Harriers in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Goatman, Aug 12, 2005.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    from DefenceNet for interest of those who may not sight:


    Harriers prove they can-do in Kandahar

    RAF Harrier GR7As, part of the Joint Force Harrier based at RAF Cottesmore, are playing a major role in southern Afghanistan. The Harriers, deployed in Afghanistan since September 2004, are constantly engaged in supporting both the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in rebuilding Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom in the south of the country.

    An RAF Harrier GR7A carrying enhanced Paveway precision guided bombs on the runway at Kandahar
    The Harrier detachment, from No 3 (Fighter) Squadron, operates from Kandahar airbase, one of the most hostile environments in the province. The detachment is commanded by Wing Commander Mick McManus:

    "Our main role is to provide a reconnaissance and a deterrent effect to support troops on the ISAF and Op Enduring Freedom missions," he said.

    The insurgent and anti-government forces operate in the towns and remote mountainous regions in the southern provinces and along the Pakistani border. The area is barren, hostile and riddled with caves. Enemy fighters easily blend in with the local population, making identification particularly difficult.

    "Coalition operations in the south of this enormous country are best supported by fast air," he continued.

    "The Harrier is excellent in terms of its agility, adaptability and speed of response and this small detachment of only six aircraft has had a disproportionately large effect on the success of coalition operations in the region."

    The Harrier GR7A carries Enhanced Paveway precision guided bombs, rockets and Maverick missiles, as well as numerous sensors and defensive flares. However, it is testament to the resolve of the crews and physical presence of such a capable aircraft they have only had to resort to deploying munitions on less than 14 operations.

    "When the Harriers launch on operations they deploy a graduated response to situations," said Wg Cdr McManus. "Having first identified precisely the location of the enemy, they will then fly low and fast over the enemy positions as a show of force and their sheer presence often coerces the enemy to stop what they are doing."

    The Harriers frequently support pre-planned missions against the insurgents. US Army troops who have been ambushed in this hostile environment regularly contact the Harrier crews to thank them for their outstanding support. The commander of a US Army task force operating on the ground recently remarked on the excellent coordination and effect of the Harrier in theatre.

    "I have never had a mission where ground manoeuvre and air assets were so well linked," he said. "When we kicked in the door, less than a second later the Harriers were over the target building. All the insurgents were so shocked, there were no engagements and we secured the objective in less than a minute."

    Pilots liaise closely over radio with ground forces to ensure they correctly identify the locations of the enemy targets and of coalition forces, to be precisely sure of the ground situation before launching weapons if required.

    The initial deployment to Kandahar was established by No 3 (Fighter) Squadron, who recently returned to Kandahar for a further tour of duty. No 1 (Fighter) Squadron and No. IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron, all from RAF Cottesmore, have also contributed during the past ten months.

    The deployed operating base is commanded by Wing Commander Les Kellett , OC Operations Wing at RAF Cottesmore. Part of the NATO deployment in Kandahar, which accommodates approximately 5000 coalition forces, the British detachment has six Harrier GR7As and a total of around 180 personnel.

    The austere and remote outpost presents British military personnel with demanding challenges. Harrier pilot, Flight Lieutenant Jason MacGillicuddy, said:

    "The heat is the greatest challenge, with temperatures in the summer regularly in excess of 45 degess Centigrade."

    During winter, the temperatures plummet and the base regularly floods, turning the dust bowl into a quagmire.

    The base is 3,300 feet above sea level which also presents the aircraft with performance issues. Coupled with high winds and dust, this makes the aircraft engineer's life extremely difficult. It is testament to their skill and determination that they have always been able to keep the aircraft ready for operations. Although US forces are slowly rebuilding the runway, the Harrier is currently the only fast jet fighter able to operate in the south of the country and the sole asset readily available to support coalition troops on the ground.

    Next year, the Headquarters Group of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is expected to deploy to command ISAF in Afghanistan. Although options are being discussed to determine the British military contribution in southern Afghanistan as part of the planned NATO expansion, while the Harriers remain they will continue supporting the mission to the full.


    er, some name changes to protect the unwary from the ungodly....

    Le Chevre
  2. Thanks for putting that up, its really interesting! Especially considering the investment that is being made into Harrier at the moment!

  3. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    yeah......without demonstrating my well-rehearsed ten year old's appreciation of military aviation issues, it seems like we are about to scrap the most capable aircraft in our inventory in favour of

    1) an overpriced fighter designed to counter a Cold War threat ( one of which came within a whisker of cratering Fairford's otherwise pristine runway last month)

    2) an aircraft designed to fly off 90,000 tonne nuclear carriers - of which we have none.

    Standing by to be patiently led through the misconceptions I stubbornly cling to .....

    Le Chevre ( aged 10 3/4 )
  4. Goatman,

    I think you're confusing Typhoon with JSF.

    JSF is intended to replace the Harrier, whilst I believe Typhoon is taking on the F3 and Jag roles.

    I could be wrong but that's what I gathered
  5. RTFQ


    GR 7 and 7A are making way for GR9, which is the same aircraft but has an X box in the cockpit to keep the pilot occupied.

    JSF is a made up aircraft and GR 9 will be replaced by the X Wing Fighter in 2097.
  6. RTFQ - You have no idea how close to the truth you are!!!!!
  7. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

  8. My little bro is with 1(F), and after he returned from tour he echoed a lot of the positive comments made in the quote above. He did, however, say that the lack of bad guy activity might just be down to the crap weather they'd had. As an aside, 3(F) are being disbanded soon to be replaced with an RNAS Sqn operating the same jets.
  9. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Erm, not feeling any confusion at all this end , ashley.......am savvy to what is proposed to replace what.....anyone else at RIAT this year care to confirm my buzz ( from an ex Air commode no less) that the Typhoon display came within a gnat's nadger of Monty Orangeball in front of the chalets ?

    Le Chevre
  10. Your right that Typhoon did come close to meeting the tarmac in an unfavourable fashion but I got the impression from your post that it's replacing the Harrier - Isn't that JSF??
  11. http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=19995.html
  12. There was a post on mil.com that said that the USMC was pushing hard for JSF because they hated the Harrier due to it being unsafe. apparently they've crashed more Harriers than is expected. Are there eny figures comparing the proportion of RAF and FAA accidents involving Harriers with USMC crashes?
  13. Why just buzz the bad guys? why not just bomb them the first time round then you never have to worry about them being bad again . Apart from that well done to crab air .
  14. Woody - if you ALWAYS just bomb them, they'll ALWAYS shoot back/first: Cassino being a classic example of what happens when you bomb an area to fcuk and turn it into a defensive dream. Crab Air are trying to make life easier for the guys that have to go in through doors, not create a situation where every brick needs turning and checking. Having said which, I understand the feeling, so consider my high-horse well and truly dismounted... :)
  15. fair enough just asking .I just thought bombing natives was a traditional crab air activity .And i thought was smart bombs actually hit what they were aimed at not just pissed people off and built obstacles.