The only reason to fly a Harrier is because your navy has decided it can’t afford a real aircraft carrier, or you’re the infantry belonging to a massive navy that can financially support your delusions of grandeur of being a separate branch (but not massive or silly enough to give you a real aircraft carrier). “The Navy’s Army needs its own Air Force” and all that. Or because you won a Pepsi contest that Pepsico had no intention of honoring. Because it’s just a stupid ad, you dip.
The Harrier is the plot of Spec Ops: The Line in aircraft form. Everything it does makes everything worse, with far-reaching consequences nobody involved could’ve foreseen, and none of this would’ve happened if they’d just stopped.
But on they marched, and for what? A combat jet that can take off and land sorta-vertically? Who cares? The sucker didn’t even have radar until the late 1980s, and even now it’s a version of the Hornet’s radar that’s been obsolete since then. Useless in a dogfight, capable of light strikes at best, the Harrier is the most expensive way to deliver CAS slightly faster than a helicopter ever conceived.
Until the F-35B. The Harrier is responsible for the near-death of the JSF program, adding exponentially to its legacy of wasting taxpayer money. Someone has to pay for your crimes, Harrier. Who’s it gonna be?