Quite possibly true, but a health warning.
The Daily Telegraph is no tabloid, but in recent years, it has gained a reputation for poor defence reporting, even by the dismal standards of the British press.
Last year, a large chunk of the Royal Navy was to be mothballed, but in truth, only the decommissioned carrier HMS Invincible
was, or already had been.
There was no way Gordon Brown was ever, as Prime Minister, going to approve the CVF
carriers, but he did.
What they do, is get hold of leaked position papers from the MoD, which outline scenarios within various budgets, (before they know how the spending cake is to be sliced).
Then only print the very worst case ones, which assumes it seems a significant drop in spending.
The government gets in trouble for announcing new initiatives twice, some time apart, the Telegraph does the same with it's previous stories, even if they've not actually come to pass.
The report is true that the RAF is overstretched, but it seems to have vastly over-simplified the effects of the Saudi deal (forgetting to mention that this order helps bring the price of the aircraft down).
The linking of a possibility
that some Tornado F.3 units might
run on a bit longer, with what they claim is a cut in 'bombers' seems a bit of a stretch to me.
The report does not mention that nos.11, then no.6 Sqn, are working up to Typhoon, that Typhoon will be operationally deployed to Afghanistan next year, and replace the Tornados in the Falklands, I guess because that would detract from the image the report is trying to project.
But the big giveaway is the response from 'furious Tory MP
's', oh really?
It has long been said that the Telegraph was the in house paper of the Tory party. Of the old blimpish kind,
Going through various forums where UK service personnel post, there is no shortage of anger and concern about various defence issues, but there is also a lot a disdain for the Telegraph too.
There is uncertainty over the future size and shape of manned
RAF strike aircraft in the future, because what will replace Tornado GR
.4 is unclear, many could be replaced by a Tranche 3 buy of Typhoons, the balance later with a UCAV. Or maybe concentrate more on UCAV's, (where after seemingly being asleep on this subject for years, the MoD has more than woken up about more recently).
Almost certain I think that the more recce assigned GR
.4 units, 2 and 13 Sqns, will be eventually replaced with a unmanned system.
My own view is that having all the years money and effort spent on it, the UK should order the full 232 Typhoons, with upper fuselage conformal tanks and if need be, twin seaters, replacing a chunk of the GR
Or maybe, top up the F-35B buy, with some F-35C's for the RAF (longer range than a F-35A, also with a RAF compatible air to air refuelling