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Scrapping the Harrier was a Strategic Error

From the Sunday Telegraph, 31 July 2011

Not prioritising defence spending may have been one of David Cameron’s worst errors (Inside Politics, July 17); actually cutting defence is even worse.
Some believe that the advice of the former chief of the defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, to withdraw the Harrier was born of inter-service rivalry, directed at the Navy. Sir Jock’s advice to retain the Tornado has proved wrong; its shortcomings are said to include a poor serviceability record that has affected missions in Libya and Afghanistan.
The Tornado is not a dedicated ground attack aircraft, but the Harrier is, and current operations require ground attack, with all the precision that the Harrier can deliver, and which the public demands, to avoid collateral damage. We look to Mr Cameron to put this right.

Andrew Dow

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