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News

1999-2000

The news items below are those from 1999-2000 that no longer feature on the main News page.

 

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 Harrier GR.9.
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 Pegasus engine.
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 2 AShM.
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.

 

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