U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier Combat Aircraft Crashes in Djibouti

An U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B Harrier ground-attack aircraft crashed during takeoff from Djibouti Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti just after 4:00 p.m. local time on April 3, 2017.

According to the statement from the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), the pilot ejected from the aircraft before it crashed and is receiving medical care.

The aircraft involved in the crash is assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM-162) and is embarked aboard the U.S. Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7).

Doctors said the pilot was in stable condition while being evaluated at Camp Lemonnier’s expeditionary medical facility. There are no reports of injuries to personnel on the ground nor damage to infrastructure at the airport and the airport is open.

The statement added that the cause of the accident is under investigation.

McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II

McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family.

Capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), the aircraft was designed in the late 1970s as an Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational V/STOL aircraft.

Named after a bird of prey, it is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance.

The AV-8B is used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy. A variant of the AV-8B, the British Aerospace Harrier II, was developed for the British military, while another, the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer.

USMC and Italian Navy AV-8Bs are to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, with the former expected to operate its Harriers until 2025.

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