Tuesday, March 21, 2023

US Marines conduct Harrier air-to-air live fire training employment

U.S. Marines with Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 223 conducted live fire air-to-air missile launches with AV-8B Harrier IIs.

AV-8B Harrier II jets assigned to VMA-223 used AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and ADM-141A Tactical Air-Launched Decoys for the pilots to practice air-to-air combat.

Harrier is a unique tactical aircraft that was developed by a team representing McDonnell Douglas, British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce. Its ability to take off vertically makes it one of the most maneuverable combat aircraft in service. It can zoom out of the range of enemy fire extremely quickly.


All Harrier variants are capable of carrying and delivering a wide range of air-to-surface weapons. GPS-guided, laser-guided and general purpose bombs make up the majority of the aircraft’s operational payload. Rockets, precision-guided missiles, illumination flares, cluster munitions and other special ordnance supplements the aircraft’s capability. The Litening targeting pod remains a critical target detection, recognition and designation system. Additionally, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAA and 25mm gun weapons are utilized. The aircraft is designed to perform all Offensive Air Support missions and a subset of Anti-Air Warfare missions.

Two years earlier, officials said the U.S. Marine Corps will continue to be a fourth-gen/fifth-gen fleet out until about 2030, with Harriers probably going to 2028.

Photo by Cpl. Lauren Salmon

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Executive Editor

About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is executive editor of Defence Blog. He is journalist, accredited defense adviser and consultant. READ MORE