First UK-Bound Stealth Harrier Replacement Rolls Off Production Line But Is Not Destined For Service

By Sam Gibbs on at

The first replacement for the iconic Harrier Jump Jet has rolled off the production line, and even though we purchased it, we're not going to use it. Unfortunately, when Mr. Cameron rolled into office he said no to STOVL and yes to catapults.

The UK was, up until that point, well behind the F-35B, the jump jet-equipped version of the stealth fighter and ordered three of the fancy planes. While we were committed so have to have them, they're not going to see front-line duties, and our Navy's not going to get a sniff of them.

Instead we'll be taking the F-35C, the one equipped with carrier compatible tailhooks and reinforced structure for use on our new Queen Lizzy-class catapult-equipped carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Price of Wales. They'll join the horrendously expensive Eurofighter and Tornados in service.

While I understand the cost savings associated with the cut-backs, it's sad to see that Britain won't have any jump jet-equipped planes in service, having seen the Harriers sold off to the US Marines. [Wikipedia, The Register, Defence Management]