US purchasing entire fleet of British Harrier jets

A Harrier jet of 1(F) Joint Force Squadron hovers as it comes in to land on the flight deck of HMS Ark Royal, July 14, 2010.

From Christopher P. Cavas, Vago Muradian and Andrew Chuter, Marine Times:  The Navy and Marine Corps have agreed to buy Britain’s entire decommissioned fleet of 74 Harrier jump jets, along with engines and spare parts — a move expected to help the Corps operate Harriers into the mid-2020s and provide extra planes to replace aging two-seat F-18D Hornet strike fighters.

Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich, chief of the Navy’s Supply Corps, confirmed the two-part deal last week during a conference in New York sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in association with Defense News.

Heinrich negotiated the $50 million purchase of all Harrier spare parts, while Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis, the Navy’s program executive officer for tactical aircraft, is overseeing discussions to buy the Harrier aircraft and their Rolls-Royce engines, Heinrich said.

A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence confirmed the Disposal Services Agency was in talks with the Navy for the sale of the Harriers. The deal had yet to be concluded, he said Friday.

Britain retired its joint force of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Harrier aircraft late last year in one of the most controversial moves of the defense reductions, which also cut the aircraft carriers that operated the jets, other warships, maritime patrol planes and personnel. . . .

A British MoD source said Friday that he thought both deals could be signed in the next week or two. The MoD source confirmed that the entire fleet of 74 Harrier aircraft was involved in the sale.  (photo: Getty)

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