I've posted on the "Original Calvine UFO Photo" thread regarding the "Harrier presence denied by MoD" thing
This post continues a discussion on the "Calvine UFO Photo- Reflection In Water Hypothesis" thread, here
I'm posting here because I'd like to continue that particular discussion, but it isn't directly relevant to the "reflection in water" thread.
It kind of follows on from NorCal Dave's post here
More specifically from the MoD memo as discussed on the main thread:
...but I couldn't really claim my musings are anything to do with the "Reflection in Water Hypothesis".
And so I came here to post this... and saw Duke's post
There is another consideration I've wondered about after the last series of Calvine posts referencing "privately owned" Harriers a few weeks back. It's possible Harriers were employed by non-operational* R&D and test organizations such as the Empire Test Pilots' School (Boscombe Down) or the Royal Aerospace Establishment (Farnborough).
I've been thinking along similar lines.
As Duke points out, UK Ministry of Defence agencies outside of RAF/ Fleet Air Arm/ Army Air Corps structures flew military aircraft in 1990:
Royal Aerospace [formerly Aircraft] Establishment (RAE),
Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE),
and Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS).
RAE helped develop Harrier and Concorde, and had an important role developing carbon fibre in 1963.
RAE had at least one Harrier, XW175, which had an impressive career, 1969-2009, as a trials and experimental aircraft, outliving some of the agencies flying her (RAE-> DRA-> DERA-> QinetiQ).
(B&W picture and info from 1000aircraftphotos.com, Johaan Visschedijk
A&AEE at Boscombe Down had examples of many UK service aircraft plus some other types. Its successor organisation (the privatised company QinetiQ) owns a much
more modest fleet, but its Boscombe Down facility continues to host diverse military aircraft.
A&AEE Harrier in 1990 (https://www.aviationphotocompany.com/p1034206641
, page 33)- the right timeframe for "Calvine":
-and a T12A "...on approach to Boscombe Down", in test markings, probably later than 1990. Annoyingly, don't know where I found it; all credit to original poster
-Incidentally, supposedly a secret US stealth aircraft crashed at Boscombe Down in September 1994
"Secret US spyplane crash may be kept under wraps", Christopher Bellamy, Timothy Walker, The Independent
14 March 1997
Not sure what to make of this, but it probably
demonstrates that the MoD doesn't always tell the whole truth about aircraft movements even when asked.
The Empire Test Pilots' School has operated a wide variety of aircraft, I've found photos of ETPS Tornados from around 1990 and they operated several Hunters over the years, though I haven't found any pictures of an ETPS Harrier yet- you'd think that a Harrier would be irresistible to a test pilot! Interestingly, ETPS currently operates at least one Saab Gripen, with Swedish "Triple Crown" roundels and ETPS tailfin livery, in neutral Sweden.
Despite its anachronistic name, the Empire Test Pilots' School has hosted 4 US and 7 European astronauts- I think it would be a good setting for a Thriller! (Or a conspiracy theory...
(Wikipedia, "Empire Test Pilots' School", accessed 25/03/23: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_Test_Pilots'_School
British Aerospace (BAe, succeeded by BAe Systems in 1999) test-flies aircraft, they own some but I don't know on what basis.
(Military aircraft operated by MoD agencies and approved contractors such as BAe Systems and QinetiQ bear military registrations).
Did find pic of a BAe Harrier which was titled "Harrier out of BAe Warton over Lake District", Warton being a major BAe Systems facility. All credit to the photographer, Chris Chambers.