RAF "Not Good Enough" For SAS Parachute Training

Discussion in 'The Training Wing' started by Phil306, Apr 2, 2005.

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  1. London Daily Telegraph
    April 1, 2005

    RAF 'Not Good Enough' For SAS Parachute Training

    By Thomas Harding

    The Special Air Service is to move its parachute training to the United States because it believes that the Royal Air Force no longer has the skills to train its soldiers in Britain.

    SAS officers and the Parachute Regiment have accused the RAF of being more interested in preserving "jobs for the boys" than providing adequate parachute training for live operations, according to a leaked e-mail.

    There are fears that combat parachute skills will be further eroded if plans go ahead for training to be contracted out to a civilian company.

    Some senior Army officers have accused RAF officers of failing to understand the equipment and training requirements for specialised parachuting because they have no operational experience.

    A Special Forces e-mail passed to The Telegraph, titled "What is going on with Britain's parachute training school?", said the SAS "in exasperation" had withdrawn from the RAF's High Altitude Low Opening (Halo) course to train with the US special forces at Fort Bragg. The SAS and members of the Paras' Pathfinders platoon use Halo as a highly-skilled method to drop behind enemy lines.

    Matters came to a head when the SAS "had enough of asking for the course to be updated to prepare troopers more realistically for the hard business of jumping from 25,000 feet at night, with large operational loads, onto dark and unmarked drop zones".

    This "shocked the RAF out of its complacency" and a new course was devised at the parachute training school in Brize Norton, Oxon. But, the e-mail said, RAF officers at the Parachute Department headquarters in High Wycombe "have not delivered the end product".

    "Those in the know at Hereford [where the SAS is based] will tell you that this is because they do not understand the difficulties of jumping on to unmarked DZs [Drop Zones] at night because they have never done it."

    While RAF officers talked about it, very few did "hard-core" parachuting familiar to the SAS's air troop. "Yet, those officers would be the first to try to bask in the reflected glory of the SAS, often implying they were some form of superior being as they 'taught the SAS'," the e-mail added.

    Britain is unique in having its parachute training controlled by officers from a branch with no operational experience, the RAF, to train the Paras, Royal Marines and SAS. While the NCO instructors "are well respected as pure parachutists" the Army has bitterly complained that not enough thought is given to teaching operational skills.

    There appeared to be some movement towards allowing Army instructors in when Wg Cdr Nigel Gorman, the parachute school's head, supported the proposal.

    But at High Wycombe "this was seen as a threat to the whole business of jobs for the boys", the e-mail said.

    Wg Cdr Gorman, who the e-mail called "a breath of fresh air for the operational community", is now facing a disciplinary tribunal on bullying and corruption charges made by colleagues last December.

    A source at the Ministry of Defence's Directorate of Air Operations said a five-year study had recommended to the director of Special Forces and the Parachute Regiment's commander that more instructors were needed from "an operational background".

    A senior Parachute Regiment officer criticised the "flat earth society" in the RAF who did not want change.

    "They want more time training themselves than those who are doing a job in the front line," he said. "They are not providing us with the right sort of training."

    An MoD spokesman said all the parachute courses were under constant evaluation to ensure that they met the correct standards.

    "The Parachute Training School works very closely with all users to develop appropriate and tailor-made courses," she added.

    While there were no immediate plans to introduce instructors from the Army or Royal Navy, "suitably qualified instructors could be considered in the future".

    It is also believed that training could be privatised with a contract going to Serco, a civilian company.

    The MoD said there were no plans to involve external contractors or "civilianise" RAF instructors.
  2. In defence of the crabs I see no problem here. I doubt that I'd be up to SAS training standards for the job I do. The RAf are just that. The Air force. If the SAS want more then they should arrange for it themselves.

    I'm not sure about how good an idea it is to have civvie tinstructors but I understand some civilians are involved in other aspects of SAS training so it obviously works in other areas.

    Yesterday I picked up my wife's trade union magasine which had an article about the prospect of privatising Armed forces training. The article was brief, lacking in detail and did not say where the information had come from. I cannot speak for it's reliability.

    What's the point you are trying to put across phil?
  3. daz

    daz LE

  4. No point at all. I just posted it to get a different point of view. Understand, I dont' live in the UK and sometimes, what is written in newspapers isn't the whole truth. Its nice to hear from people who have first hand experience in these areas; their thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc.
  5. The basic para course run by raf is fine for a high percentage is people wanting to get para wings, as you must remember the only time some people will jump after their qualified is to do their annual jumps..
    The SAS requirements are basically in a different league, after selection
    most troopers find the para course a holiday camp, also the air troops use many different types of training, and basically carry excess loads that the raf tell you that you should never do, so it make the course look stupid or feel like a complete waste of time to an SAS trooper as they know they will be shown something totally different if they get selected for air troop, so just for them it makes sense to do thier training in one hit, also in the USA weather is rarely permitting unlike here..

    We are the pilgrims master we shall always go a little further.
  6. Think economies of scale, cost, scarce resources and met. Ultimately it boils down to VFM, not a p!ssing contest between AT and the RAF!!
  7. Ahh we meet again and again you are talking nonsense.

    What exactly do you know about RAF and AT then? Can you explain what exactly you mean by economy of scale, cost, scarce resources and met (I think you mean materiel). Putting them in a context might be nice...
  8. Heading to america can be a positