EBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5026 times:
No one can even begin to say the RAF didn't get its moneys's worth out of these elegant birds. And clearly this may be only a temporary move until a complete analysis is completed. The VC-10 fleet has long since earned a rest but it's still doing a wonderful job.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12952 posts, RR: 79 Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4645 times:
This move might have a lot to do with the aftermath of the Nimrod MR.2 loss over Afghanistan in 2006.
The scathing report into it has led to a new agency, concerned with military airworthiness safety standards, a very aging type like Vickers classic bird will have come under extra scrutiny whatever issues it may or may not have.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11899 posts, RR: 52 Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4571 times:
Quoting GDB (Reply 2): The scathing report into it has led to a new agency, concerned with military airworthiness safety standards, a very aging type like Vickers classic bird will have come under extra scrutiny whatever issues it may or may not have.
Unfortuately that is true. The RAF is, and always has been a very professional Air Force with top notch air crews and maintenance technisions. The very unfortunate loss of the Nimrod MR.2 is not an indication of maintenance problems within those dedicated professionals of the RAF.
The RAF has been able to keep older airplanes in front line service for extremely long periods of time. These have included the various Nimrods, VC-10s, Vulcan bombers, Victor tanker/bomber, and even the great Lancaster bomber stayed in service well into the mid 1950s. The aging C-130Ks have long been over due for retirement (at least some of them), and the RAF keeps them flying safely all over the world.
It will be a sad day for the RAF and all of Britian when the last VC-10 flies its last sortie into retirement. She is a great airplane and a great friend. She has served you and your Air Force well.
The biggest problems of keeping old warriors flying is not the maintenance or air crews, it is the budget, in which the UK has raped for a long time. This is not a problem unique to the RAF, as the RN and British Army also have sevear budget problems, too. Nor is this only a British problem, look at military forces around the world. New weapons buys get cut, and streched out, forcing older weapons systems to soldier on.
Is a new government agency going to help solve the problem? Maybe, and maybe not.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12952 posts, RR: 79 Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4426 times:
Well KC, in the case of the Nimrod it was a complex chain of events going back years.
The report, understandably, focused on events nearer the accident, a mix of overstretch, some funding, but at heart chains of command mix ups and confusion.
But the in flight refueling system, where the leak that caused the explosion came from, was a very hastily added mod in 1982 in the Falklands war.
In it's original NATO ASW role, such a system was not needed (nor for P-3 Orions or Atlantiques either), but to provide support from Ascension Island to the war zone ex Vulcan probes were fitted with the rest of the internal gear being quicky fabricated.
Afterward, for the most part, it was unneeded, save for the odd exercises and deployment.
After the 2003 period, the Nimrod found a new role in (again like the USN P-3's) overland survellience, command and control, first in Iraq, then Afghanistan.
The Afghan one needing, from a base in Oman, a lot of in flight refueling.
All the while the fleet was very aging and the complete rebuilds to the MRA.4 standard hit very serious delays, including most notably the discovery that the Nimrods were virtually hand built, so each new wings, being to the same measurements, had shall we say issues.
Had the original MRA.4 program ran to anything like it's original schedule, that ill fated Nimrod in 2006 might well have been a MRA.4 conversion (which is so extensive, each one gets a new serial number, they are in effect new aircraft).
The UK does, compared to other European NATO nations except France, spend more on defence.
But, they are also the most actively deployed.
Even with some billions of extra £ over several years to fill urgent procurement gaps which comes from outside the defence budget. (Everything from new light machine guns to UCAV's).
All forces have gaps, much (justified) comment in recent times over the number of support helicopters for example, but though France has a larger fleet overall they have nothing in the Chinook class. Swings and roundabouts as they say.
Add in the strains of almost constant deployments, something bad was going to happen somewhere.
It's always been this way, even when during the Cold War when twice as much was being spent, even too in the more immediate post war period, still with much of the 'old' worldwide role and conscription, still needed a controversial budget boost for the Korean War
So now there is extra caution.
Those A330's are eagerly awaited!