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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
New version of jump jet unveiled
GR9 Harrier Jet
Harriers will eventually be replaced by the Joint Combat Aircraft
The latest version of the Harrier strike jet has been officially unveiled at a ceremony in Rutland.

The GR9 jet has more powerful engines and better electronics systems.

The planes was unveiled at RAF Cottesmore where the fleet - flown by both the RAF and Royal Navy - is being upgraded to the new specification.

The jet will eventually be phased out when the new Joint Combat Aircraft arrives in the next decade, Defence Procurement Minister Adam Ingram said.

Union anger

The decision to carry out the upgrade work at the base - rather than a purpose-built facility in Wales - was opposed by unions when it was announced earlier this year.

The Ministry of Defence justified the move - criticised by a financial watchdog - on the basis that it would help get aircraft to the frontline more quickly.

The Ministry of Defence could face an employment tribunal over claims it acted unlawfully in sacking hundreds of workers at St Athan in South Wales.

Amicus has launched a legal challenge accusing the MoD of unlawful treatment of the workers it sacked.

The MoD last week released dramatic footage of Harrier pilots bombing Taleban targets in Afghanistan in an attempt to improve the public's perception of the work of the RAF.

An Army major had, in leaked e-mails, described it as "utterly, utterly useless" in protecting troops on the ground.


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