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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 04:15

Italian Navy

In the late 1960s, following a demonstration of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier on the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) HP HSTNN-Q51C Battery

helicopter carrier Andrea Doria, the country began investigating the possibility of acquiring the Harrier.[108] Early efforts were hindered by a 1937 Italian law, which forbade the navy from operatingfixed-wing aircraft because they were the domain of the air force. HP HSTNN-Q60C Battery

In early 1989 the law was changed to allow the navy to operate any aircraft with a maximum weight of over 3,300 lb (1,500 kg).[109][110] Following a lengthy evaluation of the Sea Harrier and AV-8B, an order was placed for two TAV-8Bs in May 1989. Soon a contract for a further sixteen AV-8B Plus aircraft was signed. HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

Except for the TAV-8Bs and the first three AV-8Bs, all subsequent Italian Navy Harriers would be locally assembled by Alenia Aeronautica from kits delivered from the US.[111] The twin-seaters, the first to be delivered, arrived at Grottaglie in August 1991. They were used for proving flights with the Navy's helicopter carriers and on the light aircraft carrier Giuseppe GaribaldiHP HSTNN-Q62C Battery

Deliveries of the initial US-built aircraft began in early 1994 to MCAS Cherry Point for pilot conversion training. In 1995 the first Italian-assembled Harrier was rolled out.[111] In mid-January of the same year, the Giuseppe Garibaldi set off fromTaranto to Somalia, with three Harriers on board, to maintain stability following the withdrawal of UN forces.[113] HP HSTNN-Q63C Battery

The Harriers, flown by five Italian pilots, accumulated more than 100 flight hours and achieved 100 percent availability during the three-month deployment, flying reconnaissance missions and other roles. The squadron returned to port on 22 March.

In 2000, the Italian Navy was looking to acquire a further seven remanufactured aircraft to equip the Giuseppe Garibaldi and a new carrier, the CavourHP HSTNN-Q64C Battery

Existing aircraft, meanwhile, were updated to allow them to carry AIM-120 AMRAAMs and JDAMprecision-guided bombs.[111][115] Italian Harriers, operating from the Garibaldi, worked alongside Italian Eurofighters and the aircraft of other nations in the multinational 2011 military intervention in Libya for Operation Unified Protector. HP HSTNN-UB0W Battery

Harriers conducted intelligence and reconnaissance operations over Libya, using the Litening targeting pods while armed withAIM-120 AMRAAMs and AIM-9 Sidewinders.[116] Marina Militare AV-8Bs are slated to be replaced by 22 F-35B versions of the F-35 Lightning II, operating from theCavour.[117] HP HSTNN-UB1G Battery

Italian Navy AV-8Bs were deployed during the 2011 military intervention in Libya. In total, Italian military aircraft delivered 710 guided bombs and missiles during sorties: Italian Air Force Tornados and AMX fighter bombers delivered 550 bombs and missiles, while the eight Italian Navy AV-8Bs flying from the carrierGaribaldi dropped 160 guided bombs during 1,221 flight hours. HP HSTNN-YB0W Battery

The British Aerospace/McDonnell Douglas Harrier II is a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jet aircraft used previously by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and, between 2006–2010, the Royal Navy. Derived from the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

which was a development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the BAe Harrier II was produced as the Harrier GR5/GR7/GR9. Both are primarily used for light attack or multi-role tasks, and are often operated from small aircraft carriers. After a UK defence review, all its operational airframes were retired from service in December 2010. HP MU06047 Battery

Development of a much more powerful successor to the Harrier began in 1973 as a cooperative effort betweenMcDonnell Douglas in the US and Hawker Siddeley (in 1977, its aviation interests were nationalised to form part ofBritish Aerospace) in the UK. At the time, first-generation Harriers were being introduced into Royal Air Forceand United States Marine Corps; HP MU06055 Battery

operational experience highlighted the need for a more capable aircraft.

