Defence bosses have dismissed footage of British soldiers apparently playing "chicken" with a low flying Harrier jump jet as servicemen "letting off steam".

The 15-second video of the daredevil game was apparently filmed at Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan.

It showed one soldier standing with his back towards the horizon as the #40 million war plane approaches at high speed.

The Harrier, capable of speeds of up to 660mph, can be seen and heard approaching as his colleagues behind the camera egg him on.

But as it thunders just metres overhead the soldier glances over his shoulder and dives to the ground, shouting a string of expletives.

It is not clear if the plane was taking off from the air base or deliberately flying low over the group of soldiers. The footage was published on the internet video sharing site by a 44-year-old former RAF serviceman.

An MoD spokesman said: "The Harrier provides excellent support to our guys on the ground but we do not recommend that they fly that low so we will have a word with them.

"The soldiers in Afghanistan are under pressure and this is them letting off steam."

The Harrier is used by the RAF for the close air support of ground troops.

Yesterday, Brigadier Ed Butler, the outgoing commander of the British task force in Afghanistan, paid tribute to the work of airmen in the conflict.

The air campaign is the RAF's largest bombing operation since the invasion of Iraq first started in 2003.

>> Watch the video here.