FACT CHECK: Did Harrier Jets Spell Out ‘F*** Off’ Over The Houses Of Parliament?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a group of Harrier jets spelling out the phrase “Fuck Off ” over the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament.

Verdict: False

The image is digitally fabricated. Harrier jets were decommissioned in 2011 with a final flyover including only 16 jets.

Fact Check:

The Facebook image allegedly shows a fleet of jets spelling out the words “Fuck Off” in the sky. “The British government scrapped the Harrier fleet in 2013, and on their farewell formation flypast over the Houses of Parliament, they sent the government a message,” the post’s caption claims.

The Harrier jet is a “single-engine, ‘jump-jet’ fighter-bomber designed to fly from combat areas and aircraft carriers and to support ground forces,” according to Britannica. (RELATED: Was A ‘F*** Joe Biden’ Sign Displayed On The Side Of A Stadium?)

Britain’s Harrier jets were decommissioned in 2011 due to cuts in defense spending, according to BBC News. Before the planes were officially decommissioned, 16 Harrier jets departed from Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Cottesmore in Leicestershire in December 2010 as part of a final flyover, according to a 2010 TV broadcast by Forces News.

Check Your Fact found no news coverage reporting on any messages of protest during the event. The weather conditions at the time were so poor that “the pilots, after forming a ­diamond formation, could not safely fly below the cloud cover,” according to the Daily Mail. Neither Forces News nor the Daily Mail mentioned the alleged formation.

The Facebook photo appears to be an altered version of an image uploaded to Flickr by user Manx Norton in December 2010 that shows similar-looking planes in a diamond formation. The image was included in an album titled, “HARRIER FAREWELL FLYPAST.”

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter


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