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British Aerospace Harrier II

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The British Aerospace Harrier II was a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jet aircraft used previously by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and, between 2006 and 2010, the Royal Navy (RN). The aircraft was the latest development of the Harrier Jump Jet family, and was derived from the McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II. Initial deliveries of the Harrier II were designated in service as Harrier GR5; subsequently upgraded airframes were redesignated accordingly as GR7 and GR9.

Under the Joint Force Harrier organization, both the RAF and RN operated the Harrier II, including routine operational deployments on board the navy's Invincible-class through deck cruisers. The Harrier II participated in numerous conflicts, making significant contributions in combat theatres such as Iraq, South Africa, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. The type's main function was as a platform for air interdiction and close air support missions; the Harrier II was also used for presence projection and reconnaissance duties. The Harrier II served alongside the Sea Harrier in Joint Force Harrier.

The Harrier is being replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II in both RAF and RN service.


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