Ground running Harrier GR3 XZ130 for sale
1980. After months of deteriorating relationships between NATO and the Soviet Union and escalating skirmishes on the border between East and West Germany the USSR began amassing tank and mechanised infantry divisions at strategic locations all along the border. Eventually the unthinkable happened and the Cold War became hot. On the 8th May thousands of tanks and APCs punched through the lightly defended border positions and began a breakout across the Northern German Plain. The horde of T72s, T64s and T62s formed the seemingly unstoppable armoured fist that the Western powers had feared ever since the closing days of WW2.
On the run up to the beginning of the war RAF Germany had dispersed its Harrier squadrons from Gutersloh and Wildenrath to forward locations and now they found themselves at the very tip of NATO’s attempts to halt the Soviet armoured thrust. Whilst fighters fought desperate air battles high above them the GR3s carried out wave after wave of sorties to destroy AFVs with rockets and bombs. The missions are brief but intense and casualty rates are high. Crews are flying multiple missions per day, their V/STOL capabilities are critical because it allows them to fly three missions for every one by ground attack aircraft based further away from the front line. Time and time again front line troops are saved from being overrun by prompt intervention by the RAF GR3s. …
Thankfully this scenario never played out but although the GR3 didn’t go up against Warsaw Pact forces it did go to war in the Falklands, as well as deployments to other locations such as Germany, Norway and Belize. Our example saw service with 4 squadron in Germany, as well as 1 sqn, 3 sqn, 233 OCU and 1453 Flight in the Falklands. After leaving service the aircraft ended up in spending 15 years at RAF Number 1 school of Technical Training being manhandled by young recruits such as our very own Managing Director Chris before finally ending up sitting outside London Air Cadet Squadron. When we took ownership XZ130 was in surprisingly good condition considering all that time sat out in the elements but has nevertheless been the subject of an 18 month, 2000 hour restoration by Jet Art Aviation. We have carried out a full repaint in a beautiful gloss finish and applied the same markings she had when last in service with 4 squadron, complete with yellow lightning flash, red and black fin and ex USAF exchange pilot Captain L Y Ching’s name down the side of the cockpit. But the result is not just cosmetically pristine, this machine is alive. Just as much effort has gone into sourcing all the missing components and making her mechanically complete as went into that stunning external finish.
In March 2016 we carried out a successful ground run and systems check which included starting up the Rolls Royce Pegasus for the first time in 25 years! The engine and APU had been coated in preservative oils and once this burnt off the engine ran perfectly and was taken up to 35% thrust for several minutes – we even operated the variable incidence nozzles. We shared this moment of glory on various social media sites and the response was incredible (30k hits within 24 hours and now well over 100k) which once again proves just how popular the Harrier is around the world.
XZ130 is now available for sale and we believe this is the first time anyone has put a Harrier GR3 of this calibre on the open market. As you may have seen in our recent social media updates this is Jet Art Aviation’s 10 year anniversary and XZ130, our most in depth and ambitious project, is a fitting milestone achievement for a company that has developed a long standing association with the Harrier. This is the latest in a long line of restorations that Jet Art has carried out and we are proud of every single aircraft project we’ve completed but XZ130 really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own an incredible piece of British aviation history in ground running condition.