End of RAF EOD

#1
Put this here as it seems to tie in with the RAF to lose SAR.

The RAF EOD unit is to close by 2020 and the Army will take over its current responsibilities.

RAF EOD Closure
 
#2
I was told this a few weeks ago and hoped it was the frequent duty rumour, but this seems to confirm it.

I wonder if the RAF will now struggle to recruit into the Armourer trade, I believe they were once an air trade and all that entails, but are now a ground trade.
 
#3
The savings on dry cleaning bomb suits will be awesome..
 
#4
It's a terrific waste of very expensive skills. It would be nice if an option was available for those interested and suitable to transfer over.
 
#6
Strangely it will now free up a location for Nottingham Troop when Chilwell closes, but I’m sure that had nothing to do with the decision.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#7
RAF EOD has been fading out for a long time. The Defence EOD operator initiative pretty much sealed their fate.
 
#8
It's a terrific waste of very expensive skills. It would be nice if an option was available for those interested and suitable to transfer over.
That was tried in the mid 1960s with the Airfield Construction Branch, which had an incredible history. Technicians were transferred across to RE; most left and those that remained continued to wear RAF badges on their Army uniform, and saw out their time.
 
#9
Put this here as it seems to tie in with the RAF to lose SAR.

The RAF EOD unit is to close by 2020 and the Army will take over its current responsibilities.

RAF EOD Closure
I encountered them once about 12 years ago, when I was overseeing the delivery of SLAM JRSLA. The contractors on one site found some SAA and promptly down-tools (part of the deal was they accepted the likelihood of UXO and developed safe systems of work; when they did find some, it was 'not me Guv'). 5131 were tasked overnight, conducted a detailed search of the site and blade-walked the contractors machinery until the founds were in. Professional, uncomplaining and good to work with. Hey ho...
 
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#11
Bombheads are also losing small arms repair capability.
Christ mate the small arms on most of the army need some serious gym work. Big guns in the the “Bombhead” locker, Comms means bombs yougun!
 
#12
So just out of curiosity what happens when one of your airfields ends up with some Russian UXO, and the Army EOD guys are unavailable for some time? Seems rather bone to cut this capability from the Crabs, as they will have a vital role to play. Especially since the big fight with the Ivan’s is now back on the table.
 
#13
So just out of curiosity what happens when one of your airfields ends up with some Russian UXO, and the Army EOD guys are unavailable for some time? Seems rather bone to cut this capability from the Crabs, as they will have a vital role to play. Especially since the big fight with the Ivan’s is now back on the table.
Even back when the RAF fought the Cold War from the clutch airfields in Germany, the RAF EOD capability was pretty limited in its capacity to deal with Ivan’s air delivered UXO. They didn’t have the capacity to excavate and shore up or provide blast mitigation for example; Sappers did that for them.

In truth it wasn’t a very joined up capability; it was penny packetted and took armourers away from arming aircraft. All to provide only the ability to deal with the actual UXO, with none of the enabling capabilities you got with Army (Sapper) EOD.
 
#14
...I wonder if the RAF will now struggle to recruit into the Armourer trade, I believe they were once an air trade and all that entails, but are now a ground trade.
I doubt it as EOD is such a minor role for the trade; most kids join because they’re interested in strapping AMRAAMs, PW4 and Brimstones onto aeroplanes.

Regards,
MM
 
#15
I was told this a few weeks ago and hoped it was the frequent duty rumour, but this seems to confirm it.

I wonder if the RAF will now struggle to recruit into the Armourer trade, I believe they were once an air trade and all that entails, but are now a ground trade.
I’m pretty sure they’re already on their arse after NEM. The only engineering CEG across the three services in Supplement 2, loads signed off when that was announced.
 
#16
Army take on an additional commitment during a man/woman/self identified person crisis? Slight of hand by 'Their Airships' to drop a fringe commitment like Airfield Construction, Marine Branch and SAR ?
 
#17
I’m pretty sure they’re already on their arse after NEM. The only engineering CEG across the three services in Supplement 2, loads signed off when that was announced.
Sadly, you correctly highlight that engineering SQEP is a very real problem for the RAF in a number of areas.

