Book Review
Rutland Harriers
Rutland Harriers. The last of the RAF's Harriers at Cottesmore 1999-2010.
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by: Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]

The financial crash of 2008 was the root cause of the Harrier’s demise – the most capable jet in the RAF at that time, its only downfall being there weren’t enough of them.
If you take the cold fact that it was either Harrier or Tornado that had to be cut to ease the financial burden on the Ministry of Defence, then Harrier was the logical choice as the force had been slimmed to a point where sustained operations overseas had become impossible. Had the axe not fallen, it is quite possible that Harrier would still be in service today.

Info from TP Aviation

Although this book is not a concise history on the Harrier, it does have chapters with a short introduction to each part.
The chapters cover the squadrons, various operations and exercises and carrier operations, as well as combat tours they did.
The chapters and a brief description are as follows -

  • Test aircraft
    Second Generation Harrier
    A short history of the Harrier II, concentrating on the three development aircraft.
  • RAF Cottesmore
    From training to the frontline
    An interesting piece on the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE), who were the previous tenants at RAF Cottesmore before it became home to the Harrier Force.
  • Joint Force Harrier
    Potent strike force
    The start of the Joint Force Harrier squadrons, which saw several types of aircraft within the three new Groups.
  • 1(F) Squadron
    The original Harrier squadron
    An historical chapter on the No.1 (Fighter) Squadron.
  • 3(F) Squadron
    The third shall be first
    The same as the previous chapter but this time on the 3(F) Squadron.
  • IV(AC) Squadron
    The third Harrier squadron
    No.4 Squadron's history.
  • Naval Strike Wing
    Going to sea
    Phasing out of the Sea Harrier fleet and the introduction of the GR.7/9 transition.
  • Future Jet Combat Aircraft
    The plan
    Updated strategy on the future of the Harrier force.
  • Harrier GR.9
    The ultimate
    The development and introduction of the GR.9.
  • Exercise Saif Sareera II
    Heightened tension
    Swift Sword II aboard HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean sea in 2001.
  • Artic Harriers
    Winter exercises
    Harriers to Bardufoss for Exercise Snow Falcon.
  • Hazel Flute
    Remote operations
    Training exercise as a deployed force at Wattisham, Suffolk.
  • Operation Telic
    JFH's first "Big Push"
    Deployment to the Middle East.
  • Harrier carriers
    The Invincible class
    Harriers go to sea on the Invincible class carriers.
    There is a fantastic picture of the pilots view of the cockpit and ski jump in this chapter.
  • Pegasus
    Putting the hover in Harrier
    The development of the engine which is the heart of the Harrier.
  • NATO co-operation
    The French are coming
    The French visit RAF Cottesmore.
  • Hot 'n' High
    Tactical flying
    Operating from the barest of bases.
  • JUMPing Harriers
    Upgrade and maintenance
    Keeping the Harrier fleet operational.
  • Herrick Harriers
    Nearly five years of operations
    Off to Afghanistan. The longest chapter in the book.
  • A Haunted Harrier
    Chequered past
    A chapter on ZD469 and its catalogue of disasters that befell this airframe, and now guards the gate at RAF Wittering.
  • Beginning Of The End
    Save RAF Cottesmore
    Downsizing of the Joint Force Harrier groups.
  • Return To Carrier Action
    From Illustrious to Red Flag
    Some well needed carrier experience and a trip to the U.S.A for Red Flag 10,2.
  • A Last Hurrah!
    Exercise Auriga 10
    Aboard HMS Ark Royal for stimulated fighting off the Eastern seaboard of the US.
  • One Last Sea Voyage
    Retirement looms
    Aboard HMS Ark Royal for the last time, bound from Portsmouth.
  • The Death Knell
    SDSR 2010
    The Strategic Defence Review in 2010 killed off the Harrier fleet, along with the immediate axing of the Nimrod MRA-4.
  • The T-birds
    Combat capable trainers
    The two seater Harriers.
  • AMARG in-mates
    Last resting place
    Off to the US for spares.

  • In the book
    Rutland Harriers by Gary Parsons was originally a self-published book in very small numbers and has been re-vamped with the co-operation of Gary by TP Aviation for the wider audience. The book is a pictorial history of the last few years of the Harrier at RAF Cottesmore.

    Bound in a soft cover, the book is printed in an A4 landscape and has 144 pages with around 170 photos, all of which are colour.

    Although this book is not a concise history on the Harrier, it does have chapters with a nice length of introduction to each part.
    The chapters cover the squadrons, various operations and exercises and carrier operations, as well as combat tours they did.
    There is a wealth of information in this book, particularly regarding individual airframes.

    The book has full-page portraits which are beautifully photographed and reproduced with no signs of distortion in the pictures.
    Each photo is accompanied with a caption with a little history of the airframe in the picture.

    I would say this is a coffee table book, but they are normally hard backed, but its still a book that would be picked up time and time again just for the outstanding pictures, that many I have not seen before.

    Although this publication is not aimed at modellers, as there are no walkaround photos, there is still enough images of the various schemes and markings that it would be a valuable resource for any build.

    Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Beautiful pictures, interesting text.
Lows: Softcover, but that's a personal thing.
Verdict: A beautifully illustrated and interesting book. If your a fan of the Harrier then this book would be a welcome addition to your library.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: TPAV001
  Suggested Retail: £25.00
  Related Link: Rutland Harriers
  PUBLISHED: Oct 17, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Andy Brazier (betheyn)

I started modelling in the 70's with my Dad building Airfix aircraft kits. The memory of my Dad and I building and painting a Avro Lancaster on the kitchen table will always be with me. I then found a friend who enjoyed building models, and between us I think we built the entire range of 1/72 Airfi...

Copyright ©2021 text by Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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