The Spanish Navy takes a ?? new ?? Used Boeing TAV-8B Harrier II two-seater fighter aircraft formerly owned by the United States Marine Corps. The delivery took place within the framework of the joint Harrier Integrated Supply Support (HISS) program launched in 2007, in which the Italian Navy and the three current operators of this aircraft are also involved. The HISS program is directed by the United States through the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) weapons and aerospace engineering center, an agency of the U.S. Navy.
The ninth squadron of the Navy’s aircraft flotilla (FLOAN) currently employs twelve Boeing AV-8B Plus single-seaters and one experienced TAV-8B two-seater. The latter is unique in the world because it is a Boeing prototype built in 1988, which was put into service in November 2003 after its takeover by the Spanish Ministry of Defense and as VA.1B. -33 is registered with a number 01-922, as construction number 212201 / T01.
With this double, as specified in the squadron, the training of new pilots is carried out and the procedures standardized. The high maintenance costs, especially for the equally unique Rolls-Royce Pegasus F402 engine, have made its use economically unprofitable, which is why it was put in reserve months ago.
According to the Navy, “In order to maintain the ability to train the new pilots, we managed to replace them with another twin, just a 408 turbine currently supported and commissioned by the Harrier community. ” ? So it turned to its HISS partners to equip themselves with a two-seater to replace the VA.1B-33 mentioned above and solve the problem. ?? Do you get this ?? Equipment ?? It is not a lease or transfer, but was carried out under the Joint Program Office (JPO).
The members of the HISS program compensate their activities on the basis of a system of credits that cannot be converted into metal money, and since Spain was owed a certain amount, a new TAV-8 was obtained without affecting the Spanish treasury The 22 models built in series by Boeing are equipped with the Rolls-Royce Pegasus F408 engine, with the support of which the canons of the program conform.
The two-seat aircraft that was delivered is one of the aircraft that the Marines (United States Marine Corps / USMC) use to train their airmen in the Boeing AV-8B Plus Harrier II fighter aircraft. The original unit is in particular the Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 (VMAT-203), the squad responsible for advanced training, which is equipped with fifteen TAV-8 and in turn belongs to Marine Aircraft Group 14, which is also in its ranks with three Squadrons or Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) equipped with a single-seat harrier.
It should be borne in mind that when converted to the Boeing F-35B, the USMC’s VMA units will continue to be decommissioned with a significant potential useful life, as would be the case with the TAV-8B, which the Navy will use. This USMC force is based in Cherry Point, North Carolina, at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS). The Spanish TAV-8, once dismantled and packaged, was taken to a port on the North American Atlantic coast, likely the relatively close U.S. Navy’s base in Norfolk, Virginia, where it was loaded into the holds of a ship it pulled to Cádiz, where he arrived at the end of last year.
In the Cadiz Naval Base of Rota, the headquarters of FLOAN, it was assembled by the technical staff of the 9th Squadron, which carried out its first test flight on March 3rd after several tests on the ground. During that flight, he was photographed near Rota airfield by a well-known Gibraltar observer who unveiled the news internationally, wearing the markings and insignia of the Spanish Navy. These are directly applied to the basic dark gray color scheme that the USMC uses in their Harriers, which is the new Spanish military registration: VA.1B-40 (tail) and an enigmatic numeral 01-999. (Julio Maíz Sanz).
Photo: One of the TAV-8B from VMAT-203, like the one the Ninth Squadron received. (USMC Photo)
Until a few months ago, the Ninth Squadron had TAV-8B registration 01-922 in operation. (Photo Julio Maíz)
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