FT: UK Seeking Buyers For Axed Harriers

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by soleil, Nov 1, 2010.

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  1. UK seeks buyers for axed Harriers

    By Alex Barker, Political Correspondent

    Published: October 31 2010 22:31

    Britain is to hang a “for sale†sign on its decommissioned fleet of Harrier jump-jets as ministers attempt to find buyers for aircraft they can no longer afford to fly.

    India and the US are the two most promising markets for more than 50 of the most up-to-date Harriers, which will otherwise be consigned to the scrap-yard or museum.

    Peter Luff, defence procurement minister, told the Financial Times that some of the kit axed in the defence review – including the Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft – might still find a home abroad.

    “I don’t want to speculate about the market,†he said. “I don’t want them to feel as if they are being bounced. But we are looking at the options quite carefully at the moment. There are overseas markets, particularly for the Harrier.â€

    Such a sale, even at knock-down prices, would be a boon for the Ministry of Defence as it attempts to meet a steep target for annual savings this year.

    However, defence officials and industry figures acknowledge that there are limited prospects of a quick sale, given the alternatives on the market and the handful of nations with experience of flying Harriers.

    The likelihood of finding an outlet for the Nimrod MRA4 spy aircraft is even slimmer, not least because the production is still incomplete, over budget and running nine years late.

    Some surveillance technology may also be too sensitive to export.

    Cancelling the Harrier, which played a role in the recapture of the Falklands in 1982, emerged as a defining decision of the defence review, leaving Britain with no planes to fly off its aircraft carriers for a decade.

    The MoD had invested heavily in upgrading the avionics of the jets, which could still be in service in the mid-2020s.

    However, given the choice of saving one fast jet type, ministers chose to retain the more capable land-based Tornado.

    India is the most likely purchaser of the Harrier. It bought about 30 Sea Harriers, an earlier variant, in the 1980s.

    Some are still used to fly off its UK-made aircraft carrier the INS Viraat, which once saw battle as HMS Hermes, the Royal Navy flagship during the Falklands conflict.

    The US could buy the Harriers to supplement its fleet used by the Marine Corps.

    Versions of the Harrier are used by Spain and Italy.
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  2. Slightly off thread but in a related matter, it appears that 1(F) Sqn RAF, not 800 NAS, will be conducting the last ever Harrier embarkation from a CVS. After years of moaning about having to it, they will be taking the final curtain call.
     
  3. FT: Indian Air Chief Dismisses UK’s ‘Iffy’ Harriers

    By James Lamont in Kalaikunda and Alex Barker in London

    Published: November 2 2010 17:09

    Britain has hit an early obstacle in its bid to sell its fleet of Harrier jump jets after India, the most promising potential buyer, described the aircraft as “iffy†and obsolete.

    Air Chief Marshall PV Naik, the head of the Indian Air Force, said on Tuesday he would be looking to acquire modern aircraft of 4th generation capabilities or better. “The Harrier doesn’t fit into that category,†the Air Chief Marshall said.

    His dismissive remarks over the “iffy†Harrier came soon after Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the chief of the UK air staff, acknowledged the possibility of a sale while paying a visit to India to boost military co-operation and exports.

    India is one of the largest arms bazaars in the world and is seeking to modernise its aging, largely Russian-supplied airforce, to face threats from Pakistan and China.

    The distinct lack of interest shown in the Harrier, which was decommissioned in the defence review primarily on grounds of cost, will be a blow to ministers who are seeking to generate some much-needed revenue from the disposal.

    Air Chief Naik’s words will particularly sting because the Ministry of Defence has spent more than £500m upgrading the Harrier avionics over the last five years and the jets could potentially remain in service until the mid 2020s.

    Peter Luff, defence procurement minister, told the Financial Times this week that he was hopeful of finding a buyer for the Harrier, the pride of the Falklands war, in order to spare them from an untimely demise in a scrap yard or museum.

    “There are a number of possibilities....we are looking at the options quite carefully at the moment. There are overseas markets, particularly for the Harrier,†he said.

    India, along with the US, is the most likely purchaser, primarily because it bought about 30 Sea Harriers, an earlier variant, in the 1980s. Some are still used to fly off its UK-made aircraft carrier the INS Viraat, which once saw battle as HMS Hermes, the Royal Navy flagship during the Falklands conflict.

    Defence collaboration was a key priority for David Cameron early this year as he led a 90-strong delegation of chief executives and cabinet ministers to India seeking to boost to trade.

    An alternative is for the US to buy the Harriers to supplement its existing fleet used by the Marine Corps. Versions of the Harrier are also used by Spain and Italy.

    The Harrier is one of several items of military hardware axed in the defence review that Britain is seeking to sell. Ministers seeking buyers for Nimrod spy planes, a programme cancelled shortly before the aircraft were coming into service, dozens of Typhoon fighter jets and warships including frigates and aircraft carriers.
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  4. Well at the end of the day the Sea Harrier is an air-to-air fighter and the GR9 is a bomber. Not really an upgrade for the Indians is it?
     
  5. I'll put a tenner in for one, but I won't pay for delivery.
     
  6. Perhaps our "government" will soon look to sell the maintainers to the yanks as well. Lets call it natural wastage, after all thats what our armed forces are........waste!

    Our biggest strengh is our people? Horse sh1t!!!!!!!! 8O
     

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