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MCDONNELL DOUGLAS DELIVERS FIRST UPGRADED HARRIER

 ST. LOUIS, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonnell Douglas delivered the first production radar-equipped Harrier II Plus aircraft on April 18, two weeks ahead of contract schedule.
 The Harrier II Plus aircraft was delivered to the U.S. Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, Calif., where it will undergo weapons system testing. The first production aircraft made its first flight on March 17, a full month ahead of contract schedule.
 Last September, a Harrier II Plus test aircraft made the first- ever Harrier II Plus flight, five weeks ahead of contract schedule.
 "This delivery is yet another milestone demonstrating that the Harrier II Plus is a low-risk upgrade program," said Pat Finneran, vice president and general manager of the AV-8.
 The Harrier II Plus adds the combat-proven APG-65 radar system to the current AV-8B Harrier II vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft. The radar, working in conjunction with the aircraft's night-attack systems, increases the pilot's ability to perform missions in periods of darkness and allows the pilot to operate in adverse weather.
 The Harrier II Plus was developed under a tri-national agreement between the United States, Italy and Spain. The United States has ordered 27 Harrier II Plus aircraft, while Italy has ordered 16 aircraft with an option for eight more. In addition, Spain authorized the purchase of eight Harrier II Plus aircraft for the Spanish navy in March.
 The Navy and Marine Corps are also pursuing the remanufacturing of day-attack Harrier IIs already in inventory, to convert them into Harrier II Plus aircraft. By adding the APG-65 radar and night- attack systems and by replacing the engine, fuselage and other structures, remanufacturing can provide greatly improved capabilities and a new service life at approximately two-thirds the cost of a new Harrier II Plus aircraft.
 -0- 4/23/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Schlueter of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 314-233-6232/


CO: McDonnell Douglas Aerospace ST: Missouri IN: ARO SU:

JB -- LA009 -- 0036 04/23/93 12:08 EDT
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Date:Apr 23, 1993
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