I have heard this rumour too and really hope it isnt true. I wish the idiots in the UK government would realise that we still need them!
We certainly should not be selling them for a bargain price like that! We need to bring these aircraft back into service as they are needed on an aircraft carrier to protect British interests.
They would have been very hamdy and far cheaper on a carrier off the cost of Libya rather than having to use the Tornadoes and Typhoons from Italian and British bases!
Also with the sabre rattling going on over the Falklands at the moment a carrier or two(HMS Illustrious and Ark Royal) with Harriers on board may well be needed down there.
Liam Fox has widely been reported this week as saying that they 'can huff and puff all they want' and that we have Typhoons(4) and Naval power to be able to defend the Falklands! The problem is we only have HMS Clyde, a Type 42 destroyer on the way and presumably a Sub down there or not to far away but the Argentines are getting a lot of backing from the Americas including the Americans. I could well see other South American countries providing Military assests to help them to try and get them back. If they managed to disable the only runway at Stanley then we would be stuffed!
DO NOT SELL THE HARRIERS! BRING EM BACK!
Erm, we don't have two aircraft carriers, or one for that matter, so this is all a bit acadameic. And what use would a handful of GR9s with no radars be in an air-to-air scrap with anyone down south, if it came to it?
Sadly, the Harriers being axed was just another investment chucking-away exercise, like the Nimrod MRA4 cancellation, but those SDSR decisions aren't going to be reversed; there's not enough money even for what's left.
I think you will find we do still actually have two aircraft carriers! HMS Illustrious is currently off the coast of the UK following a recent refit and if it came to it could quite easily have harriers on board! Ark Royal is still at Portsmouth and could also be rearmed and restocked ready to take aircraft again!
There is more than enough money left looking at the money they are burning/wasting on RAF crews flying out of Italy! Sadly this current government hasnt a clue!
Another example of this is the governments view that Heathrow doesnt need another runway as they think building a new high speed railway from North to South will do instead! What they dont seem to realise is that their arent that many domestic UK flights so the railway is a waste of time!
Lets not even go into the MRA project being cancelled!
Another example of how stupid the current leaders are, is in the Nimrod R1 retirement and replacement with less capable Rivet Joint aircraft!
I would not worry yet. When the US fails to raise their "Debt Ceiling" on August 2, 2011 they will not have any money to pay for the Harriers and the sale will be cancelled.
Gravity always wins!
Don't hold your breath. It's just a little political theatre. I'm sure the UK has some of that as well.
The Marines will put the spare parts to good use though. So Harriers will still be operational for years to come. If and when the F-35B goes into service, the Harriers will be retired in short order. A great little plane with unique capabilities and shortcomings.
I hope you are right about the theatre! I would like to buy one Harrier (de-mil) for $ 1.3million. Do you think they would sell me one.....
As for the F-35B the future looks uncertain, but there is still hope. Take a look here at the top 10 list of F-35B problems:
Happy Canada Day!
Unfortunately the F-35 programme is something we(UK) shouldnt have gotten involved in. We should be purchasing Navalised Typhoons.
Happy Canada Day.
Everyone wanted to get in on the stealth game and the F-35 was the only game in town. Also, your carriers weren't originally to be equiped with catapults. And I'm not convinced that a navalised Typhoon would have stood up to the rigors of carrier landings. That capability is difficult to design in after the fact. If you look at the US experience, we completely redesigned the YF-17 in order to come up with the F-18 for the Navy. I doubt the Eurofighter consortium would get the funding for that kind of effort for only 40-50 fighters.
I agree that the F-35B has some significant hurdles to overcome if it's to be put into production. I think it does bring a unique capability to our forces and we've invested so much already it would be a mistake not to go the last 10% to solve all the problems. I worry about where the US is headed with regard to deployable carriers. The long knives are out over here and they are looking longingly at the defense budget. I would certainly like to be able to equip our amphibious assualt carriers with a squadron of F-35Bs and Ospreys. It certainly wouldn't replace a Nimitz class carrier but it would still bring a significant capability, not unlike the Falkland's era Brit carriers. Just my opinion.
I know what you are saying about the stealth game but our government at the time should have been more realistic about what we could have. The carriers should have been designed with catapults and we should have either gone for a Navalised Typhoon or an F-18 would be more than acceptable! If they are good enough for the US Navy then they should be good enough for us. I would also say the Rafale or Sea Gripen would be good choices. I just think that going for the F-35 was a poor decision as it has now proven to be. No doubt it will be a good aeroplane but its going to be in service too late and for far too much money than we can really afford.
Although i do miss the F-14's! A US carrier just doesnt look as good without Tomcats on them!
Since the Langley the aircraft carrier has provided a capability that few nations could afford and I dont think the UK can really afford their new ones.
I cannot for the life of me see why an Invincible Class Command Cruiser (They werent carriers) provides a capability that land based aircraft cannot provide at less expense flying from bases in Southern Europe in the present Lybian entanglement.
The US is taking a hard look at its carriers and although the Kennedy is being laid down the future might see a six carrier navy.
Been there before with the sea contol ship, but America and Makin Island are the way ahead, for all but the big conflicts.
Victor. The F-14 was aerodynamically advanced but the rest was awful
I agree with you about the F-14s. The D model finally made that plane what it should have been all along. But budget issues were a problem even back then and the F-14s were hideously expensive to keep in the air, several times the cost of a F-18. I understand your carriers were actually designed to accomodate catapults but the plan was to fit them at a later date. The other issue is a CTOL aircraft has far greater range than a STOVL aircraft and that is a real issue in a shooting war.