Lack of backing from the government for the necessary engine (Pegasus 15) led Hawker to withdraw from that project in 1975. Work continued on a less ambitious successor due to US interest in developing the aircraft. HP MU06062 Battery

This led to a development of the first Harrier with a larger wing and composite materials in the fuselage. Two prototypes were built from existing aircraft and flew in 1978. The U.S. government was content to continue if a major foreign buyer was found. Britain had their own development plan to improve the current Harrier with a new larger metal wing. HP MU06 Battery

In 1980, the British considered if the American development would meet their needs – their opinion was that it required modification. The MDD wing was then modified to incorporate the leading edge root extensions of the British design. HP MU09 Battery

The agreement between the US and the UK was a British contribution of US$280 million to cover general and specific development costs for their own needs and a purchase of at least 60 aircraft. Airframe construction would be divided up between MDD and BAE with no overlap. For UK variants, BAE Systems is the prime contractor and Boeing a sub-contractor. HP MU09XL Battery

The Harrier II is an extensively modified version of the first generation Harrier GR1/GR3 series. The original aluminium alloy fuselage was replaced by a fuselage which makes extensive use of composites, providing significant weight reduction and increased payload or range. An all-new one-piece wing provides around 14 per cent more area and increased thickness. HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

The UK's version of the Harrier II uses different avionic systems, an additional missile pylon in front of each wing landing gear, and strengthened leading edges of the wings to meet higher bird strike requirements.[3] The Harrier II's cockpit has day and night operability and is equipped with Head-up display (HUD), HP NBP6A174 Battery

two head-down displays known as multi-purpose colour displays (MPCDs), a digital moving map, an Inertial Navigation System (INS), and a hands-on-throttle-and-stick system (HOTAS). The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a conventional centre stick and left-hand throttle.


The first new prototype flew in 1981 with production aircraft flying in 1983. HP NBP6A175B1 Battery

The RAF used Harriers in the ground attack and reconnaissance roles, so they relied on the short-range AIM-9 Sidewinder missile for air combat. The Sidewinder had proven effective for Sea Harriers against Argentinian Mirages in the Falklands conflict, but from 1993 the Sea Harrier FA2 could carry the much longer-rangeAIM-120 AMRAAM. HP NBP6A175 Battery

The Sea Harrier had a radar from the start, and the USMC added one with the AV-8B+ upgrade, but the RAF chose not to install a radar on their airframes. With the retirement of the Sea Harrier, it was suggested that its Blue Vixen radar could be transferred to the GR9 fleet. However, the Ministry of Defence rejected this as risky and too expensive. HP WD548AA Battery

The Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram estimated that the cost would be in excess of £600 million.[4]

Operational history

The Harrier GR7 formed the spearhead of the RAF's contribution to Operation Allied Force, the NATO mission in Kosovo. HP WD549AA Battery

During this campaign the RAF identified significant shortcomings in its arsenal. As a result the service ordered the AGM-65 Maverickstand-off missile and the Enhanced Paveway which incorporates GPS guidance which would negate the effects of smoke and bad weather. Using updated ordnance as well as unguided iron and cluster munitions, HP 513130-321 Battery

RAF Harrier GR7s played a prominent role inOperation Telic, the UK contribution to the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003. RAF GR7s participated in strike and close air support missions throughout the conflict.

On 14 October 2005 a RAF Harrier GR7A was destroyed and another was damaged in a rocket attack by Taliban forces while parked on the tarmac at Kandahar in Afghanistan. HP 535808-001 Battery

No one was injured in the attack. The damaged Harrier was repaired, while the destroyed one was replaced by another aircraft.[5] Harrier GR7s were deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 as part of the expanded ISAF mission in the south of Afghanistan. Reflecting the increased pace of operations, HP 591998-141 Battery

RAF Harrier GR7As saw a large increase in munitions used in supporting ground forces since July 2006. Between July and September, the theatre total for munitions deployed by British Harriers on planned operations and close air support to ground forces rose from 179 to 539, mostly CRV-7 rockets.[6] HP 593576-001 Battery

The first operational deployment of the Harrier GR9 was in January 2007 at Kandahar in Afghanistan as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

On one occasion, a British Army Major described the Harrier's air support capability as "utterly, utterly useless" due to its lack of a cannon. HP HSTNN-1B1D Battery

In 2006, the Sea Harrier was retired from Fleet Air Arm service and the Harrier GR7/9 fleet was tasked with the missions that it used to share with those aircraft. The former Sea Harrier squadron 800 Naval Air Squadron reformed with ex-RAF Harrier GR7/9s in April 2006 and joined by the re-formed 801 Naval Air Squadron in 2007. HP HSTNN-OB89 Battery

These later expanded and become the Naval Strike Wing.


