Newsletter 25
Autumn 2009
Updated on 11Oct2009
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

America - Washington DC
Book Reviews
Demon News
F-35 lightning II News
Harrier 40th Anniversary
Harrier News
Hawk News
Hawkers In The '50s Part 2
Kestrel Evaluation Squadron
Sea Fury News
Summer Barbecue
   Duncan Simpson was invited to RAF Wittering to celebrate forty years of Harrier service with the Royal Air Force…
    On 20 May 1969 five Harriers were made ready at Dunsfold for delivery to Royal Air Force Wittering. The Harrier conversion team (HCT) had completed their flying at Dunsfold and was ready to deliver the first aircraft. In the event only four made the flight, the fifth, failing to produce electric power, remained overnight at Dunsfold.
    A new British aircraft, and indeed a new concept of operations, at arrived in the RAF after just seven years of design, manufacture and development by Hawker Siddeley at Kingston and Dunsfold. Six development batch (DB) aircraft had been built for flight testing and nine Kestrels had taken part in the Tripartite operational trials; and the United State Marine Corps had bought the Harrier.
Harrier Fortieth Anniversary

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     The fortieth anniversary of the formation of the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) was celebrated on 23 July this year. The remaining members of the HCT - Air Marshal Peter Dodworth, Air Commodore Richard Profit (and the writer!) - sat down to lunch at Stamford hosted by Group Captain Ken McCann, Joint Force Harrier (JFH) Commander supported by Air Chief Marshal Sir John Day, Military Advisor to BAE Systems who paid the bill. The guests included Sir Peter Squire, ex Chief of the Air Staff and Commander of No.1 Squadron in the Falklands, Sir Christopher Moran, Commander in Chief Air Command, serving officers from the OCU at Wittering and the JFH at Cottesmore, together with other Officers who had served with the Harrier force over the past forty years.
    On the evening of 23 July a gala celebration dinner was held in a hangar at Wittering attended by some five hundred Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Harrier personnel, again from the past forty years.
    A strong tribute was paid to the Harrier GR9 by Group Captain McCann saying that the Joint Force had just returned from five years in Afghanistan in support of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force, amassing over 8,500 sorties and more than 22,000 flying hours mainly in support of ground troops in the southern province of Helmand. More than 2,000 close air support missions were flown. The Group Captain stated that in his professional opinion the Harrier GR9 was the best close air support fighter available anywhere.
    Celebrations continued on 24 July with a Harrier Force Families’ Day and evening hangar party at RAF Cottesmore.