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  (Source: 20th Century Fox)

AV-8B Harrier
Harrier jets to replace ageing F-18s

The U.S. rarely buys decommissioned aircraft from other countries according to Defense News, but the U.S. is doing just that with some decommissioned British aircraft.
 
Britain is selling its entire fleet of 74 Harrier jump jets to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The deal will allow the Navy and Marines to continue to operate their existing Harrier aircraft into the mid-2020s. The 74 British aircraft aren't being used to replace Harriers currently in the U.S. fleet; the aircraft will instead be used to replace older F-18 ground attack fighters.
 
Although a price on the 74 airframes and accompanying engines hasn't yet been reached, the U.S. is paying $50 million for Harrier spare parts. The Harriers were retired in Britain late last year as part of defense reduction measures. The aircraft carriers the Harriers used and other support vessels were also retired. The Harriers have been stored at the Royal Air Force Base in Cottesmore, England.
 
The fleet has been undergoing minimum maintenance procedures simply to keep the jets airworthy. The only outstanding details left in the purchase are payment terms; nonetheless, the deal will be signed in the next week or two.
 
The British aircraft will have to undergo some retrofitting to remove British systems and put American systems into place.
 
Author Lon Nordeen, who has written several books on the Harrier, said, "[The Harriers] are still quite serviceable. The [British and American] aircraft are not that far apart. We're taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them. It's like we're buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it."
 
The trouble prone F-35B STOVL aircraft will replace the Harrier used by the U.S. military in 2025 barring future delays in the F-35B testing. Military commanders continue to put their support behind the F-35B despite delays.

Source: DefenseNews





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