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British Harriers take their final bow


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Very sad that for 10 years we now have no seaborne fixed wing aviation capability, I personally think its a fairly short sighted fiscal move with little military thought having been put into the SDR by the coalition but whats done is done but god help the government if the planes are actually needed in the next few years....

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Sad to see them go; I think the capability will be missed

 

Saw its flight demonstration at Cosford in 2007 and again this summer in Skrydstrup (Denmark) Always an impressive sight and sound

 

.morten

 

Harriers at Skrydstrup?

 

very pitty i missed it.... :(

 

Here are some of the pictures I took at Skrydstrup.. The Joint Harrier Force participated with 2 birds, One static, with a FLy Navy-promo tail and another very smart looking bird with a 3-colour flash on the tail (SQN laeders a/c?)

Picasaweb album

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Very sad that for 10 years we now have no seaborne fixed wing aviation capability, I personally think its a fairly short sighted fiscal move with little military thought having been put into the SDR by the coalition but whats done is done but god help the government if the planes are actually needed in the next few years....

 

The thing is - we could have saved more by cutting the Tornados!

 

The justification is as follows (from the SDSR):

 

Over the next five years combat air support to operations in Afghanistan must be the over-riding priority: the Harrier fleet would not be able to provide this and sustain a carrier-strike role at the same time. Even after 2015, short-range Harriers – whether operating from HMS Illustrious or HMS Queen Elizabeth – would provide only a very limited coercive capability. We judge it unlikely that this would be sufficiently useful in the latter half of the decade to be a cost-effective use of defence resources.
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  • 1 month later...
Before they got the 3 ILLUSTRIOUS, I remember reading that the Royal Navy had been reduced to an ASW force in the North Atlantic. I guess it's deja vu all over again.

 

By the way, what happens to the former Harrier pilots?

 

There was only actually a two-year gap between the decommissioning of Ark Royal in 1978 and the entry into service of the Sea Harrier in 1980. However, the Royal Navy was pretty much an ASW force in the North Atlantic for much of the 1980s; the Invincible-class is intended for sub-hunting and lacks the air-wing for decent carrier strike in a contested ASW environment (which wasn't present in most of its operations). It was the modified Centaur-class Hermes (now India's Viraat) that did most of the work in Operation Corporate.

 

As for the pilots: some of them are retiring or going to desk jobs; some into rotary wing (which they're trained for anyway); some are going to be doing exchange tours on the Superbug to ensure currency on carrier ops for 2020.

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And don't forget the demise of the Nimrod past and not-future fleet.

No long range ASW/Maritime Patrol Force neither :o

 

Nobody in the UK Government remembers the hard and longs years to close the Mid-Atlantic gap ???!!!

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Atlantic_gap

The Mid-Atlantic Gap was the gap in coverage by land-based Coastal Command antisubmarine (A/S) aircraft during the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. It is frequently known as The Black Pit, as well as the Atlantic Gap, Air Gap, Greenland Gap, or just "the Gap". This resulted in heavy merchant shipping losses to U-boats. The Black Pit, the most feared area where most losses occurred, was the area southeast of Greenland. The gap was eventually closed in May 1943, as growing numbers of VLR Liberators (Very Long Range models) and escort carriers became available, and as basing problems were addressed.

Now, in 2011 and for the years to come, clear and painly it's another Mid-Atlantic Gap for the UK Forces:

- No Very Long Range patrol/ASW aircraft (No Nimrod, only answer to purchase P-8A in mid-term).

- No escort carriers/Invicibles/CVHs (We must attend to 2020, and just not for light CVH !!!! ).

- Only stop-gap inmediate possibility the SSN force, but new Astute class SSNs aparently of doubtful reability (Aparently the same for the present Trafalgar class SSNs).

 

Very sad.

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- No escort carriers/Invicibles/CVHs (We must attend to 2020, and just not for light CVH !!!! ).

 

Not quite true; we have HMS Illustrious until 2014, which is an Invincible and can carry ASW helicopters. Queen Elizabeth arrives in 2016 and can also carry ASW choppers. 2020 is the scheduled date for the second QE, the CATOBAR one. There's also HMS Ocean, which could even carry Harriers at a pinch.

 

Admittedly, they're no substitute for the Nimrods, but we're extremely unlikely to be fighting a war against Russia this side of 2020.

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