Forces face training cuts as fuel bill rockets

here we go and just the start

RAF pilots to fly more ‘virtual’ missions

The cost of fuelling Britain’s Armed Forces is due to rise by more than £500 million next year as a result of soaring oil prices, forcing military chiefs to consider broad cuts to air force and combat training.

Ministry of Defence calculations of projected fuel bills, seen byThe Times, show a dramatic increase in operating costs, with fuel for aircraft, naval and ground vehicles up by more than 20 per cent on last year.

With the Armed Forces’ budget set to rise by just 3 per cent – and the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, warning government departments last week of no additional increases – defence and industry analysts said that major cuts to training programmes such as fighter plane exercises would be inevitable.

The Times understands that Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, told senior members of the defence industry last week that RAF pilots would do more training in simulators this year because of the budget squeeze.


An MoD official said that the department was unable to say at what price the fuel assumptions had been made. Given that oil has nearly doubled in the past 12 months to more than $130 a barrel, the assumptions could already significantly underestimate the true cost of fuel use this year.

He said that, beyond overseas operational fuel costs, the remaining costs were managed within the £34 billion defence programme and “do not affect the MoD’s ability to deliver military capability, home or abroad”. He added that the MoD was committed to making savings worth £2.7 billion between 2008-09 and 2010-11.

Experts said that it would be impossible to meet the rising costs of fuel without drastic cuts to the training budget. Some equipment may even be mothballed until the price of oil falls.

“I cannot see how the MoD can do anything other than cut training,” Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and the party’s former spokesman on homeland security, said, adding that the figure of £500 million was likely to be higher now given the rise in oil prices. Mr Mercer said measures typically taken in the past included “track mileage limitations” that cut back on the number of training miles for the more gas-hungry vehicles such as tanks. Similar caps are placed on helicopters and fighter jet training, he said.

Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist with BGC Partners and a respected defence analyst, said: “To absorb that sort of cost will have to involve substantial slimming down of the more expensive types of training, such as major flight, ground and naval exercises.”
so, with inflation at 3.8 percent, and a £500m increase in fuel costs, we are looking at another year of a reduction in the defence budget.

Why does the MoD have to pay fuel duty? If that was removed, it would make a big difference as a large proportion of the increase in fuel cost is tax!


Book Reviewer
The oil companies are not though - the MOD still pays the higher price from the oil companies AFTER they have paid a surcharge - it's simply pased on to the MOD.
oh here we go again short time like the 80's Had a sigs exercise in the yard around the garages all sat in landrovers 25m apart - ended up shouting to each other PSI told us to take it seriously :)
Taffnp said:
oh here we go again short time like the 80's Had a sigs exercise in the yard around the garages all sat in landrovers 25m apart - ended up shouting to each other PSI told us to take it seriously :)
Christ, do they never learn...I can remember a training exercise where we only had 5 blank rounds each; we "ambushed" another section by pointing the SLR's at them and shouting "BANG!" 8O :oops:


oh great...another chance to waste training again....Nows its fuel >Feckers :(
CH512O said:
TopBadger said:
The MOD is duty exempt...!!
No its not! :roll:
should be, in fact the whole country should be fuel tax exempt, this tax is whats making everything expensive in the Country, Tax revenue can be gained in other ways, Fuel was just too easy.

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