Originally posted by thebozeian
Hmmm where to start?
Well firstly its nice to think that someone has seen fit to put a portion of these excellent machines in the air again. However it sadly vindicates
what I was arguing when this thread was started. Namely that another operator could be found and would see the worth of taking over the force and even
integrating it within their own Harrier force, despite the RAF/RN specific mod status. I always thought that given the differences between the UK's
GR fleet and the USMC AV-8B that buying them for spares wouldn't yield all that much benefit for extending the AV-8B in Marine service. However
operating them certainly does, which makes me wonder if the US secretly intended to do this all along.
I do stand by my previous comments on this subject, and view the "announcements" very dubiously - the Marines would have to operate the type as a
separate aircraft in their inventory, they cannot mix it in with the AV-8B as its too different operationally, so this means you will have to train
AV-8B pilots on the GR.7 and .9 before they can fly them.
On the spares front, there is plenty of items on the technical side which can be used for spares on the AV-8Bs, its when you start considering
avionics etc that the issues break down. The engines and other airframe items such as hydraulics, air systems etc are completely compatible across
all Harrier II variants.
Which brings me to two other related points. It was my understanding these aircraft were purchased specifically for spares only use. Hasn't the US
therefore just broken the contract and are liable to pay the UK much more for an operative force?
Uhm, no. Its their property, they paid for it, they can do what they like with it. I've seen the sales contract and it has no limitations on use -
but even if it did, they would be unenforceable due to "first sale doctrine" laws in the US, and you wouldn't get anywhere suing the US government
in a UK court of law.
And secondly whoever in the MoD approved this deal and the transfer of the aircraft may have broken multiple laws on security of disposed
military equipment and protection of crown property from foreign powers. They just handed over an operative fighter jet force to another country with
UK specific equipment. Were precautions if any to ensure British intelligence and security are safeguarded? Yes it may be the US but a foreign power
is still a foreign power, they certainly wouldn't be happy if the situation were reversed and quite rightly.
There is no law which makes it outright illegal to sell UK technology to foreign nations, its highly unlikely that transfer of technology broke any
What if this had been for arguments sake Pakistan and they then used them on civilians or a neighboring country?
Why use such an example? Its highly likely that one of these Harriers will kill people in the near future when used by the US, but it doesnt change
So in summary Britain gave up and mothballed an effective Naval fighter fleet, so that it could afford to build new Aircraft Carriers that wont have
said fleet to operate off them.
The Harriers were never going to operate off the new CVFs, they were always going to be retired before the CVFs reached initial operational capability
- the CVFs were always going to enter service with the JSF.
Also, the GR.7 and GR.9s are not "fighters" in most sense of the word - they are strike aircraft, and have operated in that role ever since the Sea
Harrier was retired. The GR variants of the Harrier have no radar capable of controlling active air-to-air weapons, and as such cannot carry the
AIM-120, so they are limited to carrying the AIM-9 as a self-defence system only. They are never deployed in the air superiority role by the RAF.
Then sold these originally as spares for a song to the very country that has promised to build there successor (but so far its not looking
good). Said country then changes it's mind realizing how worthwhile and effective they still are, says they will operate them and then post UK Govt
mothballing them announces that the replacement will be effectively late. It is suffering development and performance issues, will be vastly more
expensive to purchase than originally claimed, more complex to operate than originally claimed and due to all these issues the UK will end up with a
different model and maybe (if lucky,.. if at all) a quarter of the original number. What a fantastic outcome for the British taxpayer.
The JSF buy has been going steadily downhill ever since it was announced, it has nothing to do with the Harriers fate at all - it is a decent topic
for another discussion, but its not linked at all.
Quite frankly, the incoming government was stuck between a rock and a hard place - a defence budget vastly over spent, no money to cover the