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STOVL is an acronym for Short Take Off and Vertical Landing.

It refers to aircraft able to take off from a short runway, and land vertically (i.e. with no runway). The most famous example is probably the Hawker Harrier Jump Jet, which though technically a VTOL aircraft, is operationally a STOVL aircraft due to the extra weight it carries at take off for fuel and armaments.

Other examples include:

  • EWR VJ 101C (Germany)
  • Dassault Mirage III V (France)
  • Yakovlev Yak-141 (USSR)
  • Joint Strike Fighter or JSF (Multi-National, led by the USA)

None of these has reached operational status, though the JSF is expected to enter service by 2010.