RAF Jets Sold at High Prices

Recently in Great Britain, two former RAF jets were sold to separate auction-goers who each paid relatively high sums for the ownership of an historical aircraft. Neither plane was less than twenty years old, but they are both still retain their airborne capabilities. All things considered, the finale prices for each aircraft were especially high in view of the fact that neither one of the two former RAF jets was given a reserve price prior to the auction.

The first auctioned item was the 1976 Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3. This particular aircraft is better known as a “jump-jet,” and has yielded the more significant price of the two at over one hundred thousand British pounds. Yielding a much lower price, the second of the two auctioned RAF jets is a 1988 Panavia Tornado F3. Still a remarkable aircraft, this was bought for only a little over thirty-five thousand British pounds. The buyers have retained anonymity with the cooperation of Silverstone Auctions, though it is known that at least one of them is a pilot with some flight experience with this particular style of aircraft.

Needless to say, Silverstone is happy with the profit they have earned from the combined sales. Their managing director, Nick Whales, feels that the sale of such pieces of history as the two RAF jets was in and of itself a victory. The sizable profit they made was just icing on the cake. The GR3, the more expensive aircraft of the two, was heavily sought after during the auction. According the Whales, the applause following the final victorious bid was deservedly thunderous.

Both planes saw a far bit of active duty. The GR3 was used during the Cold War, while the F3 has seen thousands of hours of operational time. The GR3 is currently in a little more disrepair, but Whales anticipates that both RAF jets will be able to take to the skies again with a little bit of elbow grease. While the GR3 saw more competitive bidding, Whales feels the F3 is a decent catch as well. He points out that few still exist outside of museums, the BBC News reports.

The RAF jets made a decent profit for Silverstone Auctions, but they also allowed the bidding public to view two pieces of history up close. A Cold War-era aircraft such as the Harrier GR3 is not the sort of thing people see every day, much less take home for keeps. Although this is not the first time that Silverstone has auctioned off pieces of military antiquity, they believe the RAF jets to be among the more interesting pieces they have ever sold.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE