Letter: A fighter for Europe

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Germans are dead right; we need a European fighter aircraft (EFA) but not the, albeit brilliant, hi-tech MiG-basher as presently conceived.

The Americans in Vietnam regretted the unavailability of the venerable, but economic, Douglas Skyraider. Many of my generation in the Fleet Air Arm clamoured for the hooked-up Folland Gnat (for deck landings on carriers) instead of the all-too-pretentious aircraft we fetched up with, which were inevitably too few because of their cost and complexity.

Surely the right EFA stares us in the face in the form of the Harrier; little imagination is needed to place it effectively in various current, real-life scenarios. It is available now and its development potentials are there for the EFA participants to be busy for many years. Furthermore, its propulsion system makes it fairly MiG-proof, if the opposition happens to have acquired them.

Yours faithfully,


Chippenham, Wiltshire

30 June