As we noted in June, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps now appear on the verge of buying all 74 of Britain’s aging AV-8 Harrier jump jets. Navy Times is reporting that a U.S. rear admiral has confirmed the deal.
How the mighty have fallen. It’s quite a comedown for the U.S. military to procure aircraft from something called the Disposal Services Agency, and for the deal to be announced by the head of the U.S. Navy Supply Corps. Aren’t those folks generally involved in the purchase of uniforms, rope and anchor chains?
Price remains a sticking point, just as it was back in June. While the U.S. military has agreed to pay $50 million for assorted AV-8 spare parts, a final price for the 74 airframes has yet to be nailed down. That’s expected to happen within two weeks.
“We’re taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them,” Harrier expert Lon Nordeen tells Navy Times. “It’s like we’re buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it.”
The planes date back to 1980. In fact, they were built by two companies that have since faded into history: the U.S. McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing, and the U.K.’s British Aerospace, now part of BAE Inc. As we pointed out originally, it’s wistful to watch the 19th Century superpower selling scrap to the 20th Century superpower.