Harrier Vertical Takeoff
McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II
Regular jet fighters, even the ones designed as carrier aircraft need a considerable airstrip length to perform a takeoff. The Harrier jet and its numerous variations is able to lift off the ground vertically, needing little to no space (such as a parking lot), depending on the added weight.
- First developed by Hawker Aircraft, from the UK with the help of Bristol Engine, the Harrier was and remained a subsonic fighter, even though manufacturing companies placed much more emphasis on supersonic aircraft after the 1960’s.
- Since its inception, the Harrier was also manufactured by US companies like McDonnell Douglas and Boeing.
With the advantage of being deployed from areas that don’t represent strategic or tactical targets, the Harrier jet, which can only achieve vertical lift off if not fully loaded with ordinance, is still in the service of the UK, US, Spain and India, among others. Production of new units has been stopped in 1997.