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Paras without planes: RAF running out of Hercules

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Interesting piece in todays Mail which no doubt will open up a few old discussions here on Arrse

The RAF is so short of warplanes that Paratroopers do not have enough aircraft to jump from while they complete their training.
The Ministry of Defence has been forced to hire civilian planes to try to clear the backlog of hundreds of soldiers unable to train or qualify.
The crisis stems from a lack of Hercules transport aircraft, ideal for dropping Paratroopers.

The RAF has lost the use of 13 Hercules since the start of the Iraq war in 2003
When the Iraq war began in 2003 the Armed Forces had 51 Hercules available, but four have been shot down or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan and at least nine have had to be retired due to the intense workload. The remaining fleet is working flat out to support operations abroad.

In some units barely half the Paras are certified to jump - with hundreds unable to earn their wings or maintain their skills once qualified.
Recruits must complete a course of at least six jumps - culminating in a massed low-level jump from a Hercules at night, wearing full kit - plus two more with their unit to gain their coveted 'wings' badge and become fully-fledged Paras.
After that they cease to be operationally deployable unless they can jump twice a year.
Many have already lost their entitlement to specialist pay of £5 pay per day because they have failed to jump at all for two years.
Recent figures have shown just 55 per cent of soldiers in the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment are certified to jump.

With senior officers in uproar, the MoD has finally admitted the scale of the problem and agreed to hire a fleet of much smaller civilian Skyvan aircraft - normally used for amateur skydiving flights.

Critics claimed the stop-gap measure was shocking evidence of Government penny-pinching, which had left the Armed Forces increasingly unable to carry out realistic training for war.
MoD officials confirmed a commercial contract was being prepared, and said Paras would be jumping from Skyvans instead of Hercules by the end of the summer.
A recent National Audit Office report warned of a crisis in military transport from 2010 as more Hercules planes become unusable.
The situation has infuriated commanders, especially as it provides ammunition for critics who claim parachuting is largely irrelevant in modern military operations.
It is understood that senior Army generals considered downgrading parachute training on cost grounds, giving new recruits their wings after fewer jumps while maintaining a much smaller cadre of fully-trained Paras.
But the 'Para hierarchy' have won the day - for now - and the MoD has found the cash to hire a number of Skyvan twin-propeller aircraft to try to catch up with the growing training backlog.
One serving Para officer said: 'It's far from ideal.
'The Skyvan is not much like the real thing - you jump off the rear ramp in small groups, instead of 80 or more blokes going out of the side doors of a Hercules.'

Tory defence spokesman Liam Fox said: 'Our troops are expected to train like they fight, but now our proud Paras are being forced to jump from civilian airplanes flown by civilian pilots, when neither would be a wartime possibility.'
But an MoD spokesman said: 'This is an efficient way to fill the gap in Hercules capacity.
'The standard required to qualify as a Paratrooper will not change.
 
#2
'Realistic Training for War...'

How is practising large scale para drop's training for war? When was the last time they tried it?




Don't worry, for all you outraged maroon types, fingers poised, i'm just joking. ;) :twisted:

(Then again, you ARE para's, so probably need it spelled out :D : :p
 
#4
Yeoman_dai said:
'Realistic Training for War...'

How is practising large scale para drop's training for war? When was the last time they tried it?




Don't worry, for all you outraged maroon types, fingers poised, i'm just joking. ;) :twisted:

(Then again, you ARE para's, so probably need it spelled out :D : :p
FCUK off hat.
 

Pararegtom

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
the_boy_syrup said:
30 Mins to get a "Why do we need Para's - Fuck off hat" responce

I'm getting good :D




Syrup, I read when you first posted this, you wont get an insult from me, it,s a sad fact that Liebour have ruined the capability of our Armed Forces.
 
#10
tropper66 said:
Have not got enough Hercs,FFS we aint got enough lorrys
Haven't you twigged yet?
We won't need either as part of the new European Army. We can rely on the French and Germans to help us out with our equipment shortcomings in the future.
Equipment and manpower shortfall's are not accidental, they are intended to force us into co-dependence with Europe.