On 31 March 2010, No. 20 Squadron RAF, the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), was disbanded; No. 4 Squadron also disbanded and reformed as No. 4 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Wittering.[8] All Harrier GR7 aircraft were retired by July 2010.[9]HP HSTNN-W79C-7 Battery

The Harrier GR9 was expected to stay in service at least until 2018. However, on 19 October 2010 it was announced in theStrategic Defence and Security Review that the Harrier was to be retired by April 2011.[10] In the long term, a number of non-V/STOL F-35C Lightning II, scheduled to be introduced by 2020, HP HSTNN-XB89 Battery

at the same time as a CATOBAR-capable CVF aircraft carrierenters service.[11] The decision to retire the Harrier was controversial, with some senior officers calling for the Panavia Tornado to be retired as an alternative.[12]

On 24 November 2010, the Harrier made its last ever flight from a carrier, incidentally also the last flight from the carrier HMS Ark Royal prior to retirement.[13] HP NBP8A157B1 Battery

The fleet's farewell to operational flights occurred on 15 December 2010 with fly pasts over numerous military bases.[14] In November 2011, the UK Ministry of Defence sold the remaining 72 Harrier-IIs (63 GR.7/9/9As plus 9 T.12/12As[15]), along with available spare parts, to the United States Marine Corps for £116 million (US$180 million); the aircraft are to be used as a source of components for the Americans' AV-8B Harrier II fleet.[16][17][18] HP NZ375AA Battery

However, according to another report dated March 2012, some of the 72 retired Harrier-IIs are to fly again and the USMC plans to equip two squadrons with the latter GR.9/9A models due to the well maintained condition of the airframes prior to USMC inspection team arriving at RAF Cottesmore, HP HSTNN-1B52 Battery

where the aircraft was stored and maintained by a skeleton crew of engineers and technicians following their retirement.[15] Notedly, two of the retired GR.9 were earmarked for preservations, with ZD433 and ZG477 being delivered on 20 December 2011, to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton and to the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford, respectively.[15] HP HSTNN-1B89 Battery

Later, a third GR.9 - ZD461, was delivered on 16 March 2012 to the Imperial War Museum Duxford for preservations.


The GR5 was the RAF's first second-generation Harrier, with development beginning in 1976. HP HSTNN-IB89 Battery

Two AV-8As were modified to Harrier II standard in 1979 and operated as development aircraft. The first BAE built development GR5 flew for the first time on 30 April 1985 and the aircraft entered service in July 1987. The GR5 differed from the USMC AV-8B in many ways, for example avionics fit, weapons and countermeasures. Forty one GR5s were built. HP HSTNN-I62C-7 Battery


The GR5A was a minor variant of the Harrier which incorporated changes in the design in anticipation of the GR7 upgrade. Twenty-one GR5As were built.


The GR7 had its maiden flight in May 1990 and made its first operational deployment in August 1995 over the former Yugoslavia.HP HSTNN-I61C-5 Battery

While the GR7 deployed onInvincible class aircraft carriers during testing as early as June 1994, the first operational deployments at sea began in 1997. This arrangement was formalised with the Joint Force Harrier, operating with the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier. HP HSTNN-I60C-5 Battery


The GR7A is the first stage in an upgrade to the Harrier GR9 standard. The GR7A is the GR7 with an uprated Rolls-RoycePegasus 107 engine. When upgraded to GR9 standard the uprated engine variants will retain the A designation, becoming GR9As. Forty GR7s are due to receive this upgrade HP 535753-001 Battery

