Published: 13-04-2018 photo #23054 0 comments 0 votes
Photographed at the RAF Museum, Cosford, Shifnal, Shropshire on 4 March 2018. Originally built at Dunsfold, constructor’s number P67 as one of a batch of 34 Harrier GR.7s with Rolls-Royce Pegasus 105 turbofan engines. These were delivered between May 1990 and June 1972. This aircraft was taken on charge by the RAF on 28 August 1990 and made its first flight a week later, on 3 September.
It entered RAF front line service with No. 4 AC Squadron that same month. However, in 1991 all Harrier GR.7 aircraft were grounded for a while due to electrical problems. On 27 August 1992 ZG477 went from Gutersloh, Germany, to RAF At Athan for Phase 4 modifications, having a cumulative total of 445.50 airframe hours.
From 1992 to 1993 it was with No. 3 Squadron at RAF Laarbruch, Germany, coded AK. On 8 April 1993 it went to Incirlik, Turkey to participate in Operation Warden, where it was coded WI in 4 Squadron. After that Operation concluded, the aircraft went to Boscombe Down for Paveway 3 trials on 8 October 1996, then to BAe Dunsfold on 10 January 1997.
On 14 July 1998 to RAF Laarbruch having flown 1648.15 hours. It then saw action in Kosovo with 1 (F) Squadron in 1999 until moving to RAF Cottesmore in 2000 (where I had been stationed 38 years previously) and stayed there as aircraft code 67 (its build production number) until the spring of 2003. It then took part in Operation Telic, the invasion of Iraq. By July it had returned to the UK adorned with several mission markings.
Between 17 and 19 July 2003 it appeared at RIAT, RAF Fairford. In January 2004 it went to BAe Warton for conversion to GR.9A standard, being equipped with a more powerful engine, the Pegasus Mk 107, and a terrain referenced navigation system. On 12 September 2005 it went to MOD/AFD QinetiQ at Boscombe Down for trials, carrying gun pods. There followed more trials at RAF Cottesmore and RAF Wittering during 2006/7.
It was allocated to the Naval Strike Wing (Fleet Air Arm Squadrons 800 and 801) and then had a capability upgrade at RAF Cottesmore from March to June 2008. In 2008/2009 it spent 10 months on operations in Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick providing close air support.
In November 2010 it was painted in a special commemorative scheme with 1 (F) Squadron badge and “1969-2010” on both sides. It was the first of the “Jedi Flight” to embark from RAF Cottesmore on HMS Ark Royal as the last Harriers to land on the ship. These were also the last aircraft to depart from the ship, as she was about to be decommissioned.
The final flight of ZG477 was on 15 December 2010 in a 16-aircraft formation flypast around former Harrier bases, after which all Harriers were grounded. This aircraft was stored serviceable at RAF Cottesmore and ground run. It had 4,191.25 flying hours and had made 3,969 landings.
Along with the other 3 specially marked Harriers it was positioned outside on 1 March 2011 for photography. On 19 December that year it went by road to Cosford and was placed on public display on 30 January 2012.