The British fleet of about 50 perfectly working Harrier GR9 aircraft belonging to the RAF Joint Force Harrier were retired as a consequence of a spending review. Many were sold to the U.S. Marine Corps to serve as spares for the AV-8B Harrier II
A Royal Navy pilot makes a one-man protest against the demise of the fleet’s Harrier fighters – by placing a ‘For Sale’ sign in his cockpit. He posted the message last week in the North Sea, seconds before lifting off from HMS Ark Royal. He was later ticked off by a superior. All 40 GR9 Harrier jump jets are to be sold, with their pilots losing their jobs.
The GR.9 was a heavily updated development of the GR7, incorporating the ability to use a wide range of advanced precision weaponry, new communications, and systems and airframe upgrades. The Harrier GR9 aircraft came into service on October 2006.
All Harrier GR7 aircraft were retired by July 2010. The Harrier GR9 was expected to stay in service at least until 2018. However, on 19 October 2010 it was announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review that the Harrier was retired in April 2011