Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Harrier Jump Jets Take Off For Final Show

Britain's Harrier jump jets have taken off today on what is billed as their "final flight" before Government spending cuts fall on them and they are withdrawn.

The 16-strong fleet of famous and distinctive aircraft headed off into the sky above RAF Cottesmore in the East Midlands on a farewell journey due to take them over several other RAF bases. Weather permitting, they are scheduled to fly over the local town centres of Stamford and Oakham as well as Lincoln Cathedral before landing back at RAF Cottesmore later.

The jets date back to the 1960s when the first generation of Harriers were built in the UK and in 1969 the Royal Air Force became the first in the world to use the jets' unusual vertical take-off and landing abilities. This distinctive feature previously only possible with helicopters and other rotary wing aircraft, enabled the Harriers to fly in and out of areas near to the battlefield that conventional aircraft couldn't reach. It meant they did not need airstrips and could hide more effectively.

They became famous for their ability to hover above the ground and proved themselves against faster supersonic jets during the Falklands Conflict in 1982, the Harrier being a sub-sonic aircraft. They developed their own fighting tactics, using their directional jet nozzles to stop in mid air, let enemy aircraft pass then attack.

But the Harriers fell victim to the recent bout of cuts, coupled with the loss of the aircraft carriers from which the Harriers operated from, when the Government announced the Harriers would be removed from service in this autumn's defence review.

The farewell flight is in celebration of their retirement, the Ministry of Defence said.
They will be missed!


Posted via email from Copper Phoenix's posterous

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