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Defence Cuts

From a service briefing:

  • The Tornado is to remain in service until the Typhoon can develop an improved multi-role capability
  • The MOD is to increase investment in Typhoon development to achieve this as soon as possible
  • The Tornado OSD is not yet set and will depend on the assessment of when Typhoon has a demonstrable capability
  • The RAF fast jet fleet as of 2020 will consist of Typhoons and JSFs (F35) (Tornado OSD is therefore expected to be before 2020)
  • Currently the Tornado Force delivers 40 “Force Elements” is to be reduced to 30 Force Elements
  • The Tornado fleet will reduce to 5 operational Squadrons + the OCU – within 12 months
  • Squadrons will increase to 15 crews each (from 12). Numbers of other squadron staff will be evaluated within the next few months and will be directed at achieving the required 17.5 flying hours per pilot per month
  • It has not yet been decided which squadrons will go
  • The basing requirement has not been decided. The general reduction in RAF aircraft will mean a new assessment of the future basing requirements. The main focus will be preparing for Typhoon and JSF. Wittering, Leeming, Marham and Lossie will all be evaluated and a decision made within a few months
  • Marham is expected to be safe for at least 5 years
  • The Harriers will be withdrawn from service by the end of March 2011
  • The carrier decision means that the RAF can buy the C/D version of the JSF
  • 50 JSF aircraft will be bought
  • JSF will be in service in 2018/19
  • E3D Sentry stays
  • The Reaper UAV will continue
  • ASTOR will be withdrawn within a few years
  • A new UAV called RPA will take over the function of ASTOR
  • The production phase of MRA4 Nimrod will be cancelled
  • The C17 transport aircraft fleet will consist of 7 aircraft
  • Purchase of the Airbus A400M will go ahead with a minimum fleet of 22 aircraft
  • The existing FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft) solution will continue and will be a fleet of 14 aircraft
  • Tristar and VC10 will be retired by 2013 (as already planned)
  • RAF Lyneham will close (as planned) and its capability moved to RAF Brize Norton
  • All RAF Sea King helicopters will be retired by 2013
  • The existing fleet of 48 Chinooks will continue and 12 extra will be bought
  • The Merlin Fleet will continue with 25 aircraft
  • The Puma will have its life extended and will consist of 24 aircraft
  • RAF Kinloss will close
  • DE&S will have a 20% cut imposed on all “C & D” projects (these are projects of a low value)
  • DE&S will have a 30% cut in their manpower imposed (they cost £1Bn and buy/manage £8bn of contracts)
  • A pay freeze will be imposed on the MOD

1 comment to Defence Cuts

  • alanpollock

    Not just to decimate but actually to destroy and discard the superb Harrier’s capability, so proven where and when it matters, seems incomprehensible to the Army as much as the Navy & most others. That this news came out to us, exactly 50 years to the day on Thursday after the first P1127 vertical takeoff on 21 October 1960, was an extremely sad coincidence oblivious to our ministerial masters – 50 years later the Harriers lay grounded for that Thursday and Friday, so the celebratory flypast at Bristol was cancelled – rather sad after all Jock Heron’s, R-R Bristol’s and the RAF Historical’s splendid Seminar on “The Bristol Connection” under the aegis of Sir Peter Squire in the Chair down at BAWA. Design began in 1957 by Sir Sydney Camm, Ralph Hooper of Hawker Aviation and Stanley Hooker (later Sir Stanley) of the Bristol Engine Company – one of the all important ‘Bristol’ forces not just for the Pegasus was Gordon Lewis who died this last 4th October.

    Surely separate from Typhoon both/and for Tornado AND Harrier rather than either/or was still the more correct (& cost effective after so much amortisation) alternative? If not then Ministers must explain why they are reducing our light blue capability for a few years to a state of monorchism, which may well have a significant different type of price to be paid by others over the extra few interim years.

    This seems to confirm the poet and author James Hamilton-Paterson’s recent “Empire of the Clouds”, to whom & which John Farley steered me a few months ago – a pretty powerful analysis, the more so perhaps since, like most of us, James H-P starts with such a poignant and nostalgic pre-disposition with his deeply ingrained love of the Air.

    All the best, Chris to you and yours, Al et al

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