Armour Collection B11B248 USMC Harrier AV-8B Plus Jump Jet - Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 (VMAT-203) [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:48 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The AV-8B Harrier II is a second generation vertical short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft based on the original British Harrier design of the late 1960's. Combining tactical mobility, responsiveness, reduced operating cost, and basing flexibility -- both afloat and ashore -- V/STOL aircraft are well-suited to the special combat and expeditionary requirements of the US Marine Corps.
The primary mission of the AV-8B Harrier II is to provide close air support to ground forces. Secondary missions include short range interdiction, fighter escort, deck launched interception, and combat air patrol (CAP).
After completing operational evaluation trials in March 1985, the USMC AV-8B Harrier II was formally approved for full production some six months later. A two-seat training version was introduced in 1987 and a night attack version entered service in late 1989.
Pictured here is a spectacular 1:48 scale diecast replica of a Harrier AV-8B Plus flown by the US Marine Corps' VMA 203 squadron. Sold Out!
Historical Account: Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 (VMAT-203) is a squadron in the United States Marine Corps that trains naval aviators to fly the AV-8B Harrier. Also known as the Hawks, the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 14 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 and its predecessors dates back to 1947. VMT-1 began the evolution in 1947 as an independent squadron and shortly thereafter became part of Marine Training Group 20. Subsequent evolutions were as a unit of Force Aviation Headquarters Group until 1958, at which time VMT-1 again became a separate squadron of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Equipped with the TF-9J "Cougar", and the T-33 Shooting Star, and conducted training in swept wing refresher/ transition, instrument procedures, and instrument ground school.
On July 2nd, 1967, VMT-1 received its first A-4 Skyhawk and began its transition to the new aircraft. The last F-9 was transferred in December of that year. In May of 1972, the squadron was re-designated VMAT-203. With a new mix of aircraft, the A-4M, and TA-4J, the squadron was tasked to train replacement aircrews to Fleet Marine Force duty.
The arrival of V/STOL aviation instituted another era for VMAT-203. The squadron's A-4 SkyHawks were retired and VMAT-203 became the AV-8A/C training squadron as part of Marine Aircraft Group 32. In December 1983, the first AV-8B Harrier II was delivered, and until March 1985, VMAT-203 was assigned the dual missions of training both AV-8A/C pilot and AV-8B replacement aircrews. Having trained its last AV-8A/C pilot in March 1985, VMAT-203's exclusive mission then became the training of AV-8B aircrews and maintenance personnel.