Sunday, 20 March 2011

Royal Air Force Tornados Bomb Libya From Norfolk

Reports are coming in that Royal Air Force Tornados have launched Storm Shadow missiles against targets in Libya.

The Tornados are said to have made 3,000 mile round trips to launch the missiles against targets in Libya.

If this is true (we await confirmation) it will be the longest British bombing mission since the ineffectual Black Buck bombing raids in the Falklands War of 1982.

The United States Air Force has flown far longer missions in numerous conflicts in recent years,including in Kosovo,Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unlike the Black Buck raids,Storm Shadow attacks are at least likely to have hit their targets.

Applying air power at such long ranges when closer bases are available is an example of grotesque military inefficiency.

War is not about setting records,it is about doing damage to the enemy.

Very long range sorties result in very low sortie rates.

Low sortie rates mean less damage is done to the enemy.

The resources required are out of all proportion to the effect on the enemy.

There is no military advantage to bombing Libya from Norfolk rather than Cyprus or Sicily when closer bases are available.

A 3,000 mile sortie from Norfolk to Libya is likely to have taken at least 6 hours and to have required substantial aerial refuelling support.

Historic trends suggest that these Tornados will generate around 0.6 sorties per aircraft per day.

Time will tell if the Royal Air Force Tornados can match that number.

In contrast a Harrier on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya could have flown up to 4 sorties in a single day with no tanker support.

Royal Navy Sea Harriers did just that during the Falklands War.

All at ranges similar to those which they would have faced flying from an aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya.

That is more than 6 times our estimate of what Tornados will manage attacking Libya from Norfolk.

The Defence Secretary should compare these figures with the sortie rates acheived by Tornados during the current operation.

British and American warships have launched 112 cruise missiles against Libya in a single night.

Had Storm Shadow been integrated on to Harrier as was planned,an Invincible class aircraft carrier with 18 Harriers could easily have delivered up to 144 such missiles in a single day with no aerial refuelling.

We will see how many Storm Shadows the Royal Air Force managed to deliver at vast expense with this long range Tornado raid.


Anonymous said...

a) Storm Shadow would never have worked on the Harrier. It interfered with the flaps and trials were abandoned.

b) I accept that fuel costs money - but when the fuel in use is being drawn directly from home stocks, with no requirement for deployed logistics (and hence manpower footprint) there is a significant saving over the alternative.

c) Last night's action was just the start - I wouldn't be surprised if the Tornados end up somewhere closer to the action by the end of the week. They could probably even deploy whilst carrying out a further combat mission.

d) The Navy has already contributed to force projection through its Trafalgar-class subs and HMS Cumberland - exactly the seapower tools you would expect the Navy to prioritise as resources decline! Not to cut at the expense of a single floating airfield with a tiny air wing...

GrandLogistics said...

Hello Anonymous,

with reference to your first point,allow me to quote Nick Harvey,Minister of State for the Armed Forces speaking in Parliament on the 18th of November 2010:

"The Ministry of Defence has assessed that it would in principle be technically feasible to launch the Storm Shadow missile,which is the UK's only air launched cruise-missile,from a number of in-service and future fixed-wing platforms other than the Tornado fast jet. These include the Harrier GR9, Hercules C-130J, A400M, Typhoon and joint strike fighter."

Are you saying the Minister of State for the Armed Forces is wrong?
Back in 2002,a previous Minister of State for the Armed Forces,Adam Ingram had also said Storm Shadow could be carried by the Harrier.
Was he also wrong?
The House of Commons Defence Committee also refered to Storm Shadow being integrated on to the Harrier in 2006.
Were they also wrong?
No where have I come across any official source which says Storm Shadow could not be carried by a Harrier because it interfered with the flaps.
That would contradict the statements by the above ministers.
If you can give a source for that I would be very interested to read it.

With reference to your second point,all of the available bases in the Mediterranean are established N.A.T.O. operating bases with their own established fuel supplies.
Other air forces are using those bases including the Canadians,Danes and Belgians.
None of them appear to have any problems with fuel supply.
However,there has been some suggestion that the Tornado requires a type of fuel that is not available at Sigonella.
I have no idea if that is true or not but the person who made that claim said he had spoken directly with people at Sigonella very recently.
It would certainly be interesting to know why the Canadians can deploy F18s from Canada to an Italian base in Sicily more quickly than the Royal Air Force can deploy Tornados from A Royal Air Force base in Norfolk to a Royal Air Force base in Cyprus.

