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USMC expanding Harrier fleet

This is a discussion on USMC expanding Harrier fleet within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; With the USMC about to get their hands on the ex RN/RAF harrier fleet, what do they need to do ...


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Old November 19th, 2011   #1
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USMC expanding Harrier fleet

With the USMC about to get their hands on the ex RN/RAF harrier fleet, what do they need to do to make them compatible with current USMC fleet of AV-8B Harrier aircraft II.

Reading between the UK and US versions of the aircraft there is a subtle difference’s between the aircraft not only in the avionics, weapons but also different wing elevated cockpit and redesigned fuselage. With the US getting all of the UK harriers 72 in total, from early Sea Harriers to the later version of Harrier II GR5, 7, 9.I would imagine that minimal amount of work in the avionics for a majority of the fleet will suffice to keep whole Squadron of the same type together to replace F/A-18D on mass and for easier integration for the supply chain.

How do people see the US managing its enlarged mixed fleet of Harriers in the future?

Entire Mothballed RAF Harrier Fleet to be Sold to USMC: key.Aero, Military Aviation
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Old November 19th, 2011   #2
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Originally Posted by t68 View Post
With the USMC about to get their hands on the ex RN/RAF harrier fleet, what do they need to do to make them compatible with current USMC fleet of AV-8B Harrier aircraft II.

Reading between the UK and US versions of the aircraft there is a subtle difference’s between the aircraft not only in the avionics, weapons but also different wing elevated cockpit and redesigned fuselage. With the US getting all of the UK harriers 72 in total, from early Sea Harriers to the later version of Harrier II GR5, 7, 9.I would imagine that minimal amount of work in the avionics for a majority of the fleet will suffice to keep whole Squadron of the same type together to replace F/A-18D on mass and for easier integration for the supply chain.

How do people see the US managing its enlarged mixed fleet of Harriers in the future?

Entire Mothballed RAF Harrier Fleet to be Sold to USMC: key.Aero, Military Aviation
Considering the upcoming budget cuts, I suspect they will store them in the desert for spares...
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Old November 20th, 2011   #3
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With the US getting all of the UK harriers 72 in total, from early Sea Harriers to the later version of Harrier II GR5, 7, 9.
The other reports I've read say that the USMC is getting GR9s, GR9As, & T12. I'm not sure if there are any GR5s or GR7s left. I thought they'd all either been upgraded to GR9 or disposed of, not mothballed.

Sea Harriers would be of no use at all. None of the parts would fit. Different airframe, different engine. AFAIK, the only ones left are used as instructional airframes, not mothballed.
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Old November 21st, 2011   #4
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What would the role of the HMS Illustrious be till the time it will be retired in 2014 ?

What would be the ideal cost of the 74 Aircraft and the associated stores
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Old November 21st, 2011   #5
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What would the role of the HMS Illustrious be till the time it will be retired in 2014 ?
LPH and ASW Helicopter carrier.
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Old November 24th, 2011   #6
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Marines won’t fly Brit Harriers - Marine Corps News|Marine Corps Times

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Marines won’t fly Brit Harriers
By Christopher P. Cavas - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Nov 17, 2011 13:52:49 EST

.... the purchase will be strictly for spare parts and logistic support, and not a move to increase the operational fleet.

“We have no intent at any point to ever fly any of these” British jets, said one U.S. source.
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Old November 25th, 2011   #7
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Buying 74 aircraft for spares towards 110 aircraft seems too much, but again it would depend on the cost for the purchase.
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Old December 1st, 2011   #8
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I was wondering about the price of 2.5 M per plane, but if the planes are not in flying condition then it does make sense.

However, it is sad to see such a good plane ( I don't know about its technicals but I always liked its looks) to retire completely.

Also with F-35B canceled in favor of F-35C, will RAF or RN have any STVOL aircraft?


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Old December 1st, 2011   #9
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Also with F-35B canceled in favor of F-35C, will RAF or RN have any STVOL aircraft?
No.

The UK has abandoned STOVL.
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Old December 1st, 2011   #10
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I was wondering about the price of 2.5 M per plane, but if the planes are not in flying condition then it does make sense.

However, it is sad to see such a good plane ( I don't know about its technicals but I always liked its looks) to retire completely.

Also with F-35B canceled in favor of F-35C, will RAF or RN have any STVOL aircraft?


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Think of the sale as a windfall for the British. They got 2.5 million each for old jets they were discarding. Thirty years ago the Harriers may have made wonderful interceptors, but lately they were used mostly for strike missions. They are no match to modern fighters in the interceptor role being too slow and outranged by fighters with longer range air to air missiles everywhere.

While the Harriers did excellent work during the Falklands, if the Argies had had hundreds of Exocets instead of one handful, one wonders whether the British would have won that battle. Not to mention a newer, faster, and better jet than a Mirage III or Skyhawk.

Considering the price of new modern fighters, the Typhoon and Lightning II, its no wonder the British are keen to unload the soon to be obsolescent Harriers. While I am not certain, I understand the British Harriers were not used during the UN LIbya air campaign.

Recently the British bought/ordered an EMALS catapult for the second QE carrier HMS Prince of Wales. It will be the second carrier with EMALS after the Gerald R. Ford. Hopefully the British buy a second EMALS to install on HMS Queen Elizabeth too soon.

EMALS has done wonderfully in the tests so far with a number of naval aircraft, from the Hawkeye, Greyhound, Super Hornet, Hornet, Prowler, and with naval versions of the Lightning II. The US Navy anticipates significantly better sortie rates with EMALS over the present steam catapults.
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Old December 1st, 2011   #11
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The Harriers sold to the USA aren't & never were interceptors. They're GR.9s, dedicated ground attack aircraft with no radar.

The RNs Sea Harriers didn't have any problem with their air-air missiles being outranged. They had AMRAAM - as do the Spanish & Italian AV-8B+.

The British Harriers were retired before the Libyan campaign began, so were not available for it.

There aren't many faster jets around than the Mirage III. Super Hornet, F-35, Typhoon, Rafale & Gripen all have lower top speeds.
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