US Marine Corps Harrier to perform final airshow demonstration this weekend

The US Marine Corps is expected to perform its final ever AV-8B Harrier II demonstration this weekend at the MCAS Cherry Point Airshow.

The type is due to retire in 2026 and is only operated by a single squadron – VMA 231 based at Cherry Point. The squadron is no longer performing demonstrations away from its home base, with its last off-base demonstration having been performed at last year’s Cleveland National Airshow. With Cherry Point’s own show running on a biannual basis, this weekend’s show at Cherry Point will almost certainly be the last chance to see the jet being put through its paces in a flying display.

Although the US Marine Corps have acknowledged this weekend’s show as being the last USMC Harrier demonstration, this does not neccessarily rule out static appearances or flybys at other events over the next couple of years.

The demonstration is non-aerobatic, consisting of several fast passes, followed by a short period of hovering at show centre.

MCAS Cherry Point is holding its biannual airshow on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May, and as well as the Harrier, it is also due to feature a MAGTF Demonstration, the US Navy Blue Angels, US Air Force F-22A Raptor, US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II, US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey, Randy Ball’s MiG-17F and the “Jack Aces” team of P-51D Mustangs.

Although opportunities to see the much-loved Harrier are fading, particularly in the United States, “jump jet” enthusiasts still have a chance to see the much-loved jet fly at airshows elsewhere. The Spanish Navy plans to operate the AV-8B+ Matador II until around 2030, and for the time being, they perform a small number of fully-aerobatic solo displays each year.