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KennyK
Topic Author
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:08 am

RAF Airlift Shortfall

Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:07 am

Flight International are reporting what has been known for a few years now that the RAF is currently short of strategic airlift and will be short of tactical airlifters in the early part of the next decade.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...strategic-transport-shortfall.html

The RAF is currently short of strategic airlift despite having six C-17s and the airbridge to the Iraq and Afghan theatres is stretched due to having to rely on old VC-10s and Tristars, this wont be helped until the FSTA A330 enters service in 2011.

Bearing in mind the lead time to acquire 2 more C-17s, at best they would not arrive until the end of 2009 by which time the UK forces in Iraq may well be much smaller than at present, if the politicians get their wish, so the added requirement may go away. As an order would be a political decision I'm not sure an order would be placed, it could go either way. I would not be surprised if the UK chartered more airlift in the meantime.

As for tactical airlift, the UK is one C130J down and the remaining C130K fleet is very very old and tired and there are doubts over the A400 delivery timetable. Deliveries are more likely to be delayed, putting pressure on the existing tactical airlifters. The C-17 will not help here as it is not used at present as tactical airlifter and I doubt it ever will.

I think the UK will just muddle through with the smallest possible extra investment. The economy is looking like it will go into recession so the defence budget will be squeezed tighter than ever. I think a few refurbished C130Ks and chartered airlift is the way it will go with hopes of a reduced commitment.
 
TheSonntag
Posts: 4544
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:23 pm

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:15 pm

Not good, but the same also applies to other countries like Germany, whose C-160s are getting old, as well. Airbus better gets the A400M going...
 
ebj1248650
Posts: 1517
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:17 am

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:29 am



Quoting KennyK (Thread starter):
As for tactical airlift, the UK is one C130J down and the remaining C130K fleet is very very old and tired and there are doubts over the A400 delivery timetable. Deliveries are more likely to be delayed, putting pressure on the existing tactical airlifters. The C-17 will not help here as it is not used at present as tactical airlifter and I doubt it ever will.

Doesn't it make sense the RAF would gain by ordering more C130J's to replace the C-130K's? Sure, it's not the A400M, but it'll be available quicker and there's no doubt the RAF would find good use for them for years to come. And if there's that much of a shortfall and the fear that the current C-17s are being used too much, why not go ahead and order more C-17s and spread the utilization over more airplanes.
 
GDB
Posts: 14399
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:18 am

They only near term ways I could see it being improved, are by perhaps finding an agreement with LM and the affected other party, to grab a batch of C-130J's on the line, for diversion to the RAF. The customers for these aircraft agreeing to a later delivery of frames further down the line.
This would avoid a lot of the mods needed if a completed airframe(s) were taken up for RAF service.
There is some recent precedent, the ex Danish EH-101's, (which they could not yet operate), brought for the RAF to supplement another hard worked fleet. The Danes getting replacement ones from additional production.

More practical and addressing a specific need much discussed in the press, is to acquire, quickly, some current A330-200's with R/R engines. (With the downturn in the airline industry coming this might be very possible).
They would not be converted to tankers, at least yet, rather they'd get a RAF style seating/cabin arrangement and fitment of IRCM and military comms gear.
These airframes would be retained long term, at first they'd also contribute to training for the planned A330 tankers on order. After which they'd operate as RAF transports, the option for tanker conversion would be there but not for the near term.

Order two more C-17's while it's still in full production, as well as increasing the RAF order for A400M's to beyond the planned 25.

To spending, I think NATO should replicate what the organisation did 30 years ago, agree a minimum level of spending by NATO members. I doubt you'd get a level above 2.5% GDP but that would increase markedly spending for many members.

For the UK, up the level from the 2.7-2.8% level, to 3% at the next three year spending round.
This would in part be financed before (and after) the next spending round, by cancelling the planned ID card scheme. Increasingly unpopular, (with yet another scandal of government personal data being lost just this morning), technically a nightmare with zero public confidence in this respect of it.
Prior to the 2010-2012 spending round, cancelling this scheme would release several hundred million £ to the MoD.

But with a newly aggressive Russia, along with the current heavy commitments, there should be no major political objection to raising spending. The UK maintained higher levels of defence spending through the Cold War, often, in fact mostly, in much poorer economic conditions than now or likely in the near future.

Within the defence budget, cancel the slow, rather confused and expensive FRES programme.
This is to provide a replacement for many Army vehicles, particularly the CVR(T) series of the 1970's.
It is getting hard to choose a vehicle that can meet the requirements and still fit into a C-130J as well.

I note that in the last few years, the 1960's vintage FV432 vehicles, mainly replaced in the APC role by the Warrior, have been upgraded to meet the need for additional heavily protected vehicles shown up by Iraq in particular.
These vehicles got new engines, transmissions, upgraded armour, all the gadgetry such as comms and sights etc, making an effectively new vehicle quickly and cheaply, on budget and time, if not better.

Do the same for the CVR(T) vehicles in place of the upper (and expensive) end of the FRES requirement.
The Sabre light tank/recce vehicles would need a new turret with new weaponry and equipment, since the Warrior APC's are to get the same, merge the two.
With the range of CVR(T) vehicles covering light APC's, recce, engineering, ambulance, command vehicles, upgrading these in a similar manner to the FV432 will be a lot cheaper, quicker than FRES and best of these, these vehicles can already be transported in C-130's!

[Edited 2008-09-07 01:32:52]
 
bennett123
Posts: 10869
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:49 am

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:06 pm

They could boost the Tristar fleet by buying up the ATA fleet, (which had recent D Checks)
 
scouseflyer
Posts: 2193
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:02 pm

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:27 am

Would it be possible for them to lease a few extra C130Js until the A400Ms start arriving?
 
gsosbee
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 8:40 am

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:47 pm



Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 5):
Would it be possible for them to lease a few extra C130Js until the A400Ms start arriving?

In theory, I guess so, but who knows when the A400M will be in service. This impacts the financing - miss short and you will pay a higher rate then extensions. Miss long and you will be paying for something you don't need.
 
Ant72LBA
Posts: 378
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 7:42 am

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:45 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 3):
More practical and addressing a specific need much discussed in the press, is to acquire, quickly, some current A330-200's with R/R engines. (With the downturn in the airline industry coming this might be very possible).

XL have three A332s due in early 2009 (not sure if they are RR powered) - seen at least one comment on the MAN News thread in civil aviation that they may not survive the winter.

quote:

Quoting Speedbird19 (Reply 108):
When XL take delivery of their A330s

If they take them more like. I wouldn't be surprised if XL didn't make it to the end of September, they are on extremely dodgy legs. All staff have already been told not to take out any mortgages or loans.
 
KennyK
Topic Author
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:08 am

RE: RAF Airlift Shortfall

Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:05 pm

Taking a couple of A330s on lease for a couple of years would be a very good idea to help with airlift and to gain some limited experience prior to the FSTA A330 coming into service. I think purchasing an additional batch of 5 or so C130Js would be a good idea too.

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