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PICTURES: UK Harriers to make final operational flights today
Flightglobal.com ^ | 15/12/10 | Craig Hoyle

Posted on 12/15/2010 4:25:38 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki

PICTURES: UK Harriers to make final operational flights today

By Craig Hoyle

Operations with the UK’s BAE Systems Harrier GR9/9A ground-attack aircraft will come to an end today, with the nation’s Joint Force Harrier organisation to perform a final series of sorties from the Royal Air Force’s Cottesmore base in Rutland.

The farewell is to involve a 16-aircraft formation which will perform flypasts at the RAF’s facilities at Wyton, Cranwell, Waddington, Scampton and Coningsby and also over Stamford, Lincoln and Oakham before returning to land at Cottesmore. The aircraft should take off from around 13:15 local time and land around 90min later, the Ministry of Defence says.

© Jamie Hunter/Aviacom

In total, 13 single-seat aircraft and three two-seat trainers were involved in rehearsal flights conducted earlier this week.

One of the aircraft has been painted in a retrospective colour scheme previously used with early RAF versions of the Harrier, as shown in this image from Aviacom photographer Jamie Hunter. Three others are shown with their tail fins painted to mark their operation by the RAF’s 1 and 4 squadrons, and by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm’s 800 NAS.

© Jamie Hunter/Aviacom

Each of the units operated Harrier GR7A/9As from Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force over an almost five-year period ending in mid-2009. The type was replaced in theatre by the RAF’s Panavia Tornado GR4 strike aircraft after more than 8,500 sorties and 22,000 flight hours.

Operations with the UK’s Harriers were due to have continued until at least 2018, when it was to have transitioned to Lockheed Martin’s short take-off and vertical landing F-35B. However, the nation’s coalition government in late October announced a decision to retire the current type by 31 March 2011, and to shift the UK’s planned production commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter programme to the F-35C carrier variant.

The UK had already reduced the size of its Harrier ground-attack fleet over the last several years, but Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database says the type’s early retirement still leaves around 52 aircraft as surplus to requirements. This includes 28 recently upgraded GR9s and 16 GR9As – the latter version is powered by Rolls-Royce’s uprated Pegasus 107 engine – plus eight T10/12/12A two-seat trainers.

One of the jet age’s most iconic designs, the Harrier was first flown in prototype form in 1960, as the Hawker Siddeley P1127. The UK’s “Jump Jet” achieved legendary status with its pivotal role during the 1982 Falklands War, when the RN’s newly-fielded Sea Harriers shot down numerous Argentine air force aircraft.

© John Jockel/Rex Features

The then-British Aerospace also collaborated with McDonnell Douglas to develop the AV-8B Harrier II. MiliCAS says more than 140 of these remain in service with the US Marine Corps, with the Italian and Spanish navies also operating the type. The Indian navy also flies eight Sea Harrier FRS51 fighters and three trainers.

Today’s event in the UK marks the nation’s second Harrier retirement in less than five years, with the Ministry of Defence having retired the RN’s last Sea Harrier FA2s in March 2006.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: aerospace; harrier; navair; raf; royalnavy; theend; uk; ungland

1 posted on 12/15/2010 4:25:41 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

The Spitfire will make a comeback.


2 posted on 12/15/2010 4:41:05 AM PST by screaminsunshine (Americanism vs Communism)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

The End.


3 posted on 12/15/2010 4:41:33 AM PST by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: snowrip

What are they switching to?


4 posted on 12/15/2010 4:50:06 AM PST by Pikachu_Dad (Impeach Sen Quinn)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Today’s event in the UK marks the nation’s second Harrier retirement in less than five years, with the Ministry of Defence having retired the RN’s last Sea Harrier FA2s in March 2006.

So, what are the Brits flying off of their carriers, these days? Hellcats?

5 posted on 12/15/2010 4:55:15 AM PST by Haiku Guy (What we've got here is ... failure to communicate.)
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To: Haiku Guy

>> So, what are the Brits flying off of their carriers, these days? Hellcats?

Cessna 182s with folding wings.

Funds are tight, don’t you know.


6 posted on 12/15/2010 4:58:58 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Pikachu_Dad

Appeasement


7 posted on 12/15/2010 4:59:25 AM PST by MCF
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To: Pikachu_Dad

Tornado.


8 posted on 12/15/2010 5:00:31 AM PST by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: Pikachu_Dad
What are they switching to?

They are switching to nothing in the short term. The RAF will fly Tornadoes and Eurofighters, while the RN will cool their heels for the better part of a decade waiting for the F-35C carrier variant and their second carrier to be built.

Their first carrier that is currently in construction is too far along to be retorfitted with catapult gear, so it will become a helicopter carrier. The second will have EMALS gear. Their first carrier will be retrofitted with EMALS during its first planned overhaul period.

Or so that is their plan.

9 posted on 12/15/2010 5:01:29 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Better keep ‘em in storage, UK. You’re gonna need them for the upcoming war with the muzzies.

