Harrier is the fourth boss fight of the game. It can be defeated with various lethal weapons (Socom / AK-74u / M4 / PSG1 / RGB6 / Stinger).

  • The Kasatka can provide the player M9, Socom, or Stinger ammo.
  • The Kasatka can fire at the Harrier at certain stages in the fight.
  • The Kasatka can be damaged using the same weapons that damages the Harrier, but also includes non-lethal weapons such as the M9 and PSG1-T.
  • The player will recieve a game over if the Kasatka's health bar is depleted.
  • It is best to enter the fight with either Chaff Grenades or the AK-74u. This will place the weapon on previous. From there, bring it out of your previous and menu one up to the Stinger.
    • Using the Socom instead is slightly slower, but can be useful for a trick that provides invincibility frames during most of the Harrier's attacks.

The Harrier receives the same amount of damage regardless of difficulty, what differs is its max health.

  • Low Damage Stinger Shot = 175
  • High Damage Stinger Shot = 350
Difficulty Harrier's HealthLow Damage Stinger ShotHigh Damage Stinger Shot
Very Easy 22507.8%15.6%
Easy 32505.4%10.8%
Normal 35005.0%10.0%
Hard 40004.4% 8.8%
Extreme 47503.7% 7.4%
European Extreme 47503.7% 7.4%

The Harrier has certain attacks it can do during the fight:

Difficulty FlybyJetsMissilesMissile BarrageCluster Bomb
Very Easy 31 4017???
Easy 61 602235?
Normal 101 602637?
Hard 141 603040?
Extreme 18110050CurHP-1
European Extreme 181 3030CurHP-1
  • The player will be on fire after being hit by the Cluster Bomb. Equip the B.D.U to take this out.
  • The Harrier's flyby attack can sometimes include missiles too on (European) Extreme.
  • The Harrier's Jets attack does continous damage and hits more quickly on higher difficulties.


Its useful to picture the fight as three different phases, which are:

  1. Initial Phase
  2. Pre-Cluster Bomb Attack
  3. Post-Cluster Bomb Attack

Phase 1: Initial

  • This is the start of the fight. Raiden (or Snake in Snake Tales) starts at the bottom-right of the top floor of the Shell 1-2 Connecting Bridge.
  • The Harrier will start behind Strut G, it will gain some height then fly over the bridge until its behind Strut D.
  • During this, the player can shoot the Harrier anywhere between 0 to 6 times (all of which are either low or high damage).
  • After that, the game will check the Harrier's health to determine what phase to go to next.
    • If the Harrier's health is >= 60%, then it moves into Phase 2.
    • If the Harrier's health is < 60%, it will take a counter-clockwise route to the west of Strut D and then begin Phase 3.

Phase 2: Pre-Cluster Bomb Attack

During this phase, the Harrier has 2 attack patterns. The second pattern is repeated infinitly until the player reduces the Harrier's health to less than 60%.

  • Attack Pattern 1:
    • Fly East, Fast Attack
    • Fly to Strut C, then clockwise
    • Fly East/West, Fast Attack
    • Fly Above You Attack
    • Fly East/West, Fast Attack
    • Gun Phase Attack
    • Missile Barrage Attack
    • Fly East/West, Fast Attack
    • Gun Phase Attack
  • Attack Pattern 2:
    • Fly East/West, Fast Attack
    • Missile Barrage Attack
    • Gun Phase Attack

At most of the above points during the fight, if the Harrier's health is reduced to less than 60%, it will move on to Phase 3.

The end of this phase has a skippable cutscene where the Harrier blows up parts of the connecting bridge. The player can fit a total of two low damage shots during this.

Phase 3: Post-Cluster Bomb Attack

The Harrier has one attack pattern in this phase, and is repeated infinitly until the end of the fight.

  • Fly East/West, Homing Missile Attack
  • Missile Barrage Attack
  • Fly East/West, Fast Attack
  • Gun Phase Attack

The following table assumes a perfect fight after the initial phase, values are taken from the PC port of Substance:

Difficulty 4 shots (seconds) 5 shots (seconds) 6 shots (seconds)
Very Easy 2715
Easy 4444 (frames faster)
Normal 4644
Hard 4846
Extreme 6158
European Extreme 6158


Spamming Stinger rounds is not recommended. The Harrier is mostly a scripted fight (see above).

