Base campaigners brand Harrier cuts 'madness'

Harriers at RAF Cottesmore Two squadrons of Harriers are stationed at Cottesmore

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Campaigners fighting to save an RAF base in Rutland have expressed dismay at the government's decision to axe the Harrier jump jet fleet.

RAF Cottesmore, which was earmarked for closure last year, is home to two Harrier squadrons.

Neil Allison, from Save RAF Cottesmore, called the decision to scrap the jets "madness".

There was no indication of any future military use for the base in the strategic defence review.

However, unveiling the plans in the Commons, PM David Cameron acknowledged some RAF bases were "likely to be required by the Army, as forces return from Germany".

After the closure of Cottesmore was announced, one of the base's four Harrier squadrons was disbanded and a second was moved to RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire.

The remaining jets were due to be transferred to RAF Wittering next year.

The decision to scrap the Harriers was announced earlier, alongside a commitment to build two new aircraft carriers.

Mr Allison said: "It's madness because you're going to be faced with the situation where you've got two brand new aircraft carriers and no aircraft that can fly from them for at least 10 years because the Harrier will be gone.

"It's the only one that can be operated from a carrier at the moment."

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