David Dimbleby takes to his wooden sailing boat to explore Britain's rich maritime heritage.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Britain and the Sea - British Aerospace Sea Harrier - Netflix
The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is a naval short take-off and vertical landing/vertical take-off and landing jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft; the second member of the Harrier Jump Jet family developed. It first entered service with the Royal Navy in April 1980 as the Sea Harrier FRS1 and became informally known as the “Shar”. Unusual in an era in which most naval and land-based air superiority fighters were large and supersonic, the principal role of the subsonic Sea Harrier was to provide air defence for Royal Navy task groups centred around the aircraft carriers. The Sea Harrier served in the Falklands War, and the Balkans conflicts; on all occasions it mainly operated from aircraft carriers positioned within the conflict zone. Its usage in the Falklands War was its most high profile and important success, where it was the only fixed-wing fighter available to protect the British Task Force. The Sea Harriers shot down 20 enemy aircraft during the conflict with two lost to enemy ground fire. They were also used to launch ground attacks in the same manner as the Harriers operated by the Royal Air Force. The Sea Harrier was marketed for sales abroad, but by 1983 India was the only operator other than Britain after sales to Argentina and Australia were unsuccessful. A second, updated version for the Royal Navy was made in 1993 as the Sea Harrier FA2, improving its air-to-air abilities and weapons compatibilities, along with a more powerful engine; this version continued manufacture until 1998. The aircraft was withdrawn from service early by the Royal Navy in 2006. The Sea Harrier remained in service for a further decade with the Indian Navy until its retirement in 2016.
Britain and the Sea - Operations in the 1990s - Netflix
The Sea Harrier saw action in war again when it was deployed in the 1992–1995 conflict in Bosnia, part of the Yugoslav Wars. It launched raids on Serb forces and provided air-support for the international taskforce units conducting Operations Deny Flight and Deliberate Force against the Army of Republika Srpska. On 16 April 1994, a Sea Harrier of the 801 Naval Air Squadron, operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, was brought down by a Igla-1 surface-to-air missile fired by the Army of Republika Srpska while attempting to bomb two Bosnian Serb tanks. The pilot, Lieutenant Nick Richardson, ejected and landed in territory controlled by friendly Bosnian Muslims. It was used again in the 1999 NATO campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Operation Allied Force, Sea Harriers which operated from HMS Invincible frequently patrolled the airspace to keep Yugoslavian MiGs on the ground. They were also deployed to Sierra Leone on board HMS Illustrious in 2000, which was itself part of a Royal Navy convoy to supply and reinforce British intervention forces in the region.
Britain and the Sea - References - Netflix