Airfix 1/72 Sea Harrier FA.2
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit|
The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is a naval VTOL/STOVL jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft, a development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier. It first entered service with the Royal Navy in April 1980 as the Sea Harrier FRS1 and became informally known as the "Shar". Unusual in an era when most naval and land-based air superiority fighters are larger and supersonic, the subsonic Sea Harrier is tasked primarily for air defense and operating from Royal Navy aircraft carriers, shooting down 20 aircraft in the Falkland war in air combat with no losses. It was also used to launch ground attacks in the same manner as the Harriers operated by the Royal Air Force.
The Sea Harrier was marketed for sales abroad, unsuccessfully to Argentina and Australia, India became the only operator other than Britain in 1983. A second, updated version for the Royal Navy was made in 1993 as the Sea Harrier FA2, improving its air to air abilities and weapons compatibilities, along with a more powerful engine. This version continued manufacture until 1998.
The Sea Harrier served in the Falklands War, both of the Gulf Wars, and the Balkans conflicts, it mainly operated from aircraft carriers positioned within the conflict zone. Its usage in the Falklands War was its most high profile and important success, having protected the British Task Force as its only fixed-wing fighter available. The Sea Harrier was withdrawn early from Royal Navy service in March 2006 and replaced in the short term by the Harrier GR9, the intended replacement is Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II. The Sea Harrier is in active use in the Indian Navy, though in the long term it will be replaced by the Mikoyan MiG-29K.
There are only six surviving ex-RN Sea Harriers; two FRS.1 and four FA.2s, of which two of the latter are in the US. One of the US planes has been returned to flight status and is appearing at a limited number of shows on the US East Coast.
Another very nice new kit that won't break the bank. I've been informed that this kit has several shape errors, though to be honest, I surely don't see them right off so it must be something that is rather subtle. The molding is good and the engineering looks to be equally well done so this one should go together well.
Thanks to me for picking this one up.
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