It’s been five years since the UK government sold the family silver – some 72 Harrier jump jets – to America for £116m, with many left to fester in the infamous aircraft ‘Boneyard’ in the Arizona desert. But one example which escaped the sale has now been offered a new lease of life.
Yorkshire-based specialist Jet Art Aviation has spent a year and a half fully restoring a Harrier GR3 prior to offering it for sale. The 1976 aircraft previously served with 4 Squadron in Germany, 1 Squadron, 233 OCU, and 1453 Flight in the Falklands in 1982 prior to spending a decade exposed to the elements as a gate guardian for a London Air Cadet Squadron, near the Kingston Hawker factory where it was built.
Once rescued from static display, the aircraft became the subject of a 2000 man-hour restoration. An exhaustive search for original parts and components culminated in a successful ground run earlier this year. The Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine was fired up for the first time in a decade in March, being run up to 35% power for a 4min 30sec test.
After the mechanical restoration, attention was turned to the cosmetic condition of the Harrier. A full repaint was carried outalong with a return to the GR3’s 4 Squadron markings, complete with the name of its last serving pilot, Captain LY Ching.
Jet Art Aviation hopes to sell the Harrier for more than £100,000.