...AV-8S/TAV-8S & AV-8B/B+/TAV-8B from Kagero, via Casemate
Author: Salvador Mafe Huertas
Number 70 in Kagero's Monograph series of softcover books and one which I think will prove popular among all fans of one of the most famous combat aircraft from the Cold War era and beyond. Slightly different though, and perhaps less well known to many, this is all about both the early BAe Harrier AV-8S and the later McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing AV-8B, as well as the 2-seat trainer versions of both. Not in RAF or USMC use but in service especially with both the Royal Thai and Spanish navies.
The 138-page softcover book starts with the Origins of the Harrier, looking back to the development from the Kestrel. Then we get to the First Generation Harriers in service with the Spanish Navy, their service history and milestones, service on the old Dedalo (RO1) carrier, which itself was retired in 1989. When the Spanish Navy retired their first Harriers, both single and two-seat versions, they were passed on the the Royal Thai Navy, where they served on the Chakri Naruebet. Meanwhile, the Spanish Navy moved on to the second generation Harriers, the McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing AV-8B & TAV-8B, again with their service history and milestones, plus service on board both the Principe de Asturias and later the Juan Carlos I. Slotted into the story is also a section covering the upgrading of the USMC Harriers, as they have chosen to keep their Harriers operational until 2028.
What I think is the main attraction to this one though is the huge number of quite superb quality photos of the Harriers in service. We see them on the ground, in flight and on board their carriers. Plenty of fine detail with cockpit arrangement, engines, armament, aerials and more. Modellers will love this one for the detail and the colour guides, while aviation enthusiasts will also love it for the story and the colour schemes. The final section showcases some very colourful markings on a couple of Spanish Harriers which visited RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) in 2019. Highly recommended for all Harrier fans/modellers, of which I know there are many.
Thanks to the UK distributor for Kagero, Casemate Books for our review copy.