You thinkest that I jest, oh uninformed ones?

Just wait.


10 posted on 12/15/2010 5:09:59 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Ungland...
11 posted on 12/15/2010 5:16:51 AM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Saw a very impressive demonstration by a US Marine variant of this plane just a couple of months back... I had seen video, but never one in person. Pretty amazing pice of machinery. I’m not sure how much longer the US will continue to operate these, but I will tell you this - I wouldn’t want a fully-armed Harrier after me!!!


12 posted on 12/15/2010 5:18:12 AM PST by TheBattman (They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature...)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
All together now, Chaps! 1, 2, 3:

Prince Harry flew the Harrier off a carrier?

We could not have been more merrier!

Cheerios!

13 posted on 12/15/2010 5:44:31 AM PST by bunkerhill7
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To: magslinger

ping


14 posted on 12/15/2010 7:21:50 AM PST by Vroomfondel
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To: Haiku Guy
Helicopters.

Seriously, there is now no fixed wing aircraft capability.

15 posted on 12/15/2010 8:43:58 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: Pikachu_Dad; MCF; snowrip

They are hoping to buy that JSF boondongle from the US.


16 posted on 12/15/2010 8:46:29 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: sukhoi-30mki

You post the exact type of articles that i love.
Thanks.

You should start a ping list....and put me on it!


17 posted on 12/15/2010 12:01:44 PM PST by mowowie
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To: Vroomfondel; SC Swamp Fox; Fred Hayek; NY Attitude; P3_Acoustic; investigateworld; lowbuck; ...
SONOBUOY PING!

Click on pic for past Navair pings.

Post or FReepmail me if you wish to be enlisted in or discharged from the Navair Pinglist.
The only requirement for inclusion in the Navair Pinglist is an interest in Naval Aviation.
This is a medium to low volume pinglist.

18 posted on 12/15/2010 12:38:42 PM PST by magslinger (Samuel Colt, feminist. Making women equal to men for over 150 years.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
This is stupid beyond belief. The Royal Navy now has zero, none, zip, zilch, nada air cover for their fleet.
19 posted on 12/15/2010 12:42:46 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I still think the Harrier is/was a remarkable platform.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1342535/posts

These brits could easily be selling these to other countries by suggesting the cargo-conversion aircraft carrier approach. Sure it’s cheap & cheesey, but it worked for them in the Falklands.

Another big mistake was cancelling the Supersonic Harrier project, the P.1154 in 1965
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P1154


20 posted on 12/15/2010 8:47:46 PM PST by Kevmo (Turning the Party over to the so-called moderates wouldn't make any sense at all. ~Ronald Reagan)
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Photograph: Jamie Hunter/PA


Photograph: Jamie Hunter/PA

21 posted on 12/16/2010 6:14:10 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Pikachu_Dad
What are they switching to?

USMC AV-8Bs. Piloted by US Marines.

Seriously. There have been a number of cross-decking operations in the last year or two with USMC Harriers and the RN Invincible CVLs (and at least one with V-22s). The Brits don't expect that, until the QE-class CVs enter service, they'll need to operate fixed-wing aircraft off their own carrier (singular now, since Ark is going away with the GR.9s) except in joint US/Anglo operations where Marine Harriers can be embarked.

More info here , here (requires subscription to view full content) and here.
22 posted on 12/16/2010 6:35:58 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: sukhoi-30mki
It was a very sad day at RAF Cottesmore. A few snaps from the disbandment display practice sessions.


23 posted on 12/16/2010 6:52:43 PM PST by Tommyjo
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To: Tommyjo

I’ve always been puzzled by why the UK chose to go for two distinct variants-navy/air force rather than something more versatile as the AV-8B, which still remains in service and won more exports.


24 posted on 12/16/2010 7:29:23 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: Tommyjo

Thanks for your pics though-awesome as usual!!


25 posted on 12/16/2010 7:33:15 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Thanks for the comment on the images.

As per usual in the UK we like to do things differently and not always for the best! The Sea Harrier was basically a variant straight from the Harrier GR3 airframe and obviously designed before the McDonnell Douglas collaboration. Rather than discard the Sea Harrier FRS.1 we went for an upgrade to FA2 with AMRAAM.

It worked well, but the limiting factor was the lack of space to integrate the later uprated Pegasus engines as fitted to Harrier GR9s. In hindsight we should have built the radar equipped AV-8B. With the upgraded Pegasus it would have been a great multi-role platform.


26 posted on 12/17/2010 3:52:28 PM PST by Tommyjo
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Good evening. I enjoy your posts.

5.56mm

27 posted on 12/17/2010 3:55:00 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Farewell, little brothers!


28 posted on 12/17/2010 4:30:37 PM PST by Alas Babylon! (Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must-like men-undergo the fatigue of supporting it)
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To: M Kehoe

Thanxx for the encouragement.


29 posted on 12/17/2010 8:21:23 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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30 posted on 12/20/2010 8:39:31 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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