19 December 2010

Last Flight of the Harrier

Now I know this doesn’t fit in with my standard Cold War timeframe – but this news is just to sad for any long term Harrier Jump Jet lover to not comment on.

I was at high school in the 1980s and interested in all things military, so was probably heavily influenced by the success of the Harriers involved in the Falklands War. About this time we had a teacher who loved planes and showed us instructional movies on the Harrier that I found simply fascinating. I one point I was already to join the Royal Australian Navy because we were going to buy the HMS Invincible and I want to fly Sea Harriers!

Well, yesterday (my time) was the last flight of the Harrier in service with the RAF and Royal Navy. I don’t live in the UK so am a little distant from the whole argument as to why this is happening – years before the Joint Strike Fighter comes into service – and when I read comments like the following from the ABC website you have to wonder:
“Despite objections from the army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force (RAF), the decommissioning of the last 16 jets went ahead anyway.
The British government claims the plane's retirement is not just about cost cutting, but many believe there is no sound military reason for their mothballing.”
So – in memory of a revolutionary and awesome plane – here’s a few more Harrier clips:

In Oz we’ve just decommissioned our F-111s so it sad all round

So have fun


12 December 2010

Able Archer - 1983

About a year ago or so SBS TV in Australia showed a brilliant documentary about the Cold War - in particular a NATO command post exercise called "Able Archer" which inadvertantly almost lead to the Cold War.

This is well worth watching - if only to get a glimpse into the Soviet mind-set and the paranoia at the time amongst the Kremlin leadership with regard to the US Build up of nuclear forces in the early 1980's. There is also the eighties music playing through the doco!

So please - if you have the time - watch this doco

Have fun