 (all GR7 aircraft are to be made capable of using the Mk 107 engine when converted to GR9 standard). The Mk 107 engine provides around 3,000 lbf (13 kN) extra thrust than the Mk 105's 21,750 lbf (98 kN) thrust, increasing aircraft performance during "hot and high" and carrier-borne operations. HP 516479-121 Battery

The last Harrier GR7 was retired from service on 31 March 2010; only GR9s and GR9As remained in service after this date.[9]


The Harrier GR9 is an avionics and weapons upgrade of the standard GR7. The £500m Joint Update and Maintenance Programme (JUMP) HP HSTNN-DB94 Battery

upgraded the Harrier fleet during normal maintenance periods, in a series of incremental capabilities.[20] These started with software upgrades to the communications, ground proximity warning and navigation systems, followed by the integration of the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile.[20] HP HSTNN-IB93 Battery

Capability C added the RAF's Rangeless Airborne Instrumentation Debriefing System (RAIDS), Raytheon's Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system and the Paveway guided bombs.[20] The Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod (DJRP) was added as part of Capability D[20] and handling trials of the MBDA Brimstone missile started on 14 February 2007.[20] HP HSTNN-IB94 Battery

However the Brimstone was still not cleared for the GR9 as of November 2010.[21] Capability E would have included a Link 16 communications link.[20] The Sniper targeting pod replaced the less accurate TIALD in 2007, under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for Afghanistan.[20]

In July 2007, BAE Systems completed the final of seven Harrier GR9 replacement rear fuselages for the UK MoD. HP HSTNN-LB93 Battery

The fuselage components were designed and built as part of a three year £20 million programme.[22]


The Harrier GR9A is an avionics and weapons upgrade of the uprated engined GR7As. All GR9s are capable of accepting the Mk 107 Pegasus engine to become GR9As. HP HSTNN-LB94 Battery

Due to a lack of available Mk 107 engines the Harrier II will continue use the Mk 105 engine to ensure fleet availability.


The Harrier T10 is the original two seat training variant of the second-generation RAF Harrier. The RAF considered upgrading the first-generation Harrier trainer, the T4, to Harrier II standard. HP HSTNN-OB93 Battery

However due to the age of the airframes and the level of modification required, the service decided to order new build Harrier II trainers. The RAF used the USMC trainer, the TAV-8B, as the basis for the design. Unlike their American counterparts the T10s are fully combat capable. Thirteen aircraft were built. HP HSTNN-OB94 Battery


The RAF needed trainers to reflect the upgrade of the GR7 to GR9. Nine T10 aircraft were to receive the JUMP updates under the designation T12, but retain the less powerful Pegasus 105 engine.[20]


The Harrier T12A is the trainer equivalent of the up-engined GR7A. HP HSTNN-XB93 Battery

The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is a naval VTOL/STOVL jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft, a development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier. It first entered service with the Royal Navy in April 1980 as the Sea Harrier FRS1 and became informally known as the "Shar".[1] HP HSTNN-XB94 Battery

Unusual in an era in which most naval and land-based air superiority fighters were large and supersonic, the principal role of the subsonic Sea Harrier was air defence from Royal Navy aircraft carriers.

The Sea Harrier served in the Falklands War, both of the Gulf Wars, and the Balkans conflicts; HP NU089AA Battery

on all occasions it mainly operated from aircraft carriers positioned within the conflict zone. Its usage in the Falklands War was its most high profile and important success, where it was the only fixed-wing fighter available to protect the British Task Force. The Sea Harriers shot down 20 enemy aircraft during the conflict with one loss to enemy ground fire. HP HSTNN-DB95 Battery

They were also used to launch ground attacks in the same manner as the Harriers operated by the Royal Air Force.

The Sea Harrier was marketed for sales abroad, but by 1983 India was the only operator other than Britain after sales to Argentina and Australia were unsuccessful.[2][3] HP HSTNN-IB95 Battery

A second, updated version for the Royal Navy was made in 1993 as the Sea Harrier FA2, improving its air to air abilities and weapons compatibilities, along with a more powerful engine; this version continued manufacture until 1998. The aircraft was withdrawn early from Royal Navy service in March 2006 and replaced in the short term by the Harrier GR9, HP HSTNN-LB95 Battery

now itself retired, although the intended long term replacement is Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II. The Sea Harrier is in active use in the Indian Navy, although it will eventually be replaced by the Mikoyan MiG-29K.

