Lewis Page explains why the USMC is getting a lovely windfall from Britain’s crack-brained decision to get out of the aircraft carrier business:
Blighty’s famous force of Harrier jump-jets, controversially disposed of during last year’s defence review along with the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, have been reprieved: the radical vectored-thrust jets, believed by many to have been the best strike planes in Britain’s arsenal, will fly (and almost certainly, fight) again.
However they won’t do so with British roundels on their sides or British pilots in their cockpits. The mothballed fleet of 74 Harriers, plus the UK’s inventory of spare parts, is being bought up lock, stock and barrel by the US Marines.
The US Marines possess a substantial air arm of their own and operate a large fleet of Harriers, with slightly different equipment but structurally the same. They anticipate that the British planes, engines and spares, many of which are in nearly-new condition and have been recently upgraded at significant expense, will allow them to keep flying Harriers into the mid-2020s without difficulty.
“We’re taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them. It’s like we’re buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it,” Harrier expert Lon Nordeen tells the Navy Times.