DO WE NEED AN AIRBORNE TASK FORCE?

#4
The-Goose said:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=YLJNQK5MFNM1HQFIQMFCFF4AVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2008/01/29/nparas129.xml

Looks as if someone has raised the issue. Will this effect jump pay?
This may affect a lot more. I'm prepared for a lot of flak here for even suggesting it, but there are some in the MOD who may think that they now have the excuse to scrap the requirement for all Para's to actually be jump qualified. It's not something I'm in favour of, but given the way that HMG thinks, it's a possibility.
 
#5
Just how much more ARSSSSSSSSSSSE time is going to be wasted bring up this pointless "debate" for the umpteenth bloody occassion :x

Its been dug up more times than a Dr. Shipman victim.
 
#7
Saw this in the paper today - a sad state of affairs to have to suspend the ATF. A logical move given the forth coming Para deployments but it sets a bad sign/ president all around. What next the same for 3 Cdo Bde and their amphibious role (we could then scrap the whole New Navy builds etc)? Extreme I know but who would have thought this a few years ago? I understand we are now dependant on an Inf Bn sized - a Small Scale Intervention Force - well it does not get much smaller, except to take it section or fire team level level.

Issue I see is the deterrent factor and loss of flexibility to react. All useless for the next 12 months. Add to that everyone on the world stage knows it as well (lets hope the Argies and everyone else did not hear of it). Some ask do we need Nuclear weapons? the deterrent effect is still key on the world stage - same with the ATF. It offers flexibilty to react at speed and distance (72 hours in the case of Sierra Leone) - now sadly in effective. Of course it also highlights overstretch and break in harmony once more. All of which will cause uproar in some quarters and apply pressure on the MOD/Government.

Guess time will tell - but then it doesn't bode well for bringing it back - once gone harder to recover - I hope I am wrong and wait to be proved to the contrary next year and keep fingers crossed for the ATF. Suspended then gone over the space of 12 months very easily phased out under such circumstances and with little publicity to boot

Cheers
 
#8
A good post Baz, I feel much the same way. Many are quick to question the need for the UK to retain such capabilities 'in the current environment' or 'in today's world' or other 'clever' phrase. :x They are united in their disregard for both historical precedent and the uncertainties of the future. Some claim to know what the future holds "We won't fight wars like this in the future..." and other tosh is bounded around to justify the latest cuts or'adjustments. If the future was reliably predicted in the aftermath of the Cold War then we would have retained a larger force all round, had more attrition replacements ready, larger fleets to spread fatigue with equipment suitably modified for desert ops, stockpiles of desert kit, ammunition etc. What really happened? We made assumptions that proved to be wrong, flogged off kit, reduced stockpiles and trained strength and got shafted.

We may not use a capability for years but it is there, as Baz says, as a deterrant. If the deterrant fails then the array of capabilities keeps options open for commanders to chose the most effective (read lowest casualties) for a task and also keeps the enemy guessing. Thus, although the Paras may not drop on the day (and thus are not seen to 'do any work'), the enemy's forces have been divided - guarding against this eventuality. Likewise they may have been worried by the Booties threatening their coastline - divided again.

The ability to divide and fix (maybe not the accurate description of this effect but close enough) the enemy in this way can save us casualties even without employing, say, the Paras directly in the action and ensures too that we retain the ability to surprise. Of course, to be an effective deterrant the force providing the capability must be stood up, trained and kept at readiness - it must be seen to be combat ready... reducing the number of training drops may not suddenly remove the capability but it is a slippery slope and one difficult to reverse - it should not be allowed to happen. :evil:

To me this is a situation seen across the forces in one form or another, it's just that the Paras are more in the public eye and the stats for number of jumps are easier illustrate to Joe Public. I am certain that many other areas of capability have suffered due to the lack of time available for suitable training between tours.
 
#9
Those proposing any large-scale parachute operation will have to provide pretty good answers to at least two questions:

How will you resupply the blokes?

And

How will you get them out again?

As soon as you start to think about these questions you immediately realise that what you really need is an airhead. For a small operation it could just be somewhere to land helos - and if you could land helos for resupply and extraction, presumably you could land them for insertion too. Anything much above company group scale would require somewhere to land Hercules.

I conclude that the only viable UK parachute operation is one to seize an airstrip that either requires a larger force than can be carried in the available SH or is beyond their radius of action from the nearest friendly airbase.

I beg leave to doubt whther a high priority should be given to such contingencies. Most of the money currently spent on parachuting would be better spent on expanding the SH force and keeping the RN/RM amphibious capability in good order.
 
#10
More to the point, once they lob in and require sustainment, how do you propose to provide the airsupport to Iraq and Afghanistan? We're stretched to the absolute limit, and taking on a commitment of this nature is simply beyond what we can do with current commitments.
 
