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HARRIER II PLUS CLOSER TO COMPLETION FOLLOWING GOVERNMENT SIGNATURE; AGREEMENT WILL EXTEND McDONNELL DOUGLAS HARRIER II PLUS LINE

HARRIER II PLUS CLOSER TO COMPLETION FOLLOWING GOVERNMENT SIGNATURE;
 AGREEMENT WILL EXTEND McDONNELL DOUGLAS HARRIER II PLUS LINE
 ST. LOUIS, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A tri-national memorandum of understanding (MOU) on production of a radar-equipped AV-8B, known as Harrier II Plus, is a step closer to completion following a March 4 signature by the U.S. government.
 The agreement, which will clear the way for extension of the McDonnell Douglas Harrier II Plus line, needs a final signature from the Spanish government, anticipated later this month. The Italian government was the first of the three-nation international partnership to sign the MOU, on Feb. 7.
 The production MOU is a government-to-government agreement, which sets forth program management, contracts procedures and work share directives regarding Harrier II Plus production and support systems, including training and maintenance. The agreement is a follow-on to a 1990 MOU among the three nations that authorized radar integration and development for the Harrier II Plus.
 An international collaborative program, the Harrier II Plus will be built in cooperation by industrial partners in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. The program will maintain current industrial partners McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD), British Aerospace, Rolls-Royce and Smiths Industries, while adding Hughes Aircraft Co. for the APG-65 radar, Alenia in Italy and Construcciones Aeronauticas, S.A. (CASA) in Spain. Italy and Spain will each receive a 15 percent stake in total program value. Total program value could exceed $3 billion.
 The AV-8B Harrier II program has set the standard for international military aircraft collaboration, dating back to a 1979 agreement with British Aerospace to develop an improved short takeoff/vertical landing jet based on the British company's AV-8A Harrier. The U.S. Marine Corps and the Royal Air Force became the first customers for the resulting aircraft, the AV-8B Harrier II. Spain was the next nation to fly the Harrier II, receiving a total of 12 during 1986-87. In August 1991, Italy received two TAV-8B two-seat trainers, to begin preparing its naval aviators to fly the Harrier II Plus.
 The Harrier II Plus program itself reached a new high in international collaboration, with funding growing out of an amendment introduced in 1985 by Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The goal of the Nunn Amendment (Sec. 1103 of Public Law 99-145) was to develop funds to assist the United States in generating military programs with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies. The Harrier II Plus program received $17 million in Nunn Amendment funding during 1990 and 1991, an investment expected to generate nearly $1 billion from Italy and Spain alone.
 To date, 24 Harrier II Plus aircraft are under contract for delivery during 1993-94. Final signatures on the production MOU will clear the way for additional orders. The Italian Navy has indicated an initial need for 16 Harrier II Plus aircraft, with an option for eight more. The Spanish Navy also wants eight Harrier II Plus, along with a TAV-8B trainer jet. In addition, the U.S. Marine Corps and Spanish Navy are interested in a remanufacturing program to bring current Harrier II fleets up to Harrier II Plus standards, with radar and night attack systems and a more powerful engine.
 The Harrier II Plus full-scale development aircraft will be delivered to the Marine Corps this fall. Production deliveries will begin in the spring of 1993.
 -0- 3/16/92
 /CONTACT: Kim Kitson of McDonnell Aircraft, 314-234-7146/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas Corp. ST: Missouri IN: ARO SU:


KJ -- LA022 -- 8359 03/16/92 13:25 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1992
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