To address your third point,if we flew that mission from Marham to avoid logistical difficulties then why are we now deploying those same aircraft to bases in the Mediterranean,according to the Defence Secretary Liam Fox?

To address your final point,as last night's raid proved,delivering air power from an aircraft carrier is far cheaper than relying on land based aircraft like the Tornado.
Carriers provide more capability at lower cost with fewer aircraft and less aerial refuelling.
As the Royal Air Force's new fleet of tanker aircraft is costing 3 times as much per service year as the Royal Navy's 2 new aircraft carriers it is logical to expect the United Kingdom to prioritise carrier capabilities as resources decline.
Not to cut them at the expense of a large fleet of land based tankers and bombers which deliver far less military effect at far greater cost.


Think Defence said...


The reasons why Storm Shadow was not fully integrated with the harriers were actually quite numerous but here is a quick list

Mounting issues, if the missile on the right wing was launched then the aircraft would flip over and it doesn't have the lift to carry two/ Bit of a fundamental problem that one. Look at where they are carried on Tornado and look at a Harrier. Storm Shadow are pretty big beasts

Because of that significant weight the aircraft plus missile would handle like a dog, be unable to go very far or fly very fast and need a lot of tanker support. The weight issues would also limit bring back performance and vertical landing so if they didn't launch they would have to be ditched, a pretty expensive hobby

Drag, again, have you seen how big they are, drag issues would have significantly degraded performance

All sensible reasons that go beyond the 'in principle technically feasible' defence offered by the MoD

It may well be possible but given the inherent problems as above (plus the flaps issue which I admit to not hearing, that doesnt make it not true though) it would not be a sensible thing to do.

S O said...

Normal cruise missiles (Tactical tomahawk) aren't more expensive than a Taurus, Storm Shadow, Apache or JASSM anyway. The difference is basically in the size of the fuel tank and fuselage lengths - the cheapest parts.

It's also simplistic and misleading if not outright wrong to claim that carrier-borne Storm Shadow ops would be cheaper or that a single small carrier could have launched more than a hundred such missiles in a day.
Carriers have a huge fixed cost and need a lot of protection (including some CAP).
The recent episode did at most show that the VARIABLE cost of launching a Storm Shadow can be lower with a Harrier than with a Tornado. That's trivial, and the opposite scenario can easily be conceived, too.

We should keep in mind that the reason for a lack of the (cheapest alternative!) GLCMs (which could easily have been airlifted to Sicily) is a Cold War arms control treaty, not some technical, tactical or fiscal reason. ALCMs are far from a good choice without such a political restriction.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello Think Defence,

with respect to your point 1:

Storm Shadow weighs 1,230 kg or 2,460 kg for 2 of them.
Which is about half what a Harrier can carry.
The Harrier GR9a could operate with full weapon loads on land or sea in temperatures up to 45 degrees Celcius.
It could easily lift a pair of Storm Shadows.
Asymmetric load limits are critical to flight safety and consequently are almost certainly well known to the Ministry of Defence.
Which begs the question,if the weight of a single Storm Shadow exceeded the asymmetric load limit then why was the Ministry of Defence planning to integrate it for so many years?

With respect to your point 2:

A Harrier with 2 Storm Shadows could fly deep in to Libya,launch those missiles and return to the carrier with no aerial refuelling at all.
Unlike the Marham based Tornados which required 4 aerial refuellings to do the same job.
Combat radius is meaningless without being considered in the context of basing.
The Harrier has a shorter combat radius than the 400 nautical miles (lo-lo-lo,R.A.F. figures) of the Tornado but Harriers would have been based on an aircraft carrier about 1,500 miles closer to the targets.
Giving the Harrier a practical range advantage of about 1,400 miles over a Marham based Tornado when bombing Libya.

Bring back weight is important for Close Air Support and Combat Air Patrol.
On both of those missions the aircraft will routinely be returning to the carrier with unexpended ordnance.
A strike mission on the other hand is flown for the express purpose of releasing ordnance.
Unless the mission is aborted in flight for some odd reason (as we saw recently),there will normally be no need to bring back the Storm Shadows.
As the published vertical take off weight of the Harrier is about 3 tonnes above it's empty weight there is the possibility that the 2,460 kg weight of 2 Storm Shadows might be within it's bring back capability but I have no idea if that is actually the case.
A Harrier pilot would know the answer to that.

