Six RAF Harrier GR.7s to deploy to Afghanistan
25 Aug 2004
25 August 2004 - Six RAF Harrier GR.7s to deploy to Afghanistan
The Ministry of Defence announced on 25 August that a detachment of six RAF Harrier GR7 aircraft would be deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan for an initial period of nine months to provide reconnaissance and close air support to coalition forces and the International Security Assistance Force.
An advance party, including Royal Engineers from 53 Field Squadron, will depart for Kandahar on 26 August to prepare the airfield for the Harriers' arrival. The aircraft will be drawn from 3 Squadron, based at RAF Cottesmore, and should be fully operational by the end of September in time to provide security support for the Afghan presidential elections in October. The initial deployment is expected to total some 315 personnel from the RAF and Royal Engineers, but will reduce to a steady state of about 230.
This will be the first deployment of RAF combat aircraft to Afghanistan during the current operation, although British support aircraft played an invaluable role during operations against Al Qaida and the Taleban.
- UK Ministry of Defence