The BAe Systems Sea Harrier is a naval VTOL/STOVL jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft, a development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier. It first entered service with the Royal Navy in April 1980 as the Sea Harrier FRS.1. The last version was the Sea Harrier FA.2. Informally known as the "Shar", the Sea Harrier was withdrawn from Royal Navy service in March 2006 and replaced by the Harrier GR.9.
In 1966 the planned CVA-01 class aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy were cancelled, apparently ending the Royal Navy's involvement in fixed-wing carrier aviation. However, beginning in the early 1970s, the first of a new class of "through deck cruisers" was planned, carefully named to avoid the term "aircraft carrier" to increase the chances of funding. These ships would eventually become the Invincible-class aircraft carriers. With little modification, a 'ski-jump' was added to the end of the 170 m deck, enabling the carriers to operate a small number of V/STOL jets.
Sea Harriers took part in the Falklands War of 1982, flying from the aircraft carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes. The Sea Harriers were to operate in their primary air defence role with a secondary role of ground attack, with the RAF Harrier GR3 providing the main ground attack force. The Sea Harrier squadrons shot down 21 Argentine aircraft in air-to-air combat with no air-to-air losses, although two Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire and four to accidents. The Sea Harrier was also deployed by the United Kingdom in the 1991–1995 war in Bosnia as a part of the international operations "Deny Flight", and "Deliberate Force" directed against the Serbian army.
Sea Harrier kits are presented by subtype:
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