In preparation for the Museum’s ‘Falklands Day’ on Sunday 1 May, its two Harriers have been moved by the Museum’s engineering team from the outside flight line to a position by the Museum’s entrance.
Sea Harrier XZ459, when configured as an FRS1 version, flew 53 operations with No 800 Naval Air Squadron during the conflict. The aircraft has been fitted for the day’s event with a centreline bomb and Sidewinder missiles. The Museum’s other Harrier, XV744, was flown by Squadron Leader (later AVM) Graham Williams in the 1969 Transatlantic Air Race but was the upgraded to a GR3 version, the version that flew with No 1 (F) Squadron off HMS Hermes in the South Atlantic. For the event on 1 May the aircraft will be ‘armed’ with Sidewinder missiles. RAF GR3s during the Falklands War were tasked with ground attack sorties but were provided with these air-to-air defence missiles.
On 1 May the Museum will be welcoming, as guests, some of the pilots who flew Sea Harriers and RAF GR3 aircraft during the conflict with others who flew helicopters, Hercules and VC10 aircraft in support of ‘Operation Corporate’. It will provide an opportunity for the aircrew to meet up again and for the public to meet them. No additional entrance fee will be charged for the public to visit the Museum, to see the ‘Falklands Air War 40’ exhibition and to meet the pilots who flew or supported the missions in the South Atlantic 40 years ago. The event starts at 11 am and finishes at 4 pm.
Photo: David Coxon