If ever there was a rare breed analogy for aircraft, Harriers in Europe would come near the top of the list. The Italian Navy may have signed up for the F-35B, but its Harriers are still going strong.


Tooled up — an Italian Navy Harrier ‘Plus’ complete with AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder, plus a Litening II on the centerline. Clearance for the Italian AV-8B+ force to use mixed air-to-air and airto-ground stores is expected soon
Dr Andreas Zeitler

THE ITALIAN NAVY (Marina Militare) has long played an important role within the country’s military. However, its GRUPAER (Gruppo Supporto Aerei Imbarcati della Marina Militare) is one of the youngest naval squadrons worldwide and the Marina Militare’s sole xed-wing unit. All the more remarkable, then, that it flies the Harrier: arguably among the most complex and demanding fast jets in the world.

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