|12/00 - First Pegasus 107 delivered.
The Royal Air Force's Harrier GR.7 re-engining programme has moved ahead
with the delivery of the first Pegasus 107 by Rolls-Royce on 30 November.
The engine will be installed in a development aircraft during early 2001,
while the main update effort will commence in 2002 with the delivery of
the main batch of Pegasus 107s. Updated aircraft are likely to be re-designated
|09/00 - USMC re-grounds AV-8Bs. Having
grounded 106 AV-8B aircraft in July, the USMC has re-grounded 22 of 45 aircraft
that had been cleared afrter engine examinations up to early September.
All grounded aircraft will now need vibration and oil-analysis checks on
their engines before they can fly again. 33 out of 164 affected F404-408
engines had been cleared by mid-September. With 10 aircraft a month being
checked it will be seven months before the entire fleet is cleared.
|08/00 - RAF's Kosovo performance revealed.
The RAF has revealed the results of a study of the service's performance
in the 1999 Kosovo campaign. Aircraft (including Tornados) equipped with
the TIALD/Paveway II combination achieved a 65% success rate, compared to
85% over Bosnia in 1995 and 100% for the combination in the Gulf in 1991.
The Harrier GR.7 had no success with the Paveway III due to integration
problems. The RBL 755 cluster bomb carried by Harriers achieved a 40% success
rate, with 31% of weapons missing their target and 29% unaccounted for.
The succes rate of 1000 lb. iron bombs varied from 2% for impact fuzed weapons
to 30% for air-burst fuzed ones. The RAF attributed the results to poor
weather, but lack of training experience with LGBs were blamed by some Harrier
pilots. The RAF has announced that AGM-65G Maverick missiles are to replace
the RBL 755 on the Harrier GR.7.
|07/00 - USMC grounds Harriers. 106 USMC
AV-8Bs were grounded late July following the crash of an aircraft. The cause
was the failure of the no.3 bearing of the aircraft's Rolls-Royce F404-408
|07/00 - No 1 Squadron re-locates. The
RAF's No. 1 Squadron, longest serving front-line Harrier unit in the world,
has moved from Wittering to Cottesmore to join 3 & 4 Squadrons as part
of Joint Force Harrier. The move was completed on 28th July.
|06/00 - AV-8B updates outlined. The AV-8B Programme
Office has outlined its Open System Core Avionics Requirement (OSCAR). This
features new mission and weapons management computers, allowing new systems
and weapons to be integrated with the aircraft. OSCAR 1.1, due in October
200,1 will allow Spanish and Italian Harriers to fire AMRAAMs. OSCAR 1.2
(due 2003) will allow all AV-8B operators to carry JDAM bombs. OSCAR 1.3,
1.4 and on will follow at two-yearly intervals to keep the aircraft effective
until 2015-20. These updates will see the introduction of AIM-9X, AGM-154
JSOW, Link 16 datalink, Joint helmet Mounted Cueing System, Northrop Grumman
- Rafael Litening II nav/targeting pod and new anti-ship missiles.
|06/00 - USMC seeks more AV-8B rebuilds. With the
last of 72 Harrier IIs rebuilt to Harrier II+ standard due to be delivered
to the service in May 2003, the USMC is seeking authority in FY01 for 4
more rebuilds, plus 12 more under FY02. Deliveries would commence in August
2003. The USMC needs these aircraft as it has suffered high attrition, losing
seven Harriers in 1999, although only one was lost in the first half of
2000. It may also sell four AV-8B+ aircraft to Italy in the future.
|06/00 - Spain and Italy clear AMRAAM envelope. In
a jointly funded series of tests carried out at China Lake in the United
States, Spain and Italy have expanded the flight envelope in which their
naval Harrier II+ aircraft can carry AMRAAM missiles. From the previous
+3g/-1g they have now demonstrated satisfactory flying characteristics up
to +7g/-3g with the aircraft carrying up to four AMRAAM on wing pylons.
Full operational release is expected October 2001.
|06/00 - Spanish Navy looks at arming Harrier II+ with
Penguin missile. As part of a proposed offset package for the purchase
by Norway of Spanish frigates, the Spanish Navy is looking at equipping
its Harrier II+ fighters and SH-60B helicopters with the Kongsberg Penguin
anti-ship missile (AShM). The service had originally hoped to equip its
Harriers with the Harpoon missile, but this depended on USMC funding for
such a move which was not forthcoming. It is understood that the Italian
Navy is looking at equipping its Harriers with the Alenia Marconi Marte
|04/00 - Joint Force Harrier formed. Operating under
the command of No.3 Group Strike Command, Joint Force Harrier was formed
at RAF Cottesmore on 1st April 2000. Nos.3 & 4 Squadrons are currently
based there, to be joined by No.1 Squadron mid-year. The Royal Navy's front-line
Sea Harrier units, 800 & 801 Squadrons, will move to Cottesmore in 2003.
The naval training unit, 899 Squadron, will join the RAF's training unit,
20(R) Squadron, at Wittering, also in 2003.
|12/99 - Harrier GR.7 engine upgrade. Rolls-Royce
and the UK MoD have announced a £120 million contract to update 40
Harrier GR.7 Mk.105 Pegasus engines to Mk.107 standard. Trial engines are
due to be delivered in December 2000, with production deliveries during
2002-04. The Pegasus Mk.107 has a thrust of 23,800lb. compared to the 21,750lb.
of the Mk.105. The update is hoped to overcome difficulties caused by the
lack of power in the Mk.105. An option on a further 86 engines is valued
at a further £230 million. The update contract uses the newly implemented
Smart Procurement procedures of the MoD.