V/Stol Provides Flexibility for Afghan Concepts of Operations

The vertical lift capability of the Harrier and its coming “replacement” the F-35B provide significant capabilities to support operations in an austere environment such as Afghanistan. One key advantage of the V/STOL is its ability to operate off of the expeditionary airfields which the USMC can build as they fight. The USMC is unique in its ability to build “temporary” airfields to bring their vertical airpower with them to the fight.

This slide show displays photos highlighting Harrier operations in Afghanistan.

Credit: Marine Aircraft Group 40, February 10-13, 2010


  • The first photo shows U.S. Marines refueling two AV-8B Harriers assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 231, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, February 10th, 2010 at Camp Dwyer in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. This marks the first landing of a tactical jet at the newly completed expeditionary runway, which was built by Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, and will increase the combat power provided to MEB-A by shortening the time required to rearm and refuel between missions.
  • The second photo shows U.S. Marines disarm an AV-8B Harrier aircraft assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 231, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan at Camp Dwyer in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
  • The third photo shows U.S. Marines refuelling an AV-8B Harrier assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 231, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan at Camp Dwyer in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
  • The fourth photo shows Sgt. Caleb Bailey, an AV-8B Harrier mechanic for Marine Attack Squadron 231, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, refueling one of the squadron’s Harriers at the flight line here after the aircraft landed during combat operations. This pit stop took just a few minutes to complete, which is roughly a quarter of the amount of time it would have taken the aircraft to fly back to its home base, refuel and return.
  • The fifth photo shows an AV-8B Harrier from Marine Attack Squadron 231, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, utilizing the flight line here in support of combat operations. The squadron can now refuel faster and remain closer to the fight by utilizing this airfield to refuel and rearm aircraft.
  • The final photo shows Marines from Marine Attack Squadron 231 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, refuelling and inspecting an AV-8B Harrier here following the aircraft’s support of combat operations in Marjah, February 13th, 2010. The Harrier made the brief stop before returning to the battlefield to further support the Marines inserted earlier that same morning.

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***Posted March 9th, 2010

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