Army take on an additional commitment during a man/woman/self identified person crisis? Slight of hand by 'Their Airships' to drop a fringe commitment like Airfield Construction, Marine Branch and SAR ?
In my view the Army are anything short of personnel.

However, to my mind it makes sense for such a small RAF capability to be subsumed by the far larger RE EOD community as their respective tasks were so similar. In contrast, RN EOD have very different skill sets and requirements so I can fully understand why they’d keep their capability in house.

Regards,
MM
 
#18
So just out of curiosity what happens when one of your airfields ends up with some Russian UXO, and the Army EOD guys are unavailable for some time? Seems rather bone to cut this capability from the Crabs, as they will have a vital role to play. Especially since the big fight with the Ivan’s is now back on the table.
To be honest, this harks back to the WW2 concept when RAF bases stood relatively unprotected in the mountains of Lincolnshire. This is, even in the UK, becoming less of the case, with Army presence on many airfields. On operations this has been the situation since the nineties. I cannot ever foresee a situation where an APOD would not be considered part of the land battle and be tied into the ground plan along with the multitude of key points that have to be protected in a modern 3D battlefield.

As I have pointed out before, the defence of an airbase is not really an air warfare problem. It is rightly a part of the ground battle and should be "owned" by this element. RAF EOD, like the Rocks, are a remnant of past concepts and an anachronism of the funding system.

As Bob says, the RAF have never been in a position to deal with air delivered UXO which needs serious excavation and shoring capabilities that are really the province of the Wedge. Similarly the air chain of command is not that tied in to the G2 end of the IED game to provide the necessary level of awareness.

I have the greatest respect and sympathy for the Stigs and Bombheads who have a hard job keeping the aircrew supplied with their expensive toys at the snap of a flying glove. I suspect I would not have survived 24hrs in that environment without applying the blunt end of a fuze key to parts of an aircrew's anatomy.. (I came very close...)

Joking apart 5131, like the rest of us, were willing to stand up and do the job and deserve respect for their achievements and sacrifices in the past...

Per Ardua!
 
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#19
It is correct that RAF EOD didn't have an effective 'buried bomb capability', just like the RN, RLC EOD teams. Obviously they all could if it was thought to be required (just a question of training, equipment, effort, money) but as the RE teams have Plant Operators, joiners at their disposal, then quite rightly it falls within their remit.

The Cold War RAF EOD teams main role was the recuperation of airfields post attack. In simple terms, their raison d'etre was to enable the rapid return of airfields to a minimum operating capability once they'd been bombed, so the aircraft could get off (and deliver their nuclear payload, in the worst case). This meant dealing with UXO on the runway and operating surfaces, and where time is of the essence. For thIs role, no deep buried bomb capability is required. If it can't be dealt with using a rapid technique, then the bomb causing the issue would invariably be high ordered, and the resulting hole in the operating surface repaired by the RE airfield teams. This was by far the quickest way to restore capability- there simply isn't time to bugger about excavating, shoring up, rendering safe.

As such, there was never the requirement or the desire to excavate and shore up. As the RAF EOD teams went through the same 80 whatever courses at DEODS as the RE, then they did briefly cover shoring kits etc. They even had a few trained on Hydremas/JCBs. But it was never something that we had any real experience or capability with.

As someone who has had his last day in uniform in the trade, and is just waiting for his terminal leave to run out, I suspect I have a bit more of a finger on the pulse as to how the trade is feeling at the moment, and the thoughts and feelings of the people at the coal face. One one hand this is a major blow- because in the main most people don't actually join up as Weapons Technicians to "strap on Brimstones to aeroplanes" (not a dig (excuse the pun) @Magic_Mushroom, you understandably, but in this case erroneously, have an aircrew centric viewpoint. On the other hand though, it actually past the point of making much of a difference. The outflow figures published on the Manning intranet site tell the tale much better than I can, and I'll be one of them very soon. One of the drivers for disbanding 5131 is to free up personnel to plug the gaps elsewhere. The TGRF 'dividend' isn't proving to be as big as was thought, and the P-8, F-35 and the Typhoon uplift are hungry for non-existant manpower.

