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    Harrier jump jets fly into retirement

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    ODN

    by ODN

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    Britain's Harrier jump jets have made their final flight before being axe in Government cuts to the defence budget.


    The 16-strong fleet of fighters soared into the grey skies above RAF Cottesmore in the East Midlands on a farewell journey.


    The jets date back to the 1960s when the first generation of Harriers were built in the UK. They became famous for their ability to hover above the ground.


    In 1969 the Royal Air Force became the first in the world to use the jets' unusual vertical take-off and landing abilities.


    This distinctive feature enabled the aircraft to fly in and out of areas near to the battlefield that conventional aircraft cannot reach.


    But the planes fell victim to the recent bout of belt-tightening by the coalition, which announced they would be removed from service in this autumn's defence review.