Do possible RAF cuts mean we won't have enough planes to deploy the Paras from 2012?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jim30, Aug 9, 2010.

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  1. Looking at the various 'inspired' leaks that are filling the newspapers at the moment, it seems a fairly ‘certain’ bet, that one option to be put forward is to delete the C130J towards the end of the decade, and run on with the A400M buy as the sole tactical transport. This will leave us with a fleet of approximately 20-24 tactical airlift airframes from 2012, when the C130K hits OSD and we only have the J’s left in service. (Plus 7 C17s, which I don't believe we use for parachute work?)

    Now, working from the assumption that I have no knowledge on requirements for aviation when it comes to paratroops, my question is this: Will 22 airframes from 2012 allow the UK to retain a 2 Bn plus supporting elements airlift capability to conduct parachute drops? (Or is it just one of the three Para Bns air roled at present?) From my perspective, airframes will be like gold dust soon, and with only 24 J’s left, and assuming 25% in refit or U/S, plus one in FI, plus a small training margin (3 frames?), I think the UK will only have 14 Hercules available for operations at any one time.

    Given this, does this impending cut in transport aircraft mean that the UK has effectively decided to abandon maintaining a the ability to deliver a large military parachute force by stealth, or will there still be enough airframes to ‘do the job’ if required? From where I’m sitting it feels as if the RAF have managed to kill off the Parachute regiments raison d’etre without so much as a whisper from the army?

    This isn't about the value of the Parachute Regiment (thats been done to death), this is about whether we've ended up having their hand forced to be taken out of role by cuts to the RAF.
  2. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Disgraceful! Next thing you know they'll stop producing Lances for the Lancers, and we'll run out of Fusils for the Fusiliers.

    The days of even thinking about deploying a force of anything more than a few dozen by airdrop has surely long gone. If it takes a removal of Hercules to show this to be reality, then so be it. It would also save Defence a few bob from the removal of Jump Pay for a couple of thousand people each year - double win!
  3. you know what,i would not be surprised if no one at MOD has worked that one out yet,best tell them,and NO i'm not joking about me saying that.
  4. Parachuting ended as a viable means of getting boots on the ground when they invented the shoulder launched SAM
  5. Best you ask 173rd Airborne Brigade, US Army, about that.....

  6. [​IMG]
  7. Well to be fair the planned paradrops even up to the 1980s had such a SEAD screen in the plans I have seen as to make them partially viable (if viable means caputring as many soviet forward airheads as possible to allow more tactical nuke carriers to penetrate into the Warsaw Pact hubs to set off a global nuclear war then woo?).
  8. Ref the 173 Parachute Infantry and post MANPAD jumps:

    On March 26, 2003, 954 soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, commanded by Colonel William C. Mayville, conducted a combat jump from C-130[63] and C-17 aircraft[58] onto Bashur Airfield in Northern Iraq,[2][64] in an assault known as Operation Northern Delay. The jump took a total of 58 seconds, though 32 paratroopers were unable to jump because they would have landed too far from the rest of the force.[65] The force had been strung out over a 10,000-yard drop zone, and it took 15 hours before it was completely assembled.

    A jump that could have been achieved by TALO. But done to justify the Jump capability. 15 hours to reorg on the DZ just as well the enemy were not playing.

    IIRC our own tried to get parachutes into Kuwait for a drop in 2003 but were told to calm down due to lack of Herc's.
  9. I never said it was an utter success; merely that it had been done.
  10. The 82nd airborne maintains the ability to parachute any where in the world within something like 72 hours or something. The rapid deployment ability is still an asset to them
  11. IIRC the chutes and a/c were there, it was a lack of brass balls at the right level to give the green light. The dithering was kept up until the objective was overrun by USMC on the ground.

    I think its a perfectly valid and usable capability that should be retained, however I doubt we'll ever have a CoC that would use it....
  12. i think the days of combat drops are fast dying if not dead
  13. 4(T) you are correct the chutes were packed into an ISO and 'accidentally' appeared in the middle east, although the Reg CoC had been briefed before leaving UK that there was not enough air lift to support troops in theatre/airbridge and an air drop. So they bought them anyway as Jacko was the Big Man and they felt he would turn a blind eye to any Marron activities. IIRC it took a personnel intervention from PJHQ Ops and the man in charge of the operation to point out that no where in the Op Order was there a plan for a jump, plus if resistance was met there was not any CASEVAC chain that would come to aid.

    Now they may have landed killed all the bad guys or had no resistance but looking at the 15 hour reorg of 173 in a relatively benign environment, a unneeded and unplanned bar the Reg Ops Office jump could have ended the lives of a lot of Paras and really called into question the relevance of the jumping into modern warfare.

    So more a case of a unneeded, unplanned jump being stopped may have saved the Regt as opposed to no balls at a higher level.
  14. If we abandon the para role then as sure as night follows day, murphy's law will come into play and an op with the best plan being a para drop will be unavailable. Whlst correctly focusing on the prensent operations, only a fool [government] would not plan for the unforseeable long term evetuality. If I was still jumping and it was binned then I would seriously think about leaving and joining a force that still had that role. [Aust / US.... whoever......