Today was the last flight of the Harrier – which was retired as part of the SDSR – and marked by a 16 strong flight from RAF Cottesmore to fly its last mission.
While it was a very capable platform, I can understand the reasons for its retirement, but it is worthwhile remembering just what an amazing aircraft it was. Developed through the 1950s/1960s, it has seen operational service through many campaigns.
I was lucky enough to spend 4 years working on a programme for a new subsystem for it, which was a tremendous privilege, firstly because i saw it through from initial ideas, all the way through to final design and user design testing. When it got on the aircraft for flight testing, apparently the reviews were v good too, but also because of working with such an aircraft and the guys who fly them was a great experience.
But these things happen, it was going to retire soon anyway, so it’s not a massive shock, but a selfish pity!
A great feat of engineering to build, maintain and upgrade it and Airmanship to fly it – Gone but not forgotten!