Start of the Sundown of U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II pilot training

The fighter aircraft community of the U.S. Marine Corps is transitioning to the 5th generation F-35 Lightning II. The USMC fighter aircraft backbone today consists of the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II. The AV-8B will be replaced by the F-35 first. The current Marine Corps Aviation Plan schedules the sundown of the AV-8B beginning in 2023 and ending by 2028, in conjunction with the scheduled standup of F-35 squadrons, which has already begun and is slated to continue past 2032.

Until the retirement of the Harrier II, there is the need to train its pilots. The ‘Hawks’ at Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 (VMAT-203) are responsible for the training. It’s evident that now the number of operational AV-8Bs is decreasing, there’s a reduced need for new pilots. The sundown of Harrier training is slowly beginning and will be completed in FY22 if things go according to the Marine Corps’ plan.

Our complete article was published in May 2016 on