But is anyone suggesting that 16 hours a month is inadequate? Surely the pilots who fly with the Red Arrows only do so for a couple or three years, then they take their expertise back to the wider Crab community.
Thos may be of interest, an article that says the F-22 Raptor is pants (it is written by an F-16 designer) but also stresses Pilot training and ability as major factors in combat. 16 hrs doesn't give you much training or ability. Well worth a read.
Hang on a second, if the Red Arrows are flying 132 hours per month and assuming they only fly on weekdays that's 6 hours a day airbourne every day, no matter what the weather. I don't believe that for a second - they'd be absolutely shattered and the aircraft would be falling to pieces through lack of maintenence.
More likely this is yet another talentless hack who can't tell the difference between the amount of flying training the Red Arrows get before a display season (for which 132 hours is entirely plausible - equivalent to 8 months normal training) and the amount of hours per month for frontline aircrew.
I accept the comparison with Household Brigade and Public Duties, it's a bit rich that a prime inf bn is stuck marching up and down Horse Guards and polishing things when they could be doing an extra tour in the sandpit to take the pressure off the rest a bit.
However, I'm not convinced by the claims for training value here. I've no knowledge of air ops at all, but what do the pilots do at airshows that transfers to operations?
Close formation: do pilots fly that close on a mission? Won't this risk a single AD missile or AAA detonation downing more than one a/c?
Navigation: airshows take place at big F/O airfields, which aren't too hard to find visually, which are well lit up electronically and will have the approaches well rehearsed before the event.
Low level flying: This is part of the normal training routine, surely? Again, the approaches to a show are well rehearsed, detracting from the realism. Ditto high-G manoeuvring.
They're not engaging in air-to-air combat, dropping ordinance or flying with weapons loads, so how closely can it approximate combat flying?
And doesn't aircraft type make a difference? I thought the reason why the Red Arrows used Hawk was because it was nippier than the other in-service types, even if didn't have the legs for operational requirements. How can they recreate the manoeuvres of display flying in a heavier, less agile aircraft? By this logic, a Guards battalion should come off of Trooping the Colour perfectly prepared for general warfighting.
Yes, I agree we need infantry battalions to be concentrated on our main effort. By the same token, we should be focussing the efforts of all our services on it and not waste time and effort on ineffective uses, regardless of how good the photos might be.
This may not be quite the news you think it is. To understand this you have to start from a baseline of how many hours a Harrier pilot, for example, would normally fly. I understand that a Gr7/9 pilot would normally fly 20 hours per month amounting to 200 hours per year. I am also sure that thosepilots about to deploy on operations probably get a larger slice of the available hours. After all, that is how anyone sensible would prioritise resources.
Secondly, the Reds pilots are all at least second tour fast jet mates. Getting selected for the Red Arrows is highly competitive but inevitably leads to a highly competent and experienced pilot by the end of his tour. For those pilots who stay in they will often return to frontline Sqn or instruct at a training establishment. Either way, their experience and abilities can raise the standards of their more junior colleagues they instruct or work with.
While 16 hours per month may not sound much compared to 132, it isn't exactly a straight comparison. I am sure that pilots being sent on ops are still fairly competent and well prepared for role.
PDF27 is spot on reference the flying hours being bollox. The Reds plan 6 slots per dayof approx 30 mins duration.
Each slot is not filled by every pilot for example:
Slot 1: Red 1 with the new boys on formation trg
Slot 2: Syncro pair trying to kill each other
Slot 3: Red 1 with the new boys on formation trg
Slot 4: Syncro chaps at it again
etc etc. 132 hours my arse.
As the winter training progresses, the slots eventually end up as full displays & drop down to perhaps 3 per day.
I tried to get in & came close but left without the cigar! Trying again next year. The criteria laid down for potential applicants is straight forward. As long as you are assessed as 'above average' the, you can apply. The Harrier force always seems to have a majority on the team & the force does well out of it. The guys that come back do so as superb pilots. That in itself justifies the (relatively low) cost IMHO.
The hours are significantly more than those on offer at a front line unit however, having flown with the lads, I can see why! It is absolutely incredible & requires 100 % at all times.
On a typical Fast Jet trip, the busiest part is the 1 minute leading up to the attack & getting off target, it's very busy & requires absolute concentration due to the pressure of the workload. The Reds have to concentrate at that level for 20 minutes, the duration of the display.
Come the end of the season, they are all fooked, completely.
I always stick up for the RAF,i dont think your average arrse poster has a clue about how the RAF operate. Notice i said ARRSE poster and not soldier,there is a difference. Anyway the Reds are awsome and the envy of the world.I used to be in them you know, but that is another story.