Britain sells its Harrier jets to US as spares
Britain is selling its last 72 Harrier fighter jets to the United States to be used as spare parts, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Thursday.
The jets are being sold to the US Marine Corps for $180 million (135 million euros) and the deal includes spares and support equipment.
The money will be invested in other projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter as Britain looks to develop a modern, mixed fast jet fleet.
"The airframes and associated parts will be used as a major source of spares to support the US Marine Corps Harrier AV-8B fleet of aircraft," the MoD said in a statement.
The sale comes as the MoD seeks to plug a £38 billion ($59 billion, 44 billion euro) hole in its budget.
"Harrier served this country with great distinction but retiring it eight years earlier than planned was the right decision," Peter Luff, the minister for defence equipment, support and technology, told parliament on Thursday.
"The sale of Harrier is evidence of our commitment to working closely with our allies and represents a good deal for both countries," he added.
The minister said the sale was "essential" to allow the department to invest in more modern fighters.
The US Marine Corps has 126 AV-8B jets in operation, and used the craft frequently during the Gulf War and the more recent war in Iraq.
© 2011 AFP