In the post-war era, the Royal Navy began contracting in parallel with the break-up of the British Empire overseas and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Nations, HP HSTNN-XB95 Battery

reducing the need for a larger navy. By 1960 the last battleship, HMS Vanguard, was retired from the Navy, having been in service for less than fifteen years.[4] Perhaps the biggest sign of the new trend towards naval austerity came in 1966, when the planned CVA-01 class of large aircraft carriers destined for the Royal Navy were cancelled;[5] HP NU090AA Battery

apparently ending the Navy's involvement in fixed-wing carrier aviation as World War II era carriers were slowly retired one by one.[6] During this time requirements within the Royal Navy began to form for a vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) carrier-based interceptor to replace the de Havilland Sea Vixen. HP 500028-142 Battery

Afterward the first V/STOL tests on a ship began with a Hawker Siddeley P.1127 landing on HMS Ark Royal in 1963.[7][8]

A second concept for the future of naval aviation emerged in the early 1970s as the first of a new class of "through deck cruisers" was planned. HP 500029-142 Battery

These were very carefully and politically designated as cruisers to deliberately avoid the term "aircraft carrier",[9] in order to increase the chances of funding from a hostile political climate against expensive capital ships,[10] they were considerably smaller than the previously sought CVA-01.[11] HP HSTNN-IB82 Battery

 These ships were ordered as theInvincible class in 1973,[11] and are now popularly recognised as aircraft carriers. Almost immediately upon their construction, a ski-jump was added to the end of the 170-metre deck, enabling the carriers to effectively operate a small number of V/STOL jets.[10][12] HP HSTNN-IB83 Battery

The Royal Air Force's Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1s had entered service in April 1969. A navalised variant of the Harrier was developed by Hawker Siddeley to serve on the upcoming ships, this became the Sea Harrier. In 1975 the Royal Navy ordered 24 Sea Harrier FRS.1 (standing for 'Fighter, Reconnaissance, Strike'[12]) aircraft,[9] the first of which entered service in 1978.[10] HP NB801AA Battery

During this time Hawker Siddeley became part of British Aerospace through nationalisation in 1977.[13] By the time the prototype Sea Harrier was flown at Dunsfold on 20 August 1978 the order had been increased to 34.[14] The Sea Harrier was declared operational in 1981 on board the first Invincible class shipHMS Invincible, and further aircraft joined the ageing HMS Hermes aircraft carrier later that year.[15] HP 530975-341 Battery

Following their key role in the 1982 Falklands War,[16] several lessons were learned from the aircraft's performance, which led to approval for an upgrade of the fleet to FRS.2 (later known as FA2) standard to be given in 1984. The first flight of the prototype took place in September 1988 and a contract was signed for 29 upgraded aircraft in December that year.[17] HP 579320-001 Battery

In 1990 the Navy ordered 18 new-build FA2s,[18] at a unit cost of around £12 million, four further upgraded aircraft were ordered in 1994. The first aircraft was delivered on 2 April 1993.

The Sea Harrier is a subsonic aircraft designed to fill strike, reconnaissance and fighter roles.[20] HP AT902AA Battery

It features a singleRolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan engine with two intakes and four vectorable nozzles.[9] It has two landing gear on the fuselage and two outrigger landing gear on the wings. The Sea Harrier is equipped with four wing and three fuselage pylons for carrying weapons and external fuel tanks.[21] HP HSTNN-DB91 Battery

Use of the ski jump allowed the aircraft to take off from a short flight deck with a heavier loadout than otherwise possible, although it can also take off like a conventional loaded fighter without thrust vectoring from a normal airport runway.[22]

The Sea Harrier was largely based on the Harrier GR3, but was modified to have a raised cockpit with a "bubble" canopy for greater visibility,[12] HP HSTNN-OB91 Battery

 and an extended forward fuselage to accommodate the Ferranti Blue Fox radar.[9] Parts were changed to use corrosion resistant alloys or coatings were added to protect against the marine environment.[23] After the Falklands War, the Sea Harrier was fitted with the new anti-ship Sea Eagle missile.[24] HP HSTNN-OB92 Battery

