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FIRST RADAR-EQUIPPED AV-8B HARRIER II MAKES INAUGURAL FLIGHT

 FIRST RADAR-EQUIPPED AV-8B HARRIER II MAKES INAUGURAL FLIGHT
 ST. LOUIS, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The first radar-equipped AV-8B Harrier II Plus made its inaugural flight today one month ahead of schedule, marking the beginning of a new era for the AV-8 Harrier family of aircraft.
 "The flight of this aircraft represents the successful culmination of the efforts by the United States, Italy and Spain to put a radar into the aircraft," said Pat Finneran, AV-8 general manager at McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD). "This is the best VSTOL (vertical/short takeoff and landing) aircraft available today. Its flexibility is apparent not only on the battlefield but in its ability to be adapted to meet changing needs. It is the U.S. Marine Corps' premier close air support aircraft and plays an important role in U.S. and allied forces maritime operations."
 The first radar-equipped aircraft will undergo a flight test program conducted by a joint U.S. Navy/McDonnell Douglas team. Production deliveries of Harrier II Plus aircraft are scheduled to begin in April 1993 to the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marines will receive a total of 27 Harrier II Plus aircraft.
 Last month, Italy committed to the purchase of 13 Harrier II Plus aircraft and could later execute contract options for eight more. The Italian navy has two TAV-8B trainer aircraft. The Spanish navy, which flies EAV-8B Harrier II aircraft, has expressed interest in eight Harrier II Plus and one TAV-8B trainer aircraft.
 The AV-8B Harrier II Plus is the result of joint radar integration efforts by the United States, Italy and Spain, which also provided funding for the program. In the United States, the program was supported financially in part by the Nunn Amendment. Introduced in 1985 by Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the amendment provides money for military programs developed with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies.
 The Harrier II Plus is distinguished from its predecessors -- day- and night-attack AV-8Bs -- by the Hughes APG-65 radar. The radar, in conjunction with the aircraft's night attack systems, increases the ability of the Marines to provide responsive, accurate close air support in periods of darkness and reduced visibility. It also provides enhanced self-defense and situational awareness for Harrier pilots.
 The Harrier II Plus is equipped with an increased-thrust version of the Rolls-Royce Pegasus 11 engine, designated the F402-RR-408, which is found in night attack Harrier IIs. Its engine life is twice that of its -406 predecessor. It also increases reliability and reduces maintenance and life cycle costs through modular engine construction and new materials.
 The AV-8B Harrier II's maneuverability and unique vertical/short take off and landing capabilities give its users unlimited flexibility in basing operations. For example, the aircraft can take off and land from remote sites such as bomb-damaged runways, roads, clearings and ships.
 The aircraft is currently flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and the Italian and Spanish navies. Its basing flexibility and new multirole capability make it a candidate for the fleets and air forces of other U.S allies.
 -0- 9/22/92
 /CONTACT: Kim Kitson of McDonnell Douglas Government Aerospace, 314-234-1660/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas Government Aerospace ST: Missouri IN: ARO SU:


BP -- LA019 -- 2275 09/22/92 14:53 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 22, 1992
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