Go Sell It To The Marines - Harrier Jets Off

Go Sell It To The Marines - Harrier Jets Off

Britain's decommissioned Harrier jump-jets are to be sold for around £34m to the US Marines.

The 74 Harriers were mothballed last year as part of the Defence Review following the General Election and they have been stored at the RAF's base at Cottesmore where they are looked after at minimum fleet maintenance.

Now, the planes will be used by the US Navy in a move that is expected to provide extra planes to replace aging two-seat F-18D Hornet strike fighters.

The plan is to strip the planes of their British systems and replace them with Marine gear, Harrier expert Lor Nordeen told defensenews.com.

The Americans could take advantage of the money Britain had spent on the planes - reported at around £1bn - which would make it like buying a car which had only done 15,000 miles, he explained.

"I would see this as a good bargain to extend the operational utility of the Harrier II fleet, no matter what," he said.

The decision to take them out of service was hugely controversial, as was the decision to abandon the Navy's aircraft carriers from which the Harriers operated.

Opponents of the move suggest the Harriers had been scrapped so that the RAF could keep the Tornado bomber force intact.

They point out that it was jets lifting off from decks off the Libyan coast that had the success in that conflict, rather than the pricier Tornados and Eurofighters which were expensive to run and required a huge amount of air-to-air refuelling.