The Sea Harrier FA2 featured the Blue Vixen radar, which was described as one of the most advanced pulse doppler radarsystems in the world;[25] the Blue Fox radar was seen be some critics as having comparatively low performance for what was available at the time of procurement.[24] HP HSTNN-XB91 Battery

 The Blue Vixen formed the basis for development of the Eurofighter Typhoon's CAPTOR radar.[26] The Sea Harrier FA2 also carried the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, the first UK aircraft to be provided with this capability.[27] An upgraded model of the Pegasus engine, the Pegasus Mk 106, was used in the Sea Harrier FA2; HP HSTNN-XB92 Battery

in response to the threat of radar-based anti aircraft weapons electronic countermeasures were added.[24] Other improvements included an increase to the air-to-air weapons load, look-down radar, increased range, and improved cockpit displays.[17]

The cockpit in the Sea Harrier includes a conventional centre stick arrangement and left-hand throttle. HP 513128-251 Battery

In addition to normal flight controls, the Harrier has a lever for controlling the direction of the four vectorable nozzles. The nozzles point rearward with the lever in the forward position for horizontal flight. With the lever back, the nozzles point downward for vertical takeoff or landing.[ HP 513128-361 Battery

The usefulness of the vertical landing capability of the Sea Harrier was demonstrated in an incident on 6 June 1983, when Sub Lieutenant Ian Watson lost contact with the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and had to land Sea Harrier ZA176 [30] on the foredeck of the Spanish cargo ship Alraigo.[31] HP 535806-001 Battery

In 2005, although already timetabled to be retired, a Sea Harrier was modified with an 'Autoland' system to allow the fighter to perform a safe vertical landing without any pilot interaction. Despite the pitching of a ship posing a natural problem, the system was designed to be aware of such data, and successfully performed a landing at sea in May 2005. HP NZ374AA Battery

Entry into service

The first three Sea Harriers were a development batch and were used for clearance trials.[14] The first production aircraft was delivered to RNAS Yeovilton in 1979 to form an Intensive Flying Trials Unit (also known as 700A Naval Air Squadron).[14] HP HSTNN-DB90 Battery

In March 1980 the Intensive Flying Trials Unit became 899 Naval Air Squadron and would act as the landborne headquarters unit for the type.[14] The first operational squadron 800 Naval Air Squadron was also formed in March 1980 initially to operate from HMS Invincible before it transferred to HMS Hermes.[14] HP HSTNN-XB90 Battery

In January 1981 a second operation squadron 801 Naval Air Squadron was formed to operate from HMS Invincible.[14]

Falklands War

Sea Harriers took part in the Falklands War of 1982, flying from the aircraft carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes.[33] HP 292389-001 Battery

The Sea Harriers performed the primary air defence role with a secondary role of ground attack. The RAF Harrier GR3 provided the main ground attack force, a total of 28 Sea Harriers and 14 Harrier GR3s were deployed in the theatre.[34] The Sea Harrier squadrons shot down 20 Argentine aircraft in air-to-air combat with no air-to-air losses, HP 337607-001 Battery

although two Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire and four to accidents.[35] Out of the total Argentine air losses, 28% were shot down by Harriers.[33]

A number of factors contributed to the failure of the Argentinian fighters to shoot down a Sea Harrier. HP 337607-002 Battery

Although the Mirage III and Dagger jets were considerably faster, the Sea Harrier was considerably more manoeuvrable. Tactics such as such as the 'Viff' (Vectored in Forward Flight) using the nozzles normally used for vertical flight for braking and other directions proved decisive in dogfights. HP 337607-003 Battery

Moreover, the Harrier employed the latest AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles and the Blue Fox radar.[36][38] The British pilots had superior air-combat training, one manifestation of which was that they thought they noticed Argentinian pilots occasionally releasing weapons outside of their operating parameters. HP 338794-001 Battery

