I have written to the Minister of defence, Philip Hammond MP and await his response:
Dear Mr Hammond,
I am a former member of the Royal Air Force (left in 1997) having served for 30 years, over 10 of which were on the Harrier as an engineer. I was distraught when the Harrier was taken out of service and sold to the Americans for ‘spares’. I started a blog bringing together various bits of information about the F35, the replacement for the Harrier, and the problems encountered with various aspects of the development of this very expensive aircraft. You can see the blog here:
The title is fairly self -explanatory, however I don’t expect you to know all the nuances of the Harrier and the reasons, mainly financial, to take it out of service. But now I have been sent a message that the US are considering using the UK Harriers in storage and bringing them into service if the F35 doesn’t hold up. The piece says:
“Spotted another criticism of the F35 programme – in Air Force Monthly magazine – allegedly made by the current test pilots, in that there is a serious deficiency in rearward vision from the cockpit and to rectify it would involve major structural changes. It was also reported that the US Marine Corps are making contingency plans to press into service the UK Harriers should the plug be pulled on the F35 fiasco.”
Obviously I can’t confirm the US Marine Corps plans, but they sound plausible. Have you, as Minister of Defence anything to say which is not the usual political flannel to explain why we shouldn’t buy the Harrier back from the US and put them back into service? It would create jobs and help industry and bolster our defences at a time when North Korea are making noises and other parts of the world are unstable, and would leave us as an island, without fixed wing combat aircraft operating from aircraft carriers until at least 2018.
This leaves us seriously exposed.
If anyone would like support my view, and write to the Minister of defence, his email address is: