Naval Air: March 21, 2002


Britain has decided to take its Sea Harriers out of service by the end of 2006 instead of keeping them through 2015 as originally planned. The British had bought 18 new aircraft in 1998-99 and had refitted 35 Sea Harriers; these aircraft will probably be offered for export to countries using Harriers. The problem is that the Royal Navy will be without fixed-wing fighters from 2006 until Joint Strike Fighters enter service sometime after 2012. It will be hard for the Navy to maintain a corps of pilots during this period, although some will serve with Royal Air Force Harrier squadrons.--Stephen V Cole


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