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Does the RAF regiment have a future?

Last time I looked, we have a few operations ongoing that are precisely that and the 3rd Shock Army is a mere footnote in history. Baring a war of UK national survival and I'll happily wager that there won't be one in my lifetime, being part of a risk and loss averse nation is a fundamental part of our operating conditions and that includes anything that we may do on behalf of the East Europeans.
I respectfully disagree, as does almost all high level Defence policy.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
The SRDG are the RAF's expeditionary insurance policy; its very own sovereign FP capability. Until such time the RAF no longer requires DOBs & FOBs, the more sensible of the Two Wing Master-race, will seek to retain it as an entity.

I would argue it (SRDG) needs trimming, as historically it sits IRO 10% of RAF manpower and is bloated atm. Specialist capability (JTAC) is great when not encroached by other Services, but that opportunity comes and goes (see SHORAD, CBRN, Light Armour, etc). The key issue for the RAF is to retain its ability to deploy its aircraft and pers as risk free as possible. The SRDG also do a job of keeping the RAF CS & CSS v vaguely martial.

Are they barrier monkeys? No. Are they 'specialist' LI? Probably. I say there is still life in the mangy monkeys' yet. ;)

P1ss taking aside, my experience of the RAF Regiment in Iraq was all good on the few occasions I worked with them but I would describe them more as 'specialist FP with a twist of light role RAC' rather than as 'specialist LI'.
 
Churchill was right.

At a time where airborne or even glider-borne assault of a defended high value position such as an airfield or Belgian fortress was a legitimate tactic, yeah he was all over it.

Seriously, if UK PLC wants x-number of JPANs dedicated to airfield defence, why in contemporary operating times, should the Army not just have them all?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Seriously, if UK PLC wants x-number of JPANs dedicated to airfield defence, why in contemporary operating times, should the Army not just have them all?
The argument in the past has been that the army will take them away for something army ish at the wrong moment. Whilst this is understandable (The fear) the fact is that even if we had a single defence force there would still be rivalry and petty jealousy pervading the decision making.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
The answer is of course to leave airfield defence in the hands of the RAF, they could ask the apes to be a bit more humble but I suppose even stagging on loses its shine after a while.
 
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At a time where airborne or even glider-borne assault of a defended high value position such as an airfield or Belgian fortress was a legitimate tactic, yeah he was all over it.

Seriously, if UK PLC wants x-number of JPANs dedicated to airfield defence, why in contemporary operating times, should the Army not just have them all?
The RAF will say that they RAF Regiment are air minded and as they are owned by Air will deliver Air's intent. Plenty of examples of the Army providing FP for RAF assets and reducing levels of equipment, manning levels, changing the scope of FP ops away from the RAFs priorities and ignoring the non-kinetic / business continuity aspects of FP. That said scaling the RAF Regiment (down) to a realistic ORBAT could result in a hugely inefficient overhead to command, train and maintain them, which may be the final argument. Outsource DCC and MCC training to the Army and integrate them with the RAFP and other base business continuity parts of the RAF ecosystem.
 
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The answer is of course to leave airfield defence in the hands of the RAF, they could ask the apes to be a bit more humble but I suppose even staging on loses its shine after a while.
There is some interesting psychology at work here. It's a gash job that no-one in their right mind would want to do, but convince everyone in RAF FP that they are on the cusp of being SF operators and they all buy it. The RAF Regiment referring to their gunners as 'operators' in some recent Twitter posts is a case in point.
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
The RAF will say that they RAF Regiment are air minded and as they are owned by Air will deliver Air's intent.

There's precedent.

The RAF Regiment Airfield Construction Branch was disbanded in 1965, and its role and functions transferred to the RE (specifically 39 (Airfields) Regt at Waterbeach.)

The opportunity was given for personnel to either re-muster to other trades in the RAF Regiment, or transfer to the Army within the equivalent trades in 39. It all went quite smoothly.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
There is some interesting psychology at work here. It's a gash job that no-one in their right mind would want to do, but convince everyone in RAF FP that they are on the cusp of being SF operators and they all buy it. The RAF Regiment referring to their gunners as 'operators' in some recent Twitter posts is a case in point.

It's the same trick the USAF SF use. Give them all crye and make them feel good, and somehow they don't notice they're in one of the single most boring military branches. The RAF Reg did have some crunchy times on MERT but that's definitely an exception.

It'll be interesting to see if the RAF Reg bid for the JPR capability comes off.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Reminds me of the nbc tasking when they brainwashed the RTR lads so they would parrot the instructors line that this is a job nobody else can do!
Reality is nobody else wants it and would rather stag on than live in a noddy suit.
 

Rheinstorff

Old-Salt
Reminds me of the nbc tasking when they brainwashed the RTR lads so they would parrot the instructors line that this is a job nobody else can do!
Reality is nobody else wants it and would rather stag on than live in a noddy suit.

Is that why the Royal Engineers have taken over the CBRN role from the RAF Regt then?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Is that why the Royal Engineers have taken over the CBRN role from the RAF Regt then?
I’ve no idea who is doing it as long as it’s not me!

it used to be a special thing in RE EOD years ago, enough to put me off
 
Is that why the Royal Engineers have taken over the CBRN role from the RAF Regt then?
Which the Royal Airforce Regiment took off the RTR.
 

Rheinstorff

Old-Salt
There's precedent.

The RAF Regiment Airfield Construction Branch was disbanded in 1965, and its role and functions transferred to the RE (specifically 39 (Airfields) Regt at Waterbeach.)

The opportunity was given for personnel to either re-muster to other trades in the RAF Regiment, or transfer to the Army within the equivalent trades in 39. It all went quite smoothly.

It wasn't an RAF Regt Airfield Construction Branch, it was RAF engineers
Which the Royal Airforce Regiment took off the RTR.

Not quite. The RTR relinquished its part in delivering the role, leaving the RAF Regt to pick up the whole task. It was a bit like when the RAF Regt relinquished Rapier leaving the RA to the task. Of course, all of this is directed by MOD and the regiments concerned have practically no say in what happens.
 

Alamo

LE
Seriously, if UK PLC wants x-number of JPANs dedicated to airfield defence, why in contemporary operating times, should the Army not just have them all?
Because, if you stopped to think about it, it’s a whole lot more than JPANs for airfield defence. For someone who claims to know what’s happening on the streets in Air I’m surprised you don’t get that.
 
Because, if you stopped to think about it, it’s a whole lot more than JPANs for airfield defence. For someone who claims to know what’s happening on the streets in Air I’m surprised you don’t get that.

Ha 'And much much more'... it's like an advert for a village fete. Yeah I know they have expanded into a load of niche stuff outside the core role. Hence the JTAC chat earlier in the thread.

I've already said above I reckon 6 Field Sqns is on face value, about right. That's in an ideal world, sans COVID and resulting economic crash, coupled with absolute 0% desire for boots on the ground in any numbers that would require a defended DOB.

As a result, if and when the lollipop of Field Sqns reduces, the self-licking mechanism that is Honington becomes a much less viable prospect in terms of scale of economy. That's the point at which you could say to some poor benighted inf bde commander 'here's an extra Coy+, you are to hold them at readiness purely for airfield defence.'
 

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