i/cflyingcircus said:...we could at least retain some whole ship SOP knowledge/skills.
There is the potential to do that via secondment to the US, French and Spanish navies. Far from ideal I grant you but I understand that this is what is planned.
Also, do not forget that there are similar issues regarding the loss of skill regarding various GR4 roles although again, I grant that these are not as significant (in terms of the numbers of people) as the carrier problem.
i/cflyingcircus said:...the older and bolder JTAC's have opined, in favour of the little plane, but the newer ones also seem happy enough. Therefore would we have really lost much if the Harrier had remained?
The JTACs will likley only be looking at the issue from a kinetic perspective. The ISR advantages of RAPTOR are significant and bring very real influence in the Coalition. Unfortunately, the average squaddie will be unaware that the imagery in his hand originates from a GR4.