The real problem that Europe has when developing aircraft is that you have to work with the French. The Typhoon should have been a true European project but the French believe only they know how to lead such an endeavor and are unwilling to truly be a part of a team. Harsh but true. If that had happened, the Typhoon would have had naval capability designed in and the French wouldn't still be looking for their first Rafale sale. You both would have been better off and tens of billions would have been saved. Although, the separate production lines for Typhoon is an extreme waste as well. Better to use the Airbus model.
You are giving the French too much slack Hunter32! You only have to look at us Brits having to pull out of the Horizon project to build Type 45 destroyers as an example! I can see what you are saying about if we built something together like for instance the Jaguar, but then just look at the Buccanneer, Harrier or the Canberra! Also except for Libya recently, they arent exactly upfront in the fighting business. Something us Brits could never be pulled up about!
I agree with you about the fighting. I and most in the US truly do appreciate what a great ally the UK is, even when that might not be in your own best interest. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
As far as aircraft and even defense programs in general, the development costs now are astronomical and difficult for most countries to do on their own. The Buccanneer was a great plane but I don't think you could afford to do the same plane on your own again. Those costs are so high that the F-35 program was designed from the start to get other countries to share the development costs for the first time.
I'm rooting against the Rafale succeeding in any of the fighter competitions. That's the only way the French will learn a lesson about being a partner versus being a loner. The French still haven't gotten over the loss of prestige and influence following their loss in WWII and the dismantling of their colonial empire.
We are in the same boat in Canada where the government chose the F-35 without having a competive bid process. I think it was done because the DOD wanted that aircraft. Personally my take is that we could save a lot of money( $ 4 Billion for Super Hornets versus $ 9 Billion for the F-35, for 65 aircraft including associated weapons, infrastructure, initial spares, training simulators, contingency funds and project operating costs) . So what does it matter that the Super Hornet is not stealthy.. I think the polar bears in the arctic can see them anyway :-)).
The CF-18 has served us well for almost 25 years, so a continuation with the Super Hornet ( brand new aircraft with up to date technology) would save even more monye than listed above.
That's an interesting perspective, but I believe that there is some benefit to purchasing the F-35. I agree that in today's world conflicts the opportunities of 'stealth' aircraft to exploit their advantage are situation at best. However, given the ever growing cost of fighter aircraft, I believe that the government must look to the future while making their decision. Buying Super Hornets will only result in expensive upgrade programs which arguably will never be able to put the Super Hornet on par with the Lightning II, leaving Canada behind the technology curve and in need of a more modern airplane.
In short, I think we need to leave breathing room for adaptability because the conflicts of today certainly will be different that the conflicts twenty years from now.
I agree up to a certain point with your assessment. However I cannot agree with the Canadian Goverment's procurement of the F-35. A non competitive selection is not the best way to choose a fighter aircraft.
Adaptability is a keyword and maybe we will adapt sooner than we think to new and facinating designs in UAV's, or choose a COIN aircraft as an alternate to the Lightning F-35.
In hindsight yes they should have had a competition, but let us for a moment assume that Canada did. Who would be on the roster? Despite all of the international selection there is, I believe based on the past 50 years of Canada-U.S relations you would find this competition to be an American exclusive. Having said that I believe that my point still stands. When sized up to each other, the best long term solution is still the F-35.
In regards to UAV's and COIN aircraft I only disagree with them being an alternative to the F-35. I feel that they fall under completely different domains than a fighter aircraft. I don't think we can cross over roles. At least for now that is to say.
One last thing! I'm not necessarily a supporter of the F-35, but given the situation and consideration I personally don't see what other options we have. Or at least options that won't have political back lash.
The F-35 it is, the order has been placed and time will tell how the aircraft functions in the Canadian environment.
I do not want UAV's or COIN aircraft as an alternative, but as a supplement to the F-35.
I am ex-RAF and worked for 18 months on the GR7 to GR9 up-grade team with BAE Systems.
The simple answer is that the RAF and USMC aircraft are different aircraft.
Whilst the were originally build with a semi common airframe and a common wiring plan the various boxes fitted as new and or via up-grades are different.
Also take a look at the Airframe - the USMC aircraft is closer to the old Sea Harrier in that it has a Radar the RAF GR9 Harrier has a TV Camera and TV IR Cameras in place of the Radar.
There are differences in Radios, Engine Control, Communications, etc.....
Also as part of the GR7 to GR9 Up-Grade over 1/2 of the aircraft have had the aft fuselage replaced, this and new / re-build engines make the UK aircraft a nearly new aircraft that can be support in service until about 2020.
One of the main ideas behind the GR7 to GR9 Up-Grade was that it would be the last major change before the aircraft were replaced by the F35.
For this reason the up-grade meant that as i have already said the aircraft had airframe parts renewed and a more powerful engine fitted to most but not all of the 60 aircraft up-graded to the GR9 Standard.
So, the RAF GR9 Harrier is a different Aircraft from that flown by the Spanish, US and India.
If any one wants them it would be sale of Aircraft Spares, Doc's, Flight Simulator and a support package by BAE Systems the Design Authority of the Aircraft.
Any one buying would also need to employ British / RAF Pilots and Flight Sim People to train their Pilots in how to fly the aircraft and then to go through clearance of weapons and all sorts of issues for an aircraft with about 10 to 15 years of life left.
Also I wish to point out the the Royal Navy Sea Harrier Mk2 are still sitting in storage and unsold since it was taken out of service a few years ago.