The U. S. Marine Corps received today, the first of its newest close air support?
The U. S. Marine Corps received today, the first of its newest close air support jet aircraft, the AV-8A MARRIER.
The HARRIER is the only operational jet in the world with a vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capability. Introduced into military service by the Royal Air Force in April 1969 and deployed with NATO Forces, HARRIER represents the culmination of 10 years research and development in V/STOL technology by the British government.
The Hawker-Siddeley HARRIER is a single seat, single fan-jet, transonic, light attack aircraft powered by a Rolls Royce Bristol Pegasus engine. The Pegasus turbo-fan uses thrust vectoring for translation from vertical flight to wing-borne flight.
The Marine Corps was authorized 12 HARRIERS by Congress for Fiscal Year 1970, with an additional 18 HARRIERS authorized for Fiscal Year 1971. The Marine Corps program calls for procurement of the aircraft through Fiscal Year 1974. This would provide three operational squadrons and one training squadron.
The Marine Corps will give up one F-4 squadron for each HARRIER squadron they bring aboard. The HARRIER will be armed with Sidewinder missiles, 30mm guns and a variety of bombs and rockets.
The V/STOL close support jet will provide the Marine Corps with the capability to operate from amphibious ships and austere forward bases ashore close to ground troops. Old runways, roads, or any hard surfaced area can be HARRIER's base.
The initial four HARRIERS received from Hawker-Siddeley will undergo required tests at the Naval Air Test Centre, Patuxent River, Maryland. Performance, flying qualities, carrier suitability and weapons suitability will be explored. The tests are expected to be completed by mid-April.
The first operational squadron to receive the HARRIER will be Marine Attack Squadron 513 (VMA-513), Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina.