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RAF Aircraft Struggling, Warn MPs  
User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2604 times:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6270406.stm

Well, I'm not surprised to be honest, there aircrafts are ageing, they and no doubt their crews are under a lot of pressure fighting 2 wars at the same time, as well as doing normal stuff, like para training etc.
I remember, I was on a military camp camp earlier this year and the year before they'd had 2 Sea King, 2 Puma, 1 Lynx, 1 Gazelle and 2 Merlin helicopter flights plus a Hercules drop off their food , this year, half of us had 1 Gazelle flight, the other half had a Chinook flight and no Hercules. That kinda showed how little aircrafts the British military has spare and the aircrafts must be structualy under more pressure which can't be good.

Any thoughts ?
Wrighbrothers


Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13218 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 2546 times:

Yes, really that a lack of regular investment over the past few decades is coming home to roost.
However, the addition of C-130J's and C-17's (hopefully more of the latter to come), did help, these were the first major investments in transport aircraft for 30 years.

Part of the problem was that from the mid 60's, until the end of the Cold War, the RAF, like the rest of the armed forces, had to concentrate on the NATO role.
This did not really need much of an 'out of area' capability, so a large force of C-130's sufficed, tanking was mostly to support RAF interceptor aircraft in the air defence of the UK too.
The Falklands War then, caught everyone napping, out of that, came in flight refuelling added to more types, the ex BA L1011-500's, but at the time, this conflict was seen as a 'one off', so it was largely back to the main NATO role afterwards, which then, was a reasonable choice to make.

Now, perhaps the RAF could 'borrow' or lease some C-130J's from the USAF-assuming they've spare, they have their own issues with a very aging C-130 legacy fleet and a problematic fleet wide upgrade programme for them (better for them perhaps to have really increased the numbers and pace of C-130J procurement).

Otherwise, for the RAF, it's about waiting for the A400M's and A330's, as forces draw down in Iraq, the pressure will slacken-though the troops are needed in Afghanistan-also something the Commons has focussed on.
But, it looks like we can whistle for certain larger NATO European members to provide more troops, or just to allow the ones they have there, to actually be allowed to engage in full scale combat operations.
The ending of the former Yugoslavia commitment recently helped some too.
The drawdown in Northern Ireland will only help a little with RAF transport aircraft commitments, but will help much more with infantry overstretch.


User currently offlineScouseflyer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 3393 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2429 times:

"They also said the MoD should look at increasing its A400M order, especially as three Hercules had been lost on operations recently. "

That'd be a good start.

I wonder if they could lease a few extra C17s and C130s for the medium term - Boeing would be glad to add a couple more GlobeMasters to the line and they could then be sold onto that cargo company that was looking at buying some C17s a while back.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2350 times:

Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 2):
"They also said the MoD should look at increasing its A400M order, especially as three Hercules had been lost on operations recently. "

That'd be a good start.

I wonder if they could lease a few extra C17s and C130s for the medium term - Boeing would be glad to add a couple more GlobeMasters to the line and they could then be sold onto that cargo company that was looking at buying some C17s a while back.

That is a good start. I doubt the A-400Ms will arrive any earier.

But, isn't this really the MP's fault. Not just the condition of the RAF, but the RN and British Army, too?


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13218 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2337 times:

The current MP's can (and will), argue that defence spending has increased some as a proportion of GDP, since 2000-when all UK public services got a very substantial largesse, after effectively two decades of lean times-deliberatly.
Prior to that, the UK's long running post war economic problems, affected spending by both parties.

I think the real villains of the peace was the government in power in the immediate post Cold War period, mostly John Major's.
Since they flunked a real opportunity to do a once in 50 years massive review, what happened, was a long series of salami slicing, while rightly the focus was on reducing the forces in Germany, land and air, it did not go any further than that.
A lot of opposition was from senior service personnel whose careers had been made in areas like the British Army Of The Rhine, RAF Germany and anti sub warfare in the North Atlantic, there should have been a quick and easy answer to this opposition, as public servants they could be sacked, and the younger, hungrier, more imaginative ones promoted.

It was not until 1998, when the new government did a full scale 'Strategic Defence Review', that something approximating what should have been done in 1990 happened.
Even that was not fully funded-nothing new there, but it was a belated step in the right direction.

But do not mistake the UK for the US, there is not the seeming public appetite or political critical mass, for higher defence spending.
The public will say 'yes' if asked, but ask if cuts be made in other services or funded from even a very slight tax increase, and you'll mostly get another answer-it's not only politicians who 'speak with a forked tonque'.
Most British people are I think, proud of their military, as long as they do not personally feel any effects of a major spending boost. (We really need to go from 3.8% GDP to about 4.5%).

As well as maybe leasing out some C-130J's, it might be worth examining whether any stored RAF C-130K's could be brought back into service.
If anyone says 'what about aircrew?', then re-form some Royal Auxiliary Air Force flying units, last seen in the late 1950's.
Plenty of commercial pilots who would join, or some looking for employment.
Base one 4-6 aircraft unit in Southern England (near LHR, LGW, STN and some major army barracks-whose occupants they'd be carrying), and another in Northern England, (near MAN and Yorkshire, and some more major barrack towns).

Another quick and easy boost, would be to lease two white tail A330's, R/R powered, to the RAF for general trooping/cargo.
A nice precursor to the tanking force to come, so also a valuable training aid, fit military comms and self defence gear, but otherwise be unmodified.
When the main A330 tanker force starts to arrive, then buy these two outright, then they can carry on doing some non tanking airlift, VIP, training, often saving the more dedicated tankers for ops where they are essential.


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3602 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2310 times:

Until the 1st Gulf war it was the policy that UK forces had no active role "East of Suez", this had been in force since the withdrawal from the middle east in the mid 60's. John Majors government were already in the process of cutbacks as a result of the peace dividend from the end of the cold war, quite a bit of what was deployed to the Gulf in 1990 was already destined for disbandment. After the end of the war it was assumed that their would not be aneed to go back again and the drawdown continued. Thus I would agree that John Major cut the armed forces, but after 1991, he asked little of them apart from Bosnia.

Tony Blair had global ambitions as a world mediator and peacemaker, and when assuming power in 97 got us into a few conflicts to say the least; Bosnia was still on the go, then Irag; now we have two very nasty little firefights going on at the same time in Afghanistan & Irag. He did nothing however to arrest the gradual rundown, indeed it has probably acclerated. The army has lost infantry battalions as it was decreed that peace in Northern Ireland meant we had too many; the Navy lost a lot of relatively new frigates, the carrier fleet lost their air defence, and one carrier. The RAF lost its Jaguars early, which were originally to run on until the Typhoon arrived.

If our government has ambitions of having a true global capability once more, the equipment needs to be provided to meet this. Whilst the armed forces continue to make do , the government will just sit back.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13218 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2262 times:

True, but some of of 'newer' frigates were Batch 2 Type-22's, really designed for ASW, but they could have been re-fitted to something like a Batch 3, the more general purpose variant.
In truth, UK defence spending slowed from 1986.
I do not think the Jaguars went much sooner than planned-but long after they were assumed to be gone if we go back to before the 1991 Gulf War, which arguably prevented a much sooner phasing out.
For a long time, it was thought that the Jaguar force would retire by 2008, it's in fact been a year before, with the last Sqn disbanding.
Maybe it's at least in part due to the crews being needed as the Typhoon force ramps up?

On the credit side, the small arms were finally sorted out (the A2 fix for the SA80 range-the press will never admit it, but the 'A2' fix worked)-Major sent the troops out in 1991 with a weapon they knew needed a lot of improving and did nothing afterwards, a decent squad LMG at last (Mimini), like the US with the Hummer (despite their experience of Somalia in 1993), the UK was caught out with vehicle protection in Iraq, so FV432's have been updated as the 'Bulldog', as well as the Mastiff and other new protected vehicles, and the new weapon carrying light vehicles to supplement the armed Landrovers.

Some short term and longer term effort on UAV's, (Predator now and the 'Watchkeeper' programme ), helicopters are too few in number, just as when Flight International complained of the same back in 1986, though the Danish deal and at long last, sorting out the stored Chinooks will help some and do so quickly, (a lot of this shortfall might have been avoided if AST.404 had not be canned in 1990-which almost certainly would have provided the RAF with around 75 Westland built, RTM-332 engined WS-70 Blackhawks), for the future, 'Future Lynx' (at last).

This is in no way trying to paint a rosy picture, which would be absurd to try to do, but a rounded view is usually (deliberately) not reported. I do not remember the Telegraph and tabloids being so scathing when very serious equipment issues were seen in the Falklands war, for example.

Major was fortunate with events worldwide, he really only had the former Yugoslavia on his plate after 1991, but it was Blair who stepped up and pressured for something to finally be done about Serbian aggression, Major's foreign Secretary when it kicked off, Douglas Hurd, was pretty appalling in his handling of it, he was far from the only one, but even so.............
(On retirement, he went to work for a bank which provided loans that criminal regime in Belgrade).

Blair happened to be PM when the world changed, Iraq was a massive error, which soured and ended his time at No.10 sooner.
He was right on Kosovo, right on Sierra Leone, wrong on Iraq, right on Afghanistan, though being wrong on Iraq affected Afghanistan of course-though remember, the US government was unenthusiastic about much of the offers of help from NATO there, in 2001 at least.
But who wants to bet that any other PM, likely to have been elected in this period, from either party, would have done a lot different with Iraq?

But with a post war perspective, the current government are no worse on defence than all the others, the worst being the Macmillan government with it's notorious 1957 Defence Review, the sudden hostility to manned aircraft was part of the real driving force of the review, reduce costs dramatically and end the unpopular conscription.
They had an election to fight soon after all.

The reviews/cutbacks of the mid/late 60's were inevitable, 'East Of Suez' was unaffordable, politically as well as financially, the NATO move to 'Flexible Response' meant much more emphasis on conventional forces in Europe, but the effects of 1957 had left the RAF with a tactical force almost totally obsolete, the mainstays still being Hunters and Canberras. Re-Equipment was needed and very fast, the previous 13 years had seen most projects cancelled, many sensibly but a lot of money had been spent for nothing.
In 1964, there were more UK service personnel East Of Suez, than in Germany.

TSR.2 is remembered bitterly, for good reason, but it had been an appallingly managed programme, subject to large inter service wrangling, likewise the planned CVA-01 carriers, which would have been huge floating lemons if built, and the RN could never have manned more than one at a time, without serious effects on the rest of the fleet.

But, within 5 years from 1965, the RAF at last got a modern, versatile fighter/bomber (F-4), a VSTOL concept that unlike P.1154, was practical (P.1121 Harrier), what they should have had years before (Buccaneer), a practical patrol aircraft (Nimrod), a practical air lifter (C-130), a range of new choppers on the way for all 3 services (Sea King, Puma, Lynx, Gazelle), the start of a sustainable (multi national) new programme for an aircraft, that would be affordable in large numbers-(MRCA, later called Tornado), an interim strike aircraft project that proved to be affordable and a bit more than 'interim' (Jaguar), and a new programme to produce what would be a best selling advanced trainer (Hawk).

Compare that with the previous 13 years, accepting that the V-Bombers soaked up a lot of effort in the early years.
Many of these were for the future in the late 60's, but even so, the RAF at least, got a lot more new equipment 'in the metal' in this period, all against a background of entrenched and long standing economic problems.

But, all governments face the same, stark fact, there is no great public appetite for heavily increased defence spending, the Attlee government undertook a re-arming programme largely due to the Korean War, while only very minor cuts were made in the then new NHS, it was enough to help them lose power.
(At this time, the spending was 6% of GDP, unsustainable, with the nation will heavily affected economically from WW2, even then, still largely reliant on US military and economic aid-also unsustainable).

I also do not really think there are 'Global Ambitions' as such, more like the situation has changed, not helped, as we are seeing in Afghanistan now, by a reluctance by some large European NATO allies to pull their weight, or just do anything more than the absolute minimum with serious, self imposed, Rules Of Engagement limits.
A lot of new equipment is coming, it is however, hugely expensive, it won't be the first time that cuts have been imposed now, to (hopefully), pay for the future.
This has happened numerous times since 1945. And it was only in 1968,since then, that the UK forces were not engaged in action somewhere, often in more than one theatre at the same time.


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7629 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2238 times:

GDB

Now, perhaps the RAF could 'borrow' or lease some C-130J's from the USAF-assuming they've spare, they have their own issues with a very aging C-130 legacy fleet and a problematic fleet wide upgrade programme for them (better for them perhaps to have really increased the numbers and pace of C-130J procurement).

Comment

I am not clear why the USAF has not bought more C130J, I know that the C17 is part of the answer but it was never going to 1 for 1. They also retired the C141 and only increased the C5 fleet marginally.

Another quick and easy boost, would be to lease two white tail A330's, R/R powered, to the RAF for general trooping/cargo.

A nice precursor to the tanking force to come, so also a valuable training aid, fit military comms and self defence gear, but otherwise be unmodified.

When the main A330 tanker force starts to arrive, then buy these two outright, then they can carry on doing some non tanking airlift, VIP, training, often saving the more dedicated tankers for ops where they are essential.

Comment

Another excellent idea, whilst not the same as the planned tanker varient, they would provide useful experience.


Scouseflyer

They also said the MoD should look at increasing its A400M order, especially as three Hercules had been lost on operations recently. "

That'd be a good start.

I wonder if they could lease a few extra C17s and C130s for the medium term - Boeing would be glad to add a couple more GlobeMasters to the line and they could then be sold onto that cargo company that was looking at buying some C17s a while back.

Comment

Clearly they can increase the A400M order, which would be a good idea, as would more C130J/C17. However this would all take time. Whilst they have 9 L1011, there is also the recently retired ATA fleet, which could be adquired PDQ. There is also the stored SV fleet, which have been in desert storage for some time, but have relatively low hours and have the advantage of being to a common standard. I am aware of the issue about RB211-22B engines, however we would probably have to do the majors in house. After all how many people will major an RR Conway now.

Ultimately "we" politicians and public need to decide what we want to acheive in the world and fund it.

Perhaps, this means accepting that our world role is over.

David


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2226 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 4):
Another quick and easy boost, would be to lease two white tail A330's, R/R powered, to the RAF for general trooping/cargo.
A nice precursor to the tanking force to come, so also a valuable training aid, fit military comms and self defence gear, but otherwise be unmodified.
When the main A330 tanker force starts to arrive, then buy these two outright, then they can carry on doing some non tanking airlift, VIP, training, often saving the more dedicated tankers for ops where they are essential.

Actually, what you are suggesting for these A-330s is a replacement aircraft for the Tristar Mk 2s (the non tanker L-1011s). That is a good idea, but you would need to go one for one, at least. Order 4-6 A-330s. The current tanker and non tanker RAF Tristar fleet is heaverily used, and fully in demand. Perhaps they may even be over taxed in L-1011 utilization rates?

IIRC, it is the 216 Squadron that flys all RAF Tristar missions.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13218 posts, RR: 77
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2199 times:

Good point KC-135, myself, I would like to see the Tristar fleet run on longer.
Just replace VC-10's with the 14 A330 tankers.
When the RAF got the BA L1011-500's, they were young but with relatively few hrs/cycles even for their years, (I saw them enough, sitting on the ramp, in interim RAF markings, pre conversion, when I first started at BA).

Then when 787's and later, A350XWB's, arrive in large numbers with the airlines, they'll be a load of still not that old A330-200's knocking about and an established A330F programme, why not buy up some then, convert to A330F standard but with refuelling gear too? Then replace the L1011's with them?
Or, as an alternative used aircraft, a tanker A340-600 conversion, or would spare A340-500's be more suitable?
I'm thinking 8-9 years ahead, past the spending peaks for CVF, maybe for F-35B and well past any Typhoon heavy spending.

The biggest RAF spending then will be on replacing the Tornado GR.4's.
Easy I think, a couple of Sqns of Typhoon Trache 3's (with the upper fuselage conformal tanks as well as other later improvements), and add on enough F-35C's to the F-35B buy, for a couple of Sqns too.
The rest, well we are into UCAVS by then, surely (certainly in the GR.4A recce role).


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2139 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
Then when 787's and later, A350XWB's, arrive in large numbers with the airlines, they'll be a load of still not that old A330-200's knocking about and an established A330F programme, why not buy up some then, convert to A330F standard but with refuelling gear too? Then replace the L1011's with them?
Or, as an alternative used aircraft, a tanker A340-600 conversion, or would spare A340-500's be more suitable?
I'm thinking 8-9 years ahead, past the spending peaks for CVF, maybe for F-35B and well past any Typhoon heavy spending.

That is a good idea for the RAF. For your alternative tanker, I'd suggest the A-340-500, it carries more fuel and is smaller than the A-340-600.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13218 posts, RR: 77
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2116 times:

Yes, I was thinking more A340-500 really, if those not in airline service by then have not been snapped up as flying palaces!

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