Aircraft in Detail 011: Bae Systems Harrier II
Author: Duke Hawkins
Publisher HMH Publications
Price $35.00 from 
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
Notes: 140 pages, paperback, 9.45 x 9.45 inches
ISBN 978-2-931083-00-0

Though this is not a new series, this is the first volume I've seen. It is basically a photo book series of fairly modern aircraft. Much of what you will find within are full color photos of not only the overall aircraft but also detail photos of various parts of the subject.

The Harrier II was basically a development of the original Harrier by McDonnell/Douglas which included an upgraded engine, new wing and avionics. The new wing is what really improved the aircraft as it allowed for more hardpoints and more ordnance. The British saw the benefits of this upgrade and developed their own version of the AV-8B as the GR.5/7/9 series. Both Italy and Spain assembled AV-8Bs for their own Navy.

Since this is a British book, it concentrates on the RAF's Harrier II with some areas of the book featuring USMC and Spanish aircraft. We are provided a look at the differences between the Harrier GR.7/9, AV-8B Night Attack and AV-8B Plus, the latter having a full radar, which is not provided on other versions. The RAF no longer flies the Harrier II, the type being retired due to budget issues in late 2010. RAF's Harrier fleet was sold to the US in order to provide a source of spares for the AV-8B fleet. It was originally thought that the USMC would fly the GR.9s, but that never happened. It was a fortunate purchase due to the continuing delays in equipping with F-35s and has been able to keep the US fleet operational.

Most of the book is straight eye candy and when it gets down to detail stuff (landing gear, cockpit, etc) there are still a lot of overall images. The only parts that are all detail images are on the engine and a section on maintenance. All of the images in the book are in full color, making this a visually interesting book and a real boon for modelers. A nice touch are images of Spanish AV-8Bs, and it would have been nice to include an Italian plane or two. I should also mention that there are a few, but not many, images of the Harrier T.10/12.

Overall, it makes for a superb photo book on the last of the Harriers and one that I can easily recommend.

September 2020

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