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The Harrier II jet saw conflict in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Gulf War), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War). The aircraft has matured into a multi-role platform through the addition of a night vision system, radar, an external targeting pod and new laser-guided weapons. In the 1970s the USMC bought the AV-8A Harrier from the UK to test V/STOL concepts for close air support. A successful funding battle was subsequently fought in the 1980s to secure military, political and economic support to expand this concept to develop and field the second generation AV-8B Harrier II from the late 1980s onward. The AV-8B was, and still is, the only tactical aircraft that could deploy with Marine forces on amphibious assault ships and provide air cover and close air support separate from large deck aircraft carriers. Having seen action in-theatre during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the Harrier II was heavily involved in action once again over Iraq from March 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom I/II. In the initial conflict, some 76 AV-8s were deployed - providing more than 40 per cent of the 3rd Marine Air Wing's fixed-wing offensive firepower. Around 60 of these aircraft were sea-based aboard four 'Harrier carriers', while two units flew from Ahmed al Jaber, in Kuwait. Unlike in 1991, when the Harrier II units employed unguided weapons - dumb bombs, cluster bombs and napalm - in 2003 79 per cent of the ordnance dropped was precision-guided. This was primarily due to the AV-8B's upgrading into Night Attack or radar-equipped configuration, and introduction of the Litening targeting pod. Following the occupation of Iraq by Coalition troops, the Harrier IIs remained in-theatre supporting anti-insurgent operations through to 2008 as part of OIF II. Flying from Al Asad, or 'Harrier carriers' in the Northern Arabian Gulf, these units saw considerable action in southern and western Iraq. This book is the second of three volumes on USMC Harrier IIs in combat, and it will be the first volume in print to cover the whole story of the AV-8B's service employment in Iraq.
In the 1970s the USMC bought the AV-8A Harrier from the UK to test V/STOL concepts for close air support. A successful funding battle was subsequently fought in the 1980s to secure military, political and economic support to expand this concept to develop and field the second generation AV-8B Harrier II from the late 1980s onward. The AV-8B was, and still is, the only tactical aircraft that could deploy with Marine forces on amphibious assault ships and provide air cover and close air support separate from large deck aircraft carriers. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, a coalition of nations launched Operation Desert Shield in order to defend Saudi Arabia. The Harrier II was among the first tactical air assets to be deployed to the region to support ground forces in their efforts to halt the advance of Iraqi forces at the border with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. During Operation Desert Storm, the five units flying the AV-8B in-theatre became some of the top tactical squadrons of choice by air mission planners for allied battlefield preparation and close air support. This was due to the AV-8B's capabilities, proximity to the battle zone and the proven abilities of Marine pilots and forward air controllers, who were closely integrated with ground forces and knew their business so well. The untold story of the AV-8B in this conflict is vividly brought to life by the author through firsthand accounts and period photography sourced from those that were there, as well as official archives. This is planned to be the first of three volumes on USMC Harrier IIs in combat, with follow-on titles covering the jet's operations in Iraq in 2003-08 and Afghanistan in 2001-2009.
Step onto the battlefield and immerse yourself in the experience of real historic combat. Designed for the battlefields of Europe at the height of the Cold War, the M60 and T-62 were the premier combat tanks of their day. However, it was in the deserts of the Middle East that they finally met in battle. This new Duel title examines the design and development of these main battle tanks, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and describing and analyzing their performance on the battlefield during the Yom Kippur War, the Iran-Iraq War, and the first Gulf War. Included are color photographs, cutaway artwork, and original illustrations by Richard Chasemore. It's a must-read for fans of the evolution of armored warfare.
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