posted on Sep, 22 2007 @ 02:57 AM
The Marines are not the only ones, apart from the USMC Harrier variants are in service with the RAF, RN, Italy, Spain, India, and Thailand. The
Marines (possibly) envisage the Harrier as being useful in an island hopping campaign such as was fought in the Pacific theatre in WW2, the RAF use it
for the reasons that Harlequin mentioned and the RN, Italy Spain and Thailand because it allows for smaller cheaper aircraft carriers as you do not
need a huge ship with a long deck.
The USAF would not find itself needing to accomodate any of these situations and so does not see a requirement for STOVL. The use of which does
restrict the payload and range of the fighter, even with the F-35, and so it is a case of each force deciding which criteria is most important to
them, for instance with the RN it is a choice of having a slower less capable fighter or no fighter at all because Invincible and Ark Royal cannot
accomodate the F18 or F-35C.
[edit on 22-9-2007 by waynos]