Plane Shortage Halts Army Paras Jump Plans

#1
Plane Shortage Halts Army Paras Jump Plans

A shortage of aircraft has left nearly a third of troops in Britain's only dedicated airborne force - the Army's Sixteen Air Assault Brigade - unable to parachute, Sky News has discovered.

Plane Shortage Halts Army Paras Jump Plans
9:07am UK, Saturday March 13, 2010

Geoff Meade, defence correspondent

A shortage of aircraft has left nearly a third of troops in Britain's only dedicated airborne force - the Army's Sixteen Air Assault Brigade - unable to parachute, Sky News has discovered.

The brigade, as well as deploying regularly to Afghanistan, is supposed to provide Britain's key airborne international intervention force.

But it has seen cuts to its training programme that mean that, today, some 30% of its strength might not be allowed to jump into battle.

Eleven training sessions have been cancelled in recent months; these included eight basic training courses and three designed for Special Forces.

Of the Brigade's 2,434 troops, 388 are still waiting to complete initial parachute training, Ministry of Defence figures say.

Another 445 have been grounded, unable to get a single required refresher jump in the past two years.

As a signaller, Pte Ashley Watson of 2 Para was needed in Afghanistan. Training and six months' duty in Helmand delayed his qualification by a year.

He joined the Regiment in 2007 yet still has not earned his coveted wings shoulder flash.

"It's frustrating when everyone else has been in less time than me and they've got their wings," he said.

The bottleneck is airborne forces' worst crisis since 1978 when, for a time, cost-cutting robbed the Paras of their airdrop capability entirely.

Although it is over half a century since British parachutes were last dropped in strength into battle, over the Suez Canal, Colonel Hugo Fletcher, the Brigade's second-in-command, argues it is a skill Britain must not lose again.

"If we want contingent forces, those who are there ready to operate at short notice to move, ready to cope with the unexpected, then parachutes give you the edge to be able to do that," he insists.

Although a commercial plane has been hired to clear the backlog, the final and toughest low-level jumps still have to be from an RAF Hercules.

For those who make the 12-second night drop from 600ft, the reward is more than just the pride of finally joining a band of brothers.

Each will qualify for £5 a day parachute pay. The long wait means that, for some soldiers, it can amount to several thousand pounds apiece.
 
#3
Gungythree said:
Stand by,the experts will be along soon :)
Thats because some of us can read stuff a little more complex than ARRSE
 
#4
scalieback said:
The bottleneck is airborne forces' worst crisis since 1978 when, for a time, cost-cutting robbed the Paras of their airdrop capability entirely.
How long did they lose this for? Was it a few months or longer?
 
L

Lizard_Lips

Guest
#6
Here we go again.

Not long now before the "Why do we need the Paras?" brigade jumps on this one
 
#7
In 1966 66 C130K were purchased from Lockheed, of these 14 very tired examples still remain, and operate alongside the more modern 24 C130J that were purchased in the 1990s, ordered at the same time as the A300
In 2007 the National audit office found that 70% of all flights by C130 were short range transit tasks, instead of the role that was planned when the aircraft were purchesed, which could be carried out by a smaller and cheaper aircraft.As with the Fast jets we have to fight the war with the kit we already have,and not the right kit for the job and untill this is sorted out there are just not enough aircraft to go round

66 aircraft was considered the minimum amount of aircraft to airdrop a Para brigade, wthe there suporting arms, the RAC para sqn needed about 15 C130s on its own to drop a sqn of FV438s
 
#8
Barrack Room Lawyer said:
scalieback said:
The bottleneck is airborne forces' worst crisis since 1978 when, for a time, cost-cutting robbed the Paras of their airdrop capability entirely.
How long did they lose this for? Was it a few months or longer?
It was after the disbandment of 16 Parachute Brigade in 1977 and the rise of 6th Field Force which had a limited parachute capability. This pretty much became 5 Infantry Brigade and after '82 5 Airborne Bde.
216 Signal Sqn
 
#9
Is this a new instance of it, or the same one that has been reported intermittently over the past three or more years.
 
#10
There was an Air Portable exercise Exercise Eagles Claw in March 2009 but I dont know if any drops were done, but the did some demonstations for things like comemerations and such
 
#11
Stand by for the RAF turning up to justify why they need a whole bunch of Typhoon to sit in hangars just in case while their Army customer spins in the breeze for lack of support in 5...4...3...2...1...
 
#13
Theres a rumour doing the rounds that the MOD might buy six C130Es from the Saudis as a stopgap
 
#14
The occupants of the MOD Main Building have suggested we merely need to wait until the A440M arives, some time in the 2020's it would appear, before we get overly concerned.

What is a few year's wait for a single brigade? If the lads are deployed, they don't need to jump. Besides, the Euro Turkey will be a fine aeorplane, according to EADS. :rmp:
 
#15
'Shedloads' available to lease let alone buy - thanks to 'Cyclops' we are barely capable of buying an Airfix C130!

Labour doesn't like 'Paras' - too dangerous; too much of a threat, and too 'Tory'.
 
#16
lsquared said:
'Shedloads' available to lease let alone buy - thanks to 'Cyclops' we are barely capable of buying an Airfix C130!

Labour doesn't like 'Paras' - too dangerous; too much of a threat, and too 'Tory'.
:? Time for your meds
 
#18
Is this just another outrage story by the Media in order to embarrass the MOD again, OK, there is a backlog, but is it really going to effect 16 Brigades capability to fight. Quite rightly, the Army, the Navy and the RAF are concentrating on Afghanistan, I would think a bigger headline would be,

" Troop Shortage in Afghanistan because Qualification jumps takes Precedence"

However, I do think the MOD should look at back paying the backlogged guys from the day they should have qualified.
 

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