Vertical Dreams

The Hawker Harrier At 50

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(Matt Hale)
Harrier sunset: A Harrier GR9 makes a late afternoon approach at RAF Cottesmore, just days before the type was withdrawn from RAF service. "It might be imagined that the Harrier and its revolutionary abilities were simply an interesting, but ultimately pointless, episode in Britain's military history, but this would be a clumsy misunderstanding of the Harrier's contribution," writes Tim McLelland. "Through the long, dark years of the Cold War, Britain relied upon deterrence to stay alive. Deterrence relied upon credibility, particularly the ability to demonstrate that the U.K. had the will and the means to defend itself. The Harrier was fundamental to this posture."

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