#12
Who is this bollox. It is totally unthinkable that the finest fighting force in the world has to have its wings clipped- literally.
Absurd that costs have to drive this.
 
#13
Ive got a spanner in my tool box and Ive only used it once, it cost a bit and it takes up a bit of space, but by feck it did the job. Short, sharp, twist, open, fixed, and put away again. I couldve used another spanner but it wasnt quite up to manufacturers specifications. Ive not used it it in a long long time. So long that theyve stopped making it. Ive thought about getting rid of it many times, but I know that as soon as I get rid of it Ill fecking need it again. Then it will be to late.

Dave
 
#14
Vasco said:
Those proposing any large-scale parachute operation will have to provide pretty good answers to at least two questions:

How will you resupply the blokes?


And

How will you get them out again?

As soon as you start to think about these questions you immediately realise that what you really need is an airhead. For a small operation it could just be somewhere to land helos - and if you could land helos for resupply and extraction, presumably you could land them for insertion too. Anything much above company group scale would require somewhere to land Hercules.

I conclude that the only viable UK parachute operation is one to seize an airstrip that either requires a larger force than can be carried in the available SH or is beyond their radius of action from the nearest friendly airbase.

I beg leave to doubt whther a high priority should be given to such contingencies. Most of the money currently spent on parachuting would be better spent on expanding the SH force and keeping the RN/RM amphibious capability in good order.
From MOD website

47 Air Despatch
Air Despatch may be defined as the aerial supply or resupply of a ground or sea borne force. In addition to supporting 16 Air Assault Brigade, the Squadron may find itself working alongside personnel from 3 Commando Brigade, Special Forces and also providing support to ships at sea.

The main mode of transport used to complete the Squadron's tasking is the Lockheed C-130 Hercules Aircraft. The Squadron is, however able to utilize a large variety of other fixed and rotary winged aircraft. Loads are despatched manually or automatically from an aircraft in flight on to a designated Drop Zone (DZ) either by parachute, or by dropping less fragile loads without parachute at low level. In support to Special Forces elements, crews from the Squadron will normally operate well ahead of the main force, if not behind enemy lines.
 
#16
I can remember the Air drop in Afghanistan summer 06, 47 had clear instructions but gave all the Ammo, Food and water to Terry! I have video proof aswell if you want to contest it! We ended up drinking river water and living on next to F all.
 
#17
Canada got rid of her Airborne Regiment, France, Italy Poland Germany and the Russkis still maintain Airborne formations. As a nation we should keep our Airborne capability intact. Anyone who has not read 3 Para should, it is a good example of why we should have a ATF.
 
#18
blobmeister said:
I can remember the Air drop in Afghanistan summer 06, 47 had clear instructions but gave all the Ammo, Food and water to Terry! I have video proof aswell if you want to contest it! We ended up drinking river water and living on next to F all.
So 47AD decide where the load is dropped then,or would that be the RAF?
 
#19
I guess it's easy to get defensive about whatever is special to you, way beyond what objectivity would dictate. So I'll hold that thought while venturing my tuppence-worth ... which is that even the least brave and most insignificant crows ever to attend P Coy and make the grade as Paras may have been hardened, honed and tempered by the experience, improving them as men and soldiers in ways among which their willingness to fall out of perfectly serviceable aircraft is actually a secondary issue.

Maybe we'll never need large-scale jump capability ever again. But every day, even after 15 years on civvy street, I see evidence that we need the kind of men who could do it.

That may contain a tiny bit of Parachauvinism, but I believe our army maintains excellence through the coordinated teamwork of every essential component, from cooks and armourers to medics and scalies, and to maintain excellence in the system you need the right amount of everything - including some soldiers who have been trained, tested and sharpened to an exceptional level.

(A thread about Goose Green has been running recently which illustrates the point rather well.)

So I tend to agree with SKJOLD and the expensive, excellent spanner in his toolbox: "Ive thought about getting rid of it many times, but I know that as soon as I get rid of it Ill fecking need it again. Then it will be to late."

To throw away our airborne capability is to wantonly throw away the flexibility to deploy a powerful tool. Just because you lack imagination, or prefer to pi$$ away billions propping up a corrupted banking system, isn't good enough reason.

Remember back in February 1982 some Gobment tossers were busy destroying our armed forces? They lacked imagination too.
 
#20
Parachuting is the great leveller,for all airborne forces.It is still dangerous-guys get killed in training and on exercise.It is the lowest common denominator for Airborne personnel.While the RAF have not been able to drop more than a battalion,in one hit on a DZ,for some time,does that mean that the capability should not exist? NO!!
 

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