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Buddy can you spare a dime for our Harriers


PauloBarnesi
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Here’s what happens to our old planes

The Royal Navy's entire fleet of Harrier jump jets, the British plane controversially scrapped in last year's defence review, has been saved – by the US military.

All 74 of the planes, which were permanently grounded by the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), are to fly again for the US marines, in a deal that is expected to be closed within a week.

The Ministry of Defence said negotiations were continuing but were in their final stages. And reports in the US suggested the marines were already confidently preparing for the Harriers' arrival.

The sale of the Harriers is bound to raise fresh questions about the wisdom of retiring the much-admired aircraft, which the Americans intend to use until 2025.

Speaking to the NavyTimes, Rear Admiral Mark Heinrich, chief of the US navy's supply corps, said buying the Harriers made sense because many of the jets had been recently upgraded, and the US already had pilots who could fly them.

"We're taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them," he said. "It's like we're buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it. These are very good platforms. And we've already got trained pilots."

The US military already has its own fleet of Harriers, and converting the British planes to fire American missiles can be done relatively easily.

The price of the deal has not been disclosed, but Heinrich said the US was paying $50m (£32m) for spare parts alone.

The British Harriers have been kept in storage at RAF Cottesmore, in Rutland, where they have been maintained prior to sale.

Their retirement was criticised when the SDSR was published, last year, and again when British forces became involved in operations to defend Libyan civilians during the country's revolution.

The MoD has maintained, however, that it had no choice, because of cost-cutting forced upon a department where budgets were out of control.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, a critic of SDSR, said: "The issue is not that the US marines are buying the Harriers: it's that the US still thinks that the Harriers are viable aircraft. They still think there is a need for them."

The MoD said it was negotiating the best deal it could, and that scrapping the Harrier would save hundreds of millions of pounds over the next decade.

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They were binned to preserve more Torandoes for longer, because the latter can be used as a platform for certain surveillance packages and stand off weapon systems that Harrier can't carry.

Still a bonkers decision to sell but in reality the MOD is flat broke with a £32 billion hole in it's future budgets. Defence procurement has been so badly managed for so long it has become a (rather unfunny) national joke.

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Hapablap: Anybody out there feel the need for speed?

Everyone: Yaya!

Marge: [drolly] Yat.

Hapablap: Then get ready for the pride of the United States Air Force: the British-made Harrier Jump Jet! [Jets fly by to the tune of "Rock You Like A Hurricane"]

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Makes sense for the Yanks, bargain of the century while they still test out the F35B's capabilities.

In a way, it's nice that they've not just been carved up and instead gone on to be used for a while longer.

More fool us I guess.

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They were binned to preserve more Torandoes for longer, because the latter can be used as a platform for certain surveillance packages and stand off weapon systems that Harrier can't carry.

Still a bonkers decision to sell but in reality the MOD is flat broke with a £32 billion hole in it's future budgets. Defence procurement has been so badly managed for so long it has become a (rather unfunny) national joke.

I thought we were buying the F-35 to replace them ?

hadn't we been disbanding the squadrons for a while now , since mid 2000 ? ... before the spending review etc so it would seem to have been a long term goal to remove them , for whatever reason

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They were binned to preserve more Torandoes for longer, because the latter can be used as a platform for certain surveillance packages and stand off weapon systems that Harrier can't carry.

Still a bonkers decision to sell but in reality the MOD is flat broke with a £32 billion hole in it's future budgets. Defence procurement has been so badly managed for so long it has become a (rather unfunny) national joke.

Absolutely. And they are mostly fairly fatigued.

They'll want the Nimrods next, oh wait, they actually cut those up, the stupid, vindictive, arrogant, ignorant, idiotic ****
fixed a bit. It's more likely that we'll be wanting their MPAs to replace the perfectly good Nimrods we chopped up out of sheer stupidity and arrogance.
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One of my favorite air show memories is as a lad, going to the office building my dad's firm was developing to see the Hanscom Air Show, when the Harriers stole the show. I've had a soft spot for them ever since.

(possibly of interest, the old trails through the woods are part of Minuteman National Historical Park, and are the site of a series of ambushes of Awol's predecessors retreating to Boston from Concord on 19 April, 1775, known as the "Bloody Angle")

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The US has a long history of storing unwanted aircraft in case they are needed again, or purely for spares, where 'new' spares are costly to make. They have also picked up surplus civilian and military aircraft from elsewhere for such use.

I haven't seen recent figures, but this facility returns the US defence budget in excess of $10 for every $1 spent.

AMARG

I have flown over it on a number of occasions, and it is mightily impressive.

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