Its the same with devolution of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, why do we need a United Kingdom when we will all be united under Europe?
 
#11
jagman said:
tropper66 said:
Have not got enough Hercs,FFS we aint got enough lorrys
Haven't you twigged yet?
We won't need either as part of the new European Army. We can rely on the French and Germans to help us out with our equipment shortcomings in the future.
Equipment and manpower shortfall's are not accidental, they are intended to force us into co-dependence with Europe.

Its the same with devolution of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, why do we need a United Kingdom when we will all be united under Europe?
And hire our Airlift from the Russians
 
#12
PCLG said:
Yeoman_dai said:
'Realistic Training for War...'

How is practising large scale para drop's training for war? When was the last time they tried it?




Don't worry, for all you outraged maroon types, fingers poised, i'm just joking. ;) :twisted:

(Then again, you ARE para's, so probably need it spelled out :D : :p
FCUK off hat.
Oh we are indeed educated. I wondered how long it would be! I am right in saying that El Gamil airfield,Suez was the last time on at least a scale of battle group during Operation Musketeer?

I do believe that kepping 3 Bn's of airborne troops is a little overkill! which if I remember rightly when I was in 5AB at least one Bn had a reinforcement company of Gurkhas! In this current climate the money could be spent elsewhere. As the past 15 years have prooved warfare is now about being armoured and mobile - Gulf 1 & 2, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.

I'm now going to dig in and take cover! :)
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Pararegtom said:
the_boy_syrup said:
30 Mins to get a "Why do we need Para's - Fuck off hat" responce

I'm getting good :D




Syrup, I read when you first posted this, you wont get an insult from me, it,s a sad fact that Liebour have ruined the capability of our Armed Forces.
Totally agree with you mate I think it's a dammed disgrace the way every one in the forces is being treated
How we can fanny about with the Airbus thingy when it's been clear for years we need more Hercs and Globemasters

I would have thought the massage would have sunk in by now they need more Helicopteres and transport aircraft
Mind without the Typhoon Top Gear and 5th Gear would have nobody to race against

I only put the bit in about hat v Paras because no matter what it always seem to end up with that argument

Now if I can only get some one to post something with the words "Suez" in and Ashies back if he posts "It's all Thatchers fault" I'll win Arrse thread bingo

Fingers crossed :wink:
 
#14
Cougar said:
Oh we are indeed educated. I wondered how long it would be! I am right in saying that El Gamil airfield,Suez was the last time on at least a scale of battle group during Operation Musketeer?

I do believe that kepping 3 Bn's of airborne troops is a little overkill! which if I remember rightly when I was in 5AB at least one Bn had a reinforcement company of Gurkhas! In this current climate the money could be spent elsewhere. As the past 15 years have prooved warfare is now about being armoured and mobile - Gulf 1 & 2, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.

I'm now going to dig in and take cover! :)
My bold
Yet we are already getting mutterings about heavy armour being outdated and not necessary for the future.
At the risk of running around in circles there ae an extraordinary amount of people who cannot see this country fighting anything beyond the current Arghanistan type war.
The amount of posters who tell us we do not need warships, fast jets or heavy armour any more is quite astonishing.

Or are we saying that jump trained Para's are just another capability we need to sacrifice for expedience this year?
 
#15
tropper66 said:
jagman said:
tropper66 said:
Have not got enough Hercs,FFS we aint got enough lorrys
Haven't you twigged yet?
We won't need either as part of the new European Army. We can rely on the French and Germans to help us out with our equipment shortcomings in the future.
Equipment and manpower shortfall's are not accidental, they are intended to force us into co-dependence with Europe.

Its the same with devolution of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, why do we need a United Kingdom when we will all be united under Europe?
And hire our Airlift from the Russians
Possibly, more likely just dump the capability on the grounds that one of our EU allies will be able to fill the gap should we need it.
 