With respect to your point 3:

All external weapons and tanks impose extra drag,on the Tornado as well as the Harrier.
The Storm Shadow can't be much more draggy than a 2,000lb Paveway which the Harrier also carries or those big drop tanks for that matter.

I have been unable to find any official sources saying Storm Shadow could not be carried by the Harrier but there a a number of references from ministers saying it could.
Which leaves open the question of why it wasn't.


P.S.Completely off topic but I am sure there is a combat aircraft type which had it's flaps modified to accommodate a particular weapon but I can't remember what it is.

Think Defence said...

GL, don't think you will find anything open source about the detailed reasons for not proceeding with Storm Shadow integration but it is an expensive enough business without the added complication that extensive modification would need.

There is no way a Harrier could vertical land with a Storm Shadow still attached and at 800k a piece that would be an expensive thing to have to dump if the target conditions changed or there was a malfunction. If it did fail to release that means the Harrier ditching and pilot ejecting.

Thats risky and of course very expensive.

The Tornado can handle asymmetric loads really well but even it carries SS on fuselage pylons.

If you look at the length of SS and the size of Harriers wing you can see the logic of the flaps thing but how much would modification cost

So although the ministers might be right when they say they could be technically possible to mount I am not sure it would be financially possible.

I mean, the minister even said it could be fitted to a C130!

You are just going to have to accept that not having Storm Shadow on the Harrier happened for very good reasons.

Brimstone, now thats another matter entirely

TheRagingTory said...

Dont suppose you have any idea how much of the flight time costs will be recouped from the training budget do you?

Shinkou Ookami said...

I was under the impression that the Tornados deployed from RAF Marham, but then landed at Gioia del Colle in southern Italy after their sortie over Libya. And will be using that location as their staging point for future sorties??

GrandLogistics said...

Hello Sven Ortmann,

you appear to be looking at the cost of flying individual sorties.
That is not important.
What is important is the cost of maintaining the system required to deliver those sorties.
The carrier option requires far fewer combat aircraft due to the short ranges involved and less (or no) aerial refuelling aircraft.
As the Royal Air Force Tornados and United States Marine Corps Harriers are proving in Libya at the moment.

From various official sources,the costs to the United Kingdom of each option are as follows:

1.Carrier option system costs:

Retain Harrier fleet in service (74 aircraft) £125 Million per year.

Retain H.M.S.Ark Royal in service £10 Million - £35 Million a year over the next 4 years.

Total cost of retaining the carrier system in service £135 Million - £160 Million a year.

2.Land based aircraft option:

Retain Tornado fleet in service (137 aircraft) £937 Million a year.

Replace aerial refuelling tanker fleet £512 Million - £647 Million a year.

Total cost of retaining the land based bomber system in service£1,449 Million - £1,584 Million a year.

The Tornado fleet is being cut from 7 frontline squadrons to 5 and the new tanker aircraft don't just provide fuel to combat aircraft.
We need to allow or that and I am not aware of any official figures which do that so some estimates will have to suffice.

Cutting the Tornado fleet cost by 2/7ths leaves us with £669 Million a year.

Attributing half of the tanker cost to transport and other tanking roles leaves £256 Million - £323 Million a year.

Total £925 Million - £992 Million a year.

That may just be an estimate but compare it to the cost of retaining the carrier system in service £135 Million - £160 Million a year.

The financial savings are huge if the United Kingdom uses carrier based Harriers instead of Tornados and tankers.


GrandLogistics said...

Hello ThinkDefence,

I am sure the Armed Forces Minister is party to any and all classified information relating to this subject.
He says Harrier carrying Storm Shadow is technically feasable.
As did his predecessors.

The question is,why would ministers say that if it had been found that it was not technically feasable?

Storm Shadows are expensive things to throw away but that would be a very rare event.
We fly stand off strike (rather than close air support) missions maybe once or twice a decade.
Even then we will only have to bring a round back if the mission is aborted in flight.
That does not happen often on a strike mission.

On the other hand,keeping the Tornado's long range land based aircraft capability and it's tanker support will be costing hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
Thousands of Millions over the course of a decade.
Dumping a few missiles is cheap in comparison.

I would be surprised if Storm Shadow was much bigger than the drop tanks which Harrier carries (without hitting the flaps):

It would be interesting to compare their weights and dimensions.

The reason the minister mentioned Hercules and A400M is that they were considered as potential missile launching platforms as part of the Future Offensive Air System studies.
Hercules has carried much larger "cruise missiles" than Storm Shadow in the past even if it is a cargo carrier (usually):


GrandLogistics said...

