Newsletter 12
Spring 2006
Updated on 25Feb2006
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

Arado crescent criticisms
Association ties
Beyond the Harrier
Christmas lunch
Col. John Driscoll
Comet to Hawk
Double testimonial
Hawk news
Hawker people news
Indian Harrier
Kingston heritage project
News of members
Not boring at all
Programme 2006
RAF Harrier story
RN CVF carrier and F-35b
Sea Harrier finale
Sea Fury racers
Sopwith stories
Thomas Allan Collinson
Who's who?  

On November 14 2005, 801 NAS Sea Harrier FA2s left Yeovilton for HMS Illustrious and the type's final cruise, through the Mediterranean. The squadron badge, a white winged trident, was carried on the Sea Harriers' fins superimposed on a black omega, indicating that 801 NAS is the last Royal Navy Sea Harrier operator.

En route to Malta for a visit by HM the Queen on November 24, the aircraft were flown intensively and performed air combat missions against Portugese Air Force AMRAAM equipped F-16s; appropriately the FA2s won.

Back at Yeovilton on November 29 the Squadron then ran down and was disbanded on March 31 2006. On October 1 801 NAS will reform with Harrier IIs as part of Joint Force Harrier at RAF Cottesmore, following 800 NAS which is similarly to reform on April 1.  

The February 2006 issue of 'Aircraft Illustrated' reported that INAS 300 'White Tigers' and the training squadron INAS 552 expect to be operating their 13 FRSMk51s until 2012-2015 following a significant update programme by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), now under way. A new 'EL/M 2032 pulsed radar' system and 'Derby BVR' missiles are being installed. Previous improvements included 'Tempest' jammer pods, chaff and fare dispensers, GPS, improved WAC software and Blue Fox radar updates. Some aircraft are fitted with a 'Roshni' RWR system and all carry an 'Elta EL/L 8222' active self-protection jammer. (If any readers have any information on these items, the Editor would be pleased to hear from them.)

The IN still operates INS Viraat, formerly HMS Hermes, and plans to keep her operational for another ten years. Viraat with the Sea Harriers is well used, deploying typically for 45 day cruises and last year operated with USS Nimitz in exercise Malabar during which the Sea Harriers flew air combat training against USN Super Hornets.