It’s a Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3.
This year I have been travelling to the Cambridgeshire Lincolnshire borders to stay at the sleepy extension to Wittering village. This compound used to fly Harriers until that type was grounded due to budget cuts. For now, RAF Wittering is home to 5AEF flying Grob Tutors and the A4 Force, the base is home to a massive logistical section of the UK armed forces.
Most RAF bases have a gate guardian. A retired aircraft looking out over the entrance to the base, guarding the way. At RAF Wittering the gate guardian is, fittingly, a Harrier. This year I have spent more time at RAF Wittering than I have visiting family. I’ve been there for overnight trips to take cadets flying with 5AEF and I’ve been there over weekends to help out CE SATT develop their SAAI course.
I am very happy to say that I am now a qualified SAAI which means I will now be used extensively to train and test cadets and adult volunteers on weapon systems. This journey has been quite a long one, starting five years ago and gradually building up experience and waiting for the correct timings to fit into life. The hard work hasn’t stopped yet. I now have to plan and create more lessons along with learning another weapon system so that the progressive training will continue next year.