Hello TheRaging Tory,

they say this was the noisiest navigation training exercise in history.


GrandLogistics said...

Hello Shinkou Ookami,

the Tornados flew back to Marham after the attack on Libya.

They will probably be relocating to Gioia Del Colle soon.

It is difficult to understand why they did not return to Italy instead of flying all the way back to Marham.


GrandLogistics said...


the Harrier can carry 4 370 gallon drop tanks.
If my maths is right,the fuel alone in each of those will weigh about 1,120 kg with the weight of the tank it's self on top of that.
A Storm Shadow weighs 1,230 kg.
I suspect the Storm Shadow and a full 370 gallon drop tank would be very similar in weight.

Does anyone know how much an empty 370 gallon drop tank weighs?


GrandLogistics said...


just to add a little more information,I have read a figure of 700lbs for an empty 370 gallon drop tank.
If that is correct,a full tank would weigh about 1,439kg,a lot more than the 1,230kg of a Stormshadow.
I understand Harriers can carry 4 such tanks on the wing pylons.

Tornado can also carry Storm Shadow on it's wing pylons:


TheRagingTory said...

"What is important is the cost of maintaining the system required to deliver those sorties."

Like maintaining a CAP around a Carrier?
We can go round and round all day, charging one thing and writing off others.

"I am sure the Armed Forces Minister is party to any and all classified information relating to this subject.
He says Harrier carrying Storm Shadow is technically feasable.
As did his predecessors.

The question is,why would ministers say that if it had been found that it was not technically feasable?"

Because Technicaly Feasible doesnt mean will actualy happen.
Its technicaly feasible to launch a B25 off a Yorktown

BigG said...

Does anyone know the Giaio del Colle basing costs for the aircraft, air and ground crews?

Think Defence said...


Interesting picture of Tornado with 4 Storm Shadows but given their colour and markings I suspect they were part of carriage and release trials. These carriage and release trials may well have confirmed for any number of reasons the reality with production, cleared, weapons that the inboard carriage is the only option or at the very least the preferred option.

Harrier simply does not have the ability to carry any on its centreline so it would have to be wings. I know that in order to even load the Storm Shadow onto Harrier, which they did as part of early trials, they had to remove the wing leg. No doubt other problems would then have arisen like the asymmetric release or even flaps issue which caused the whole project to be abandoned.

Drop tanks are usually dropped empty, if at all. You have to wonder if a Harrier with the heavy Storm Shadow would have had to use a drop tank to get from CVS to a safe release point.

You also have to ask if with a pair of Storm Shadows, plus drop tanks, plus ECM and self defence systems a Harrier would have got off the deck at all, unless of course it would have had to take off almost empty of fuel and get refuelled in the air.

Has your argument changed slightly from it could, to it would be cheaper, because they are different things?

As I said, I think you have to accept there were good reasons why Harrier was and is, not feasible within sensible economic boundaries, to carry Storm Shadow.

I think you are labouring the point to be honest, just saying

I know about FOAS

TheRagingTory said...

Just a thought
If Tornado could carry 4 storm shadows, why isnt it?

Anonymous said...


Tornado can carry 4 Storm Shadow, but then would have no external fuel tanks. At any given point on the mission, the aircraft should have enough fuel on board to reach a friendly airbase if an emergency arises. Out over the middle of the sea, or near neutral territory, this means that the additional capacity of the external tanks might be required. It would also mean that the aircraft would have to refuel at least twice as often, and refuelling causes a higher rate of fuel consumption than normal cruise. The load of 4 Storm Shadow could be used if the airbase was extremely close to the action (for example, it could have been done from Gioia, but the Storm Shadow was no longer needed once the jets deployed).

GrandLogistics said...

Hello TheRaging Tory,,

or the combat air patrol around an air base?
During the liberation of Kuwait in 1990/1991,the Royal Air Force flew 2,500 air defence sorties.
Close to half the total fast jet sorties flown by the Royal Air Force during that conflict.

I am glad you mentioned the Doolittle raid (never was a man more appropriately named).
It was the first thing I thought of when I heard about the 3,000 mile Tornado mission.

In both cases the missions were technically feasable.
In both cases thet were done in practice.
In both cases the resources expended were out of all proportion to the damage done to the enemy.