This is now thought to have been Mirages releasing external fuel tanks rather than weapons, and turning away from conflict with the Sea Harrier. This later reduced their capability to fight an effective campaign against the Sea Harrier due to reduced range and lack of external fuel tanks. HP 342661-001 Battery

British aircraft received fighter control from warships in San Carlos Water, although its effectiveness was limited by their being stationed close to the islands, which severely limited the effectiveness of their radar.[40] The differences in tactics and training between 800 Squadron and 801 Squadron has been a point of criticism, suggesting that the losses of several ships were preventable had Sea Harriers from Hermes been used more effectively.[41] HP 345027-001 Battery

Both sides' aircraft were operating in adverse conditions. Argentine aircraft were forced to operate from the mainland because airfields on the Falklands were only suited for propellor-driven transports.[40] In addition, fears partly aroused by the bombing of Port Stanley airport by a British Vulcan bomber added to the Argentinians' decision to operate them from afar.[42] HP 346970-001 Battery

 As most Argentine aircraft lacked in-flight refuelling capability, they were forced to operate at the limit of their range.[40] The Sea Harriers also had limited fuel reserves due to the tactical decision to station the British carriers out ofExocet missile range and the dispersal of the fleet.[43] HP 361742-001 Battery

The result was that an Argentine aircraft could only allow five minutes over the islands to search and attack an objective, while a Sea Harrier could stay near to 30 minutes waiting in the Argentine approach corridors and provide Combat Air Patrol coverage for up to an hour.

The Sea Harriers were outnumbered by the available Argentinian aircraft,[40HP 367759-001 Battery

] and were on occasion decoyed away by the activities of the Escuadrón Fénix or civilian jet aircraft used by the Argentine Air Force. They had to operate without a fleet early warning system such as AWACS that would have been available to a full NATO fleet in which the Royal Navy had expected to operate, which was a significant weakness in the operational environment.[40] HP 371785-001 Battery

However, it is now known that Chile did provide early radar warning to the Task Force.[45][46] The result was that the Sea Harriers could not establish complete air superiority and prevent Argentine attacks during day or night, nor could they completely stop the daily C-130 Hercules transports' night flights to the islands.[ HP 371786-001 Battery

] A combined six Sea Harriers were lost to either enemy fire, accidents or mechanical failure during the war.[48] The total aggregate loss rate for both the Harriers and Sea Harriers on strike operations was 2.3%.[49]

Operations in the 1990s

The Sea Harrier saw action in war again when it was deployed in the 1991–1995 conflict in Bosnia, part of Yugoslav Wars.[19] HP 372772-001 Battery

It launched raids on Serb forces and provided airsupport for the international taskforce units conducting Operations Deny Flight and Deliberate Force against the Army of Republika Srpska.[50][51] On 16 April 1994, a Sea Harrier of the 801 Naval Air Squadron, operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark RoyalHP 383220-001 Battery

was brought down by a SAM fired by Army of Republika Srpska while attempting to bomb two Serbian tanks.[52] The pilot, Lieutenant Nick Richardson, ejected and landed in territory controlled by friendly Bosnian Muslims.[53]

It was used again in 1999 NATO campaign against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Operation Allied Force,[54] HP 395789-001 Battery

Sea Harriers which operated from HMS Invincible frequently patrolled the airspace to keep Yugoslavian MiGs on the ground.[55] They were also deployed to Sierra Leone on board HMS Illustrious in 2000, which was itself part of a Royal Navy convoy to supply and reinforce British intervention forces in the region.[19][56] HP 396008-001 Battery


The Sea Harrier was withdrawn from service in 2006 and the last remaining aircraft from 801 Naval Air Squadron were decommissioned on 29 March 2006.[57][58] The plans for retirement were announced in 2002 by the Ministry of Defence. The aircraft's replacement, the F-35 Lightning II,[59] HP 398876-001 Battery

 was originally due in 2012, the MoD arguing that significant expenditure would be required to upgrade the fleet for only six years of service.[60] By March 2010, the F-35's introduction had been pushed back to 2016 at the earliest, with the price doubled.[61] The decision to retire the Sea Harrier early has been criticised by some officers within the military.[62] HP 411462-421 Battery

