HC Deb 21 January 2003 vol 398 c209W
Mr. Jenkin

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the requirement is for(a) Sea Harrier pilots and (b) Harrier GR7 pilots; and how many there are in each case. [91036]

Mr. Ingram

The position as at 15 January 2003 is set out in the table.

Aircraft Requirement Strength
Sea Harrier 172 48
Harrier GR7 269 368
1The Sea Harrier pilot requirement includes 'cockpit' and career broadening appointments in the Royal Navy, plus a training margin. Both front line squadrons are fully manned and forecast to remain so for the foreseeable future.
2The Harrier GR7 requirement comprises wing commander, squadron leader and junior officer posts on front line squadrons, operational conversion units, operational evaluation units and wing appointments. In addition to these established flying posts, fast jet pilots are required for instructional duties within the RAF's flying training system, overseas exchange posts, the RAF Acrobatic Team and a number of ground posts shared by all serving in the General Duties Branch.
3 Figure includes three Royal Navy officers flying GR7 aircraft. These officers are acting as pathfinders for the scheme under which Joint Force Harrier will gradually migrate to a fleet equipped with GR7/GR9 aircraft.