The British Defense Ministry has been forced to delay deploying the Tornado GR4 to Afghanistan to replace the Harrier GR9. Due to go at the start of April, the GR4 deployment will now occur during the “summer.”
Completing the integration of several urgent operational requirements to bring the GR4 to theater entry standard, and pouring concrete at Kandahar have resulted in the date being shifted.
Bob Ainsworth, the British minister for the armed forces says: “. Delays in construction of the necessary supporting infrastructure and our current estimate of the time required to complete the Tornado Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) enhancements means that the Tornado GR4s will now deploy in summer 2009. We expect delivery of the UORs in advance of completion of the infrastructure project and will keep both programs under constant review to ensure completion as quickly as possible.”
Ainsworth adds that as a result of the GR4 delay that 1 Squadron will replace IV Squadron in mid April to continue to provide air support with the Harrier GR9.
Picture credit MoD/Crown Copyright