Sorry, looking above it appears that I've turned into John G.
 
#20
It is correct that RAF EOD didn't have an effective 'buried bomb capability', just like the RN, RLC EOD teams. Obviously they all could if it was thought to be required (just a question of training, equipment, effort, money) but as the RE teams have Plant Operators, joiners at their disposal, then quite rightly it falls within their remit.

The Cold War RAF EOD teams main role was the recuperation of airfields post attack. In simple terms, their raison d'etre was to enable the rapid return of airfields to a minimum operating capability once they'd been bombed, so the aircraft could get off (and deliver their nuclear payload, in the worst case). This meant dealing with UXO on the runway and operating surfaces, and where time is of the essence. For thIs role, no deep buried bomb capability is required. If it can't be dealt with using a rapid technique, then the bomb causing the issue would invariably be high ordered, and the resulting hole in the operating surface repaired by the RE airfield teams. This was by far the quickest way to restore capability- there simply isn't time to bugger about excavating, shoring up, rendering safe.

As such, there was never the requirement or the desire to excavate and shore up. As the RAF EOD teams went through the same 80 whatever courses at DEODS as the RE, then they did briefly cover shoring kits etc. They even had a few trained on Hydremas/JCBs. But it was never something that we had any real experience or capability with.

As someone who has had his last day in uniform in the trade, and is just waiting for his terminal leave to run out, I suspect I have a bit more of a finger on the pulse as to how the trade is feeling at the moment, and the thoughts and feelings of the people at the coal face. One one hand this is a major blow- because in the main most people don't actually join up as Weapons Technicians to "strap on Brimstones to aeroplanes" (not a dig (excuse the pun) @Magic_Mushroom, you understandably, but in this case erroneously, have an aircrew centric viewpoint. On the other hand though, it actually past the point of making much of a difference. The outflow figures published on the Manning intranet site tell the tale much better than I can, and I'll be one of them very soon. One of the drivers for disbanding 5131 is to free up personnel to plug the gaps elsewhere. The TGRF 'dividend' isn't proving to be as big as was thought, and the P-8, F-35 and the Typhoon uplift are hungry for non-existant manpower.

Sorry, looking above it appears that I've turned into John G.
As someone who served in what were then RE Construction Squadrons back in the Cold War days, I only partially agree.

The RAF EOD teams on the clutch airfield has a very limited capacity to clear UXO from runways simply because there were nowhere near enough if them. They tended to get fixed on the big ticket problems and had nowhere near enough assets to deal with the massive expected numbers of low level issues like bomblets. There was a tacit understanding that Sappers would have to with a significant volume of UXO, particularly bomblets and the like. That’s why we developed Heavy Wheeled Tractors with armoured caps and reinforced buckets and why combat engineers trained to deal with bomblets as part of their scab repair routines.

The Construction Squadrons has very little capability to deal with deep buried bombs; they had predominantly heavy plant which was completely unsuitable for the task. Nor did combat engineers train on shoring or hold stores to do so. It was the RAF that first procured Speedsure aluminium shoring without any idea how it would be used. The whole thing wasn’t joined up, partly because the RAF EOD teams and Sappers rarely if ever trained together and partly because the C2 arrangements weren’t cohesive. (By Sappers I mean the airfield damage repair Sappers not EOD Sappers with whom RAF crews trained at DEODS but who were nowhere near the airfields).

IMHO the weak link in the ability to restore operating surfaces on the clutch airfields post strike was always EOD. In no way is that a criticism of the highly capable operators; but, in truth they would have been overwhelmed. The capability gap was arguably in the Sapper bit; it needed the joined up capability that brought together BDO, EOD trained soldiers, plant etc in a cohesive capability like 33 EOD. The scale of expected UXO would have challenged an RE EOD squadron and completely overfaced the limited operators the RAF had and the almost non existent RE capability.
 

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