Technically feasable means there are no technical obstacles to Harrier carrying Storm Shadow.
The interesting thing about the Storm Shadow discussion is that there are so many people on various internet forums claiming it isn't technically feasable for various reasons but a government minister in Parliament says it is.
Many of the arguments are clearly nonsense but some may be plausible - fit issues for example.
It would be interesting to know why it was not integrated if,as the minister says,it is feasible for the Harrier to carry it.
If Harrier can't carry Storm Shadow,why does the minister say it is feasable?
If Harrier can carry Storm Shadow,why do so many internet posters say it can't?


GrandLogistics said...

Hello BigG,

I have no idea but there are some ugly rumours going around about that.
It would also be interesting to know the logistical costs of deploying there.


GrandLogistics said...

Hello ThinkDefence,

one of us certainly is labouring the point!
Your arguments change with every post.
Are you clutching at straws to prove the minister wrong?

Tornado often carries weapons on it's inboard pylons during trials but rarely during operations.
It is almost always seen with drop tanks on those inboard wing stations in normal use.
Just like most other western combat aircraft it often needs a lot more fuel than it carries internally.
That doesn't imply that it cannot carry weapons on those stations if there was any need to.

The asymmetric load limit is highly unlikely to be a problem for either the Tornado or Harrier when carrying Storm Shadow.
It takes a simple mathematical calculation to determine if Storm Shadow release is within the asymmetric load limit.
If it was outside that limit,there would be no point in doing fitment trials or in the case of the Tornado,flight trials.
Nor would the Ministry of Defence have been talking about fitting Storm Shadow to Harrier for a decade if it knew it the asymmetric load limit made that impractical.
Again,why would they be doing fitment trials if they knew the asymmetric load made it unsafe for Harrier to carry Storm Shadow?

Storm Shadow is a similar size and weight to the Harrier's drop tanks but it is a different shape.
Consequently fitment problems (including with the flaps) ruling out integration on the Harrier may be plausible.
But that again brings us back to the question of why would the Armed Forces Minister say it is feasable if it isn't?

Drop tanks are expensive bits of kit which are usually only dropped in a high stress situation where the pilot has an urgent need to lose drag and weight.
In those circumstances he has to drop them no matter how much fuel they contain.

I really don't understand why you again suggest that a Harrier would not be able to take off when carrying 2 Storm Shadows.
If you are not familiar with the weights,the Maximum Take Off Weight for Harrier G.R.7a/9a (Mk.107 engine) is 34,000 pounds.
It can take off at that weight from a ship or land base and in temperatures up to 45 degrees - according to someone who flies (or flew) one.
Empty weight 15,542 pounds (from Janes).
2 Storm Shadows weigh 5,424 pounds(2 x 2,712 pounds).
Internal fuel weighs 7,759 pounds.
External fuel (2 drop tanks) weighs 4,035 pounds (4 drop tanks weigh 8,071 pounds,R.A.F. figure).
Total weight with 2 drop tanks,internal fuel and 2 Storm Shadows 32,760 pounds,1,240 pounds under the Maximum Take Off Weight.

We can get some idea of the Harrier's range with that payload from United States Navy figures.
They give a combat radius of 508 miles (Hi,Lo,Hi) for a Harrier II with a 31,000 pound take off weight and similar load of 2 drop tanks and 6 bombs weighing 4,692 pounds.
This gives a sortie length of 2.6 hours.

That would suggest a Storm Shadow equipped Harrier could strike targets about 600 miles from it's carrier without any aerial refuelling.

There may or may not have been good reasons for not integrating Storm Shadow on to Harrier.
The Armed Forces Minister would be the person to ask about that.
However,many of the reasons suggested stand up to little scrutiny.


Think Defence said...

I am not clutching at straws at all, just suggesting there are a myriad of reasons why it wasn't done.

Things like this are complex with many factors at play so whilst it may be technically feasible there is a big big difference between technically feasible and actually practical within sensible boundaries.

Take the flaps issue for example, I don't know whether it is true or not but if it did require modification of the flaps then that is still technically feasible and the minister would not be lying.

But would we really want to modify a small number of aircraft (for the Harrier fleet was small) with all the costs that it entailed, safety certification (big issue as we know), additional training, on board missile prep and maintenance and all the hidden costs that we all tend to discount when thinking that all it takes to integrate a complex weapon onto a complex airframe is to get out the tape measure and a copy of Janes.

Even if it were done, why duplicate, apart from conspiracy theories of course?