Both versions of Harrier experienced reduced engine performance (Pegasus Mk 106 in FA2 – Mk 105 in GR7) in the higher ambient temperatures of the Middle East, which restricted the weight of payload that the Harrier could return to the carrier in 'vertical' recoveries.[19] This was due to the safety factors associated with aircraft "land-on" weights. HP 417066-001 Battery

The natural option – to install higher-rated Pegasus engines – would not be as straightforward as the Harrier GR7 upgrade and would likely be an expensive and slow process.[19] Furthermore, the Sea Harriers were subject to a generally more hostile environment than land-based Harriers, with corrosive salt spray a particular problem. HP 916-2150 Battery

A number of aircraft were retained by the School of Flight Deck Operations at RNAS Culdrose;[63] in theory these could be regenerated.

The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm would continue to share the other component of Joint Force Harrier.[64HP BAT0302001 Battery

] Harrier GR7 and the upgraded Harrier GR9 were transferred to Royal Navy squadrons in 2006,[19] but were retired prematurely a few years later due to budget cuts.[65] The UK planned to purchase F-35s to be operated from the Royal Navy's Future CVF Carrier.

Indian Navy

In 1977, the Indian government approved of plans to acquire the Sea Harrier for the Indian Navy; HP CGR-B1870AE Battery

prior to this, rumours reportedly were circulating of a potential Indian purchase of the Soviet V/STOL-capable Yak-36.[70] In 1979, India placed its first order for 6 Sea Harriers, the first three of which arrived at Dabolim Airport on 16 December 1983.[71] A separate deal for a further ten Sea Harriers were purchased in November 1985;[72] HP DG103A Battery

 eventually a total of 30 Harriers were procured, 25 for operational use and the remainder as dual-seat trainer aircraft.[73] Until the 1990s, significant portions of pilot training was carried out in Britain due to limited aircraft availability.[74]

The introduction of the Sea Harrier allowed for the retirement of India's previous carrier fighter aircraft, HP DM842A Battery

the Hawker Sea Hawk, as well as for the Navy's aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant (ex-HMS Hercules), to be extensively modernised between 1987 and 1989.[71] India has operated Sea Harriers from both the aircraft carriers INS Vikrant and INS Viraat (ex-HMS Hermes).[49]The Sea Harrier allowed several modern missiles to be introduced into naval operations, HP DP390A Battery

such as the British anti-ship Sea Eagle missile,[75] and the French Matra Magic missile for air-to-air combat.[74] Other ordinance has included 68 mm rockets, runway-denial bombs, cluster bombs, and podded 30 mm cannons.[74]

There have been a significant number of accidents involving the Sea Harrier; HP DP399A Battery

this accident rate has caused more than half the fleet to be lost with only 11 fighters remaining in service. Following a crash in August 2009, all Sea Harriers were temporarily grounded for inspection.[76] Since the beginning of operational service in the Indian Navy, seven pilots have died in 17 crashes involving the Sea Harrier, usually during routine sorties. HP EF419A Battery

In 2006, the Indian Navy expressed interest in acquiring up to eight of the Royal Navy's retired Sea Harrier FA2s in order to maintain their operational Sea Harrier fleet,[78] Neither the Sea Harrier FA2's Blue Vixen radar, the radar warning receiveror AMRAAM capability was proposed to be included; certain US software would be also be uninstalled prior to shipment.[78] HP EG417AA Battery

 By October 2006, reports emerged that the deal had not materialised due to the cost of airframe refurbishment.As of 2006, the Indian Navy is in the process of upgrading up to fifteen Sea Harriers in collaboration with Israel by installing the Elta EL/M-2032 radar and the Rafael 'Derby' medium range air to air missile.[ HP EV087AA Battery

This will enable the Sea Harrier to remain in Indian service until beyond 2012, and also see limited service off the new carriers it will acquire by that time frame. Ultimately India plans to introduce larger aircraft carriers that can operate Russian MiG-29K carrier fighters from their flight decks to replace the Sea Harrier. HP EV088AA Battery,HP EX941AA Battery,HP EX942AA Battery

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