Single-seat, day/night attack aircraft. The BAe/Boeing Harrier is a true tactical aircraft in every sense of the word. Harrier has the distinction of being the only operational combat jet, that can take-off and land vertically. Though it is not often operated in this capacity, V/STOL makes the Harrier ideal for ship-board operations and from the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA).
The GR9 (ground-attack, reconnaissance) is the RAF's latest variant of the Harrier. New airframe improvements, weapons capability and engines mark it as a significant improvement over the previous GR7. GR9A aircraft feature the newer, more-powerful Pegasus Mk107 engine for better hot and high performance in places like Afghanistan.
FOr the last forty years, Harrier has gone to war in every theatre the Royal Air Force and Navy have fought. Most recent participation has been in Iraq and in Afghanistan, in the War on Terror. Royal Navy and Air Force harrier assets were combined in 2006 to form the Joint Harrier Task Force. Harrier GR9/A is expected to remain in service until around 2018, when it is thought the Joint Strike Fighter will be fully operational in British service.
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