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Asia - Central | Boeing | Britain/U.K. | Field Reports | Fighters & Attack

Field Report: British GR7 Harrier IIs in Afghanistan

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GR7 Harrier II(click to view full) In March 2005, DID covered the evolution of the USMC’s AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, and their growing success in the Iraqi theater of war as a close air support platform for urban warfighting. Now the UK’s Ministry of Defence has issued a release concerning the performance of No 3 (Fighter) Squadron’s six GR7A Harrier IIs (AV-8B counterparts) in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which makes for interesting reading. While US forces are slowly rebuilding the runway at Kandahar, the Harrier’s V/STOL (Vertical/ Short Take-Off and Landing) capability makes it the only fast jet fighter able to operate from the south of the country, and the sole local jet asset readily available to support allied troops on the ground. In the Falklands War, earlier Harrier versions faced challenges due to forward air controller equipment shortages on the battlefield and the inherent difficulty of using fast-moving jets as scouting aircraft for hidden or camouflaged enemy troops. Maj. David Wheen, Royal Marines, elaborates in this 1986 lecture. Meanwhile, the MoD release notes that: “The insurgent and anti-government forces operate in the towns and remote mountainous regions in the southern provinces and along the Pakistani border. The area is barren, hostile […]

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