Will Britain use Harriers to silence Gaddafi forces?

April 18th, 2011 - 5:25 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 17 (ANI): Sixty Harrier jump jets that could be used to deal with Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces are kept in British hangers, waiting to be scrapped under defence spending cuts.

Amid situations wherein Britain is struggling to maintain its expensive mission supporting Libyan rebels, 60 iconic warplanes, in good condition, are stored in three hangars after getting the chop under defence cuts, The Sun reports.

Their engines are regularly turned over at RAF Cottesmore, and they could be ready to fly in two months.

Currently, Britain is spending 30million pounds a week to support the Libyan rebels’ cause.

The huge bill goes on basing RAF jets, their crews and ground staff in Italy, fuel and ammunition. But Harriers could do the job from an aircraft carrier for 40 million pounds a year, the paper said.

A senior military source said: “The UK HAS the aircraft - it just isn’t using them. The cheaper option now is to bring back the Harriers.”

Mike Critchley of magazine Warship World, said: “While the Harriers still exist, and before the experts to fly and maintain them are in the dole queue, it seems vital to have a change of heart.

“Inappropriate aircraft are based at huge expense in Italy. An aircraft carrier could strike at Libya from much shorter ranges. HMS Illustrious is being refitted as a helicopter carrier - but she could be ready to operate Harriers again by Christmas,” he added. (ANI)

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