BAe Harrier GR.9A - ZD433 - The Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset have acquired a British Aerospace Harrier GR9A serial number ZD433. The aircraft will be on public display from 22 February to 21 May 2012 providing a rare opportunity to see a modern fighter aircraft in battle condition.
This aircraft is the most recent acquisition to the Museum’s collection and has been selected specifically because of its war worn condition, complete with numerous mission markings and dirt and dust from the deserts of Afghanistan.
ZD433 was one of the last British harriers in service in Afghanistan operating from Kandahar with 800 Naval Air Squadron and also jointly with the RAF.
Most of the Harrier fleet returning for the last time from operations in Afghanistan were overhauled, repainted and repaired and sold to the USA, but somehow, ZD433 missed this treatment.
The Curatorial team at FAAM has made the decision not to restore the aircraft, instead it will be kept in its battle weary condition. Now nicknamed ‘Dirty Harry’ because of its
condition it stands as a unique time capsule reflecting recent military history and the impact of operations on an aircraft operating on today’s front line.
Such is the importance of this particular aircraft that Airfix have used it as the basis of their latest 1/72 scale model. Says Airfix spokesperson Darrell Burge. “The numerous mission markings on this aircraft make it the most visually dramatic of all the Harrier GR9s”.
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