LONDON, July 27 (UPI) -- The British Ministry of Defense announced a milestone with its fleet of Harrier aircraft following 40 years of operational service.
British defense officials recently marked the 40 anniversary of the Harrier jump jet, a fighter aircraft with vertical and short takeoff and landing capabilities. The Harrier entered into service with the British Royal Air Force in 1969.
The Harrier's designers and first test pilots were among approximately 400 defense personnel who gathered at the air force's Wittering installation to mark the Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1 aircraft operational milestone. Officials say the Harrier jet will likely remain in operation in the air force to mark its 50th anniversary until it is replaced by the Joint Combat Aircraft.
"I'm amazed the Harrier's still going strong," said Duncan Simpson, a trainer of the first Harrier instructors.