Spain and Italy.

  • BuNo 161396 (Salty Dog #623), built as the first full-scale development test aircraft (B1), TD support flying qualities, performance and shipboard trials.  
  • The United States Marine's close air support VSTOL aircraft is built by McDonnell Douglas, St. Louis, Missouri. British aerospace, developer of the original Harrier, is the principal subcontractor and Rolls-Royce produces the Pegasus II Turbofan engine.
  • First Flight - 5 Nov 1981 by Charlie Plummer, MCAIR test pilot.
  • First flight at Patuxent River - 29 April 1982.
  • First military flight - 2 June 1982 by Major Mike Nyalko, USMC.
  • First shipboard trials - April 1984 aboard USS Peliliu(LHA-5) by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Nyalko and  Major Rick Priest, USMC.
  • Flown aboard Spanish Navy ship (R-11) - November 1988.
  • Last flight - 20 September 1989 by Captain Glenn Hoppe, USMC.
  • Flown in a total of 746 flights (914 hours) including operations aboard CVA, LHA, LPH and LPD class ships.
  • Presented by the Strike Aircraft AV-8B program office, November 1991. 

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