#16
PCLG said:
Yeoman_dai said:
'Realistic Training for War...'

How is practising large scale para drop's training for war? When was the last time they tried it?




Don't worry, for all you outraged maroon types, fingers poised, i'm just joking. ;) :twisted:

(Then again, you ARE para's, so probably need it spelled out :D : :p
FCUK off hat.
The irony of the response was clearly lost. It wasn't a genuine response you numpties.

Defence Planning Assumptions still believe we require a parachute capability - I appreciate that most people think there is no point to the para role but thankfully some very clever people disagree.

Unfortunately in this 'risk' culture defence has elected to take risk against it. The C130 is in far more need in Afg than for parachuting. If we got an increase in ariframes the first trange would still be operationally committed and not for jumping.

For the techno geeks amongst us it is noteworthy that using a C130 for jumping places a great deal of stress on the aircraft far in excess of normal flying so the act of jumping itself exsacerbates the problem.
 
#17
Cougar said:
I do believe that kepping 3 Bn's of airborne troops is a little overkill! which if I remember rightly when I was in 5AB at least one Bn had a reinforcement company of Gurkhas! In this current climate the money could be spent elsewhere. As the past 15 years have prooved warfare is now about being armoured and mobile - Gulf 1 & 2, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.
Better spent on what? Isn't it foot soldiers we need on the ground in Afghanistan at the moment. So your cracking idea would just mean the rotation for units would come around sooner and overall more pressure is put on the infantry due to lack of battalions.

The Rifles have 7 battalions, the Scots around the same (I think). Would you also decimate them because there's too many? After all they basically all do the same job!

Let's face the truth. You are probably jealous of Para Regt in some way so would like to see it decimated. As to your point that warfare is now armoured. Give your head a wobble and grow up or watch the news.

Strange also that Para Regt was first into Kosovo and Iraq with those armoured types you mention. I was always under the impression that even with armour you need men on the ground on foot.
 
#18
Isn't it time the Army bit the bullet and called the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Army Commandos?

Pinging the blokes pay £5 per day because of a system failure is particularily unfair and perhaps it should be based on an Annual Mil Skills test instead?

Not knocking the quality of the blokes but the whole Parachuting thing is becoming a millstone now.
 
#19
PCLG said:
PCLG said:
Yeoman_dai said:
'Realistic Training for War...'

How is practising large scale para drop's training for war? When was the last time they tried it?




Don't worry, for all you outraged maroon types, fingers poised, i'm just joking. ;) :twisted:

(Then again, you ARE para's, so probably need it spelled out :D : :p
FCUK off hat.
The irony of the response was clearly lost. It wasn't a genuine response you numpties.

Defence Planning Assumptions still believe we require a parachute capability - I appreciate that most people think there is no point to the para role but thankfully some very clever people disagree.

Unfortunately in this 'risk' culture defence has elected to take risk against it. The C130 is in far more need in Afg than for parachuting. If we got an increase in ariframes the first trange would still be operationally committed and not for jumping.

For the techno geeks amongst us it is noteworthy that using a C130 for jumping places a great deal of stress on the aircraft far in excess of normal flying so the act of jumping itself exsacerbates the problem.
In last nights "Airforce Afghanistan" they did a heavy drop with a C130J which puts a hell of a lot more stress on an airframe thah droppind bodies
 
#20
Does it really matter?
Are the 45% who can't 'jump' any less effective in today's army or today's operations? - Of course they're not.
Jumping out out aeroplanes in large numbers is a thing of the past and has hardly ever been successful. Let's remember the Paraplegics greatest battle honour, Arnham, was the most monumental cock-up and a vain glorious defeat, however gallant the actions of some individuals were on the ground. Name me a success......

Seems to me a vehicle for posing, vanity and one-up-man-ship for those who like to cut about in maroon hats.

An interesting statistic would be 'how many staff officers and other non-regimental people are there who always manage to 'get their jumps in' to keep their Qual pay?' - I know of several.
 

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