Last year, the British Royal Navy scrapped its entire fleet of Harrier jump jets following a defense review. The United States has agreed to buy all 74 of the planes in a deal that should close by the end of the week.
According to The Guardian, the trade has raised questions from military experts on both sides of the pond: Why does the U.S. military deem viable a plane that the British no longer believe is needed?
“We’re taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them. It’s like we’re buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it,” Lon Nordeen, author of several books on the Harrier, told Navy Times.
Britain retired its Harrier aircraft late last year with much controversy because the measure was part of defense reductions that also cut the aircraft carriers that operated the jets as well as other warships, maritime patrol planes and personnel. The British Ministry of Defense believes that the reductions in force will save the country hundreds of millions of pounds each year.
Officials haven’t said how much the total deal will cost the United States, but it is known that the military has spent about $50 million so far on spare parts alone.