Initial Shots:

Total Shots: 0-6 Low/High Damage

  • A 4 shot Harrier is recommended for beginner runners. It is better to land 4 shot consistently than to fail a 5 shot and end up landing 3 only.
  • A 5 shot Harrier is recommended for advanced runners to save more time.
  • A 6 shot Harrier is NOT recommended as failing it will most likely result in a 3 or 4 shot Harrier instead.

+1 Shot:

Total Shots: 1x Low Damage

  • This shot takes place right before the Harrier tries to transition to its cluster bomb attack.
  • The Harrier will first revolve counter-clockwise around the connecting bridge.
  • The best opprutunity to fire at it is when it north-west in line with Strut L.
    • There is an alternate position where the Harrier slows down to the right of the “Shell 2 G” lettering on the building to the north of the connecting bridge. After the lock on, aim up then fire.
  • This shot usually takes place after the Initial Phase if the Harrier's health is reduced to less than 60%.
    • On Very Easy to Hard, there is a mini-cutscene where Pliskin throws Raiden a ration. Skip this cutscene.
    • Make sure to lock-on before firing this shot. The timing is more lenient than most new runners think.

Die Shots:

Total Shots: 2x Low Damage

  • These shots take place as the Harrier drops its cluster bombs to partially destroy the connecting bridge.
  • This will happen at most once during the fight.
  • Keep a look out for the Harrier's health. The moment its health is below 60%, it will begin to transition to this part.
  • The first shot is an automatic lock-on to the Harrier if the player skips the cutscene at the right moment.
  • The second shot is a manual lock-on from the player before firing at the Harrier.

Flyby Shots:

Total Shots: 1x High Damage

  • On Very Easy, an extra Low Damage shot is possible.
  • This attack from the Harrier is usually a transitionary shot when its alternating between other attacks.
  • After firing at the Harrier, the attack can be dodged with an aerial or a pop-out invincibility frame trick.

Flyby with Missiles Shots:

Total Shots: 2x Low Damage

  • The Harrier will fly far away and attempt to hit Raiden with two homing missiles.
  • When this attacks, Solidus will first yell out “I'll let you go out in style!”
  • After firing at the Harrier, the attack can be dodged with an aerial or a pop-out invincibility frame trick.

Flyover Shots:

Total Shots: 2x Low/High Damage

  • These shots can take place shortly after the player dodges the Harrier's Flyby with Missiles attack.
  • Even though 2 shots are possible, landing only 1 of them is far more likely.
  • Its possible to also hit Raiden with splash damage when this shot lands. This can result in a death especially on European Extreme.

Stair Shots:

Total Shots: 3x High Damage + 1x Low Damage

  • These shots happen when the Harrier is in the Pre-Cluster Bomb Phase after its had its Flyby attack.
    • On (European) Extreme, this takes place on the stairs.
    • On Very Easy (2.5 shot strategy), this takes place on the top floor of the connecting bridge.

Full Guides

  • Guidelines for 5-shot start
  • VE Timing Comparison
  • General strategy for 4- and 5-shot start on Harrier - Normal difficulty.
  • The Harrier fight speeds up considerably with each extra shot you're able to land before he flies off for his first strafing run. 4-shot can be done with a little practice, but 5-shot will require more time to get consistently. None of the example fights are perfect fights, but serve as a good baseline.
    • 3-shot start: 1 minute, 35 seconds
    • 4-shot start: 1 minute, 9 seconds
    • 5-shot start: 58 seconds
  • Fast 4 Shot Harrier on European Extreme. Useful for Extreme also.
  • Similar to above, but includes a curved shot before the Harrier flies over the bridge
  • A Fast Approach to 4 Shot Harrier. Done on PC but would work just the same on console.
  • The fastest harrier possible on VE. Performed on PC but just the same on HDC.

On European Extreme Harrier will take 21 hits on average. May differ depending how consistently you attack the outer wing.

Textbook SoL Normal Harrier

With 5 high-damage shots in the initial phase, the fight is the same from Very Easy to Hard, but will end earlier depending on the difficulty. With 5 high-damage shots in the initial phase, the fight is the same from Extreme to European Extreme.

With 6 high-damage shots in the initial phase, the fight is the same from Very Easy to European Extreme, but will end earlier depending on the difficulty.

Return to MGS2 Bosses

  • mgs2_boss_harrier.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/07/15 09:53
  • by PlatonicGuy