However US Marines Could Still be an Option?
Following the Daily Telegraph’s claim that the Harrier GR9s were being sold to the Americans, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) denied a sale to the USA had been concluded. However, the wording of the MoD denial left room for manoeuvre if this turned out not to be the case after all.
According to the Defence Management web site a MoD spokesman said: “As decided in the SDSR, Harrier aircraft will be disposed of through whatever means will get best value-for-money for the UK taxpayer while ensuring appropriate future use of the assets. Discussions about options for disposal are ongoing.”
This obviously did not preclude a sale to the USA. The US Marines are seeking to extend the lives of their Harrier squadrons and whether this is via operating the GR9s or using them as spare parts for the 100 or so AV-8Bs in service it seems a sensible option.