Tornado is a good fit for Storm Shadow, it is in a large fleet, supportable and is designed to penetrate non permissive airspace at supersonic speeds to arrive at the launch point. Now I know the whole point of a stand off missile is to stand off from IADS but with the proliferation of modern AA systems and aircraft you still need a decent enough platform to launch it.

Asymmetric release, physical restrictions, integration costs, performance penalty (when equipped with ECM, DAS etc) and the desire to reduce duplication are all valid and entirely reasonable reasons, maybe not on their own, but certainly when taken in the round against a backdrop of reducing budgets in the real world.

To be honest, this seem more plausible than the evil Chief of the air Staff sitting in his chair, wearing a polo neck and stroking a white cat whilst plotting the destruction of the Harrier.

Especially when it is the RAF that actually allocated enough resource to keep the Harrier fleet going for so many years whilst the RN neglected it

GrandLogistics said...

Hello ThinkDefence,

technically feasible means just that.
The few official reference to the decision not to integrate Storm Shadow do not give technical problems as a reason for not doing so.
In fact the Armed forces minister at the time very explicitly stated Storm Shadow could be carried by Harrier while explaining that it had been decided not to proceed with the integration.
The official reasons given can be summed up with "We decided not to bother".

The costs of integrating Storm Shadow were insignificant in comparison to the cost of retaining Tornado.
Retaining the Tornado fleet is costing the taxpayer £6,500 Million more than retaining Harrier fleet would have cost.

Integrating missiles usually costs in the low tens of millions,as we have seen from the many weapons which have been integrated on Tornado,Typhoon and Harrier in recent years.
Then you have the saving from needing less tanker support and getting more daily sorties out of each aircraft.

Which is why you would want to do it.

The real question is,why would anyone want to deliver Strom Shadow with a Tornado fleet which costs 7 times more,needs massive tanker support and can only generate a handful of sorties each day because it is based 1,500 miles from it's release point?

Tornado is far less supportable than the Harrier fleet,needs a larger fleet to make up for the poor sortie generation resulting from being based so far away,requires far more tanker support,for practical purposes is subsonic when combat loaded (except in emergencies) and most importantly of all costs 7 times as much as the Harrier fleet.

When launching a 250 mile range missile from well below the radar horizon,a largely subsonic Tornado is little better than a subsonic Harrier.

There is no economic argument for retaining Tornado rather than integrating Storm Shadow on to Harrier.
As we have discussed earlier,if asymmetric load limits were a problem the the integration would never even have been considered but you have already said it went as far as fit trials and successive ministers say there is no problem with Harrier carrying Storm Shadow.

The Royal Navy did not neglect the Harrier fleet.

The Royal Navy did not even own the Harrier fleet.

The Harrier fleet belonged to the Royal Air Force and was funded by the Royal Air Force.

To suggest the Royal Navy neglected the Harrier fleet is as nonsensical as suggesting the Royal Air Force neglected the submarine fleet.


Think Defence said...

Sorry GL, going to step out of this one.

Your blinkered beyond belief and it is like discussing something with a brick wall, you know all the answers so discussion seems impossible

Yes it is technically feasible, no it wasn't done because to overcome those technical difficulties would have meant a lot of cost, its pretty simple really.

You are dead wrong about the RAF and the Harrier as well but again, lets not let the facts get in the way of a bitter rant

Not going to get into the whole Harrier v Tornado thing except to say that of all the professionals I have discussed this with the overall impression I get is, regrettable but right

GrandLogistics said...

Hello Think Defence,

You have clutched at every straw argument imaginable to contradict a government ministers statement that integrating Storm Shadow on Harrier is technically feasible.

Now you are saying it is technically feasible and calling me blinkered for disagreeing with you?

Did you expect me to agree when you claimed a Harrier could not take off with a pair of Storm Shadows even though that is a fraction of it's normal payload?

Or when you claimed it would not be able to take off with a useful fuel load when carrying Storm Shadows,even though it could carry a pair of them with full internal fuel and a pair of drop tanks?

But "lets not let the facts get in the way of a bitter rant".

The cost of retaining Tornado,rather than Harrier,for it's boutique capability of firing Storm Shadow is around £6,500 Million.

The cost of integrating a new missile on Harrier would have been in the tens of millions.

I actually agree with you when you say that many air power professionals preferred to retain Tornado.
After all,thousands of those professionals would have been unemployed if the Tornado fleet had been cut.

That is one of the problems with the armed forces.
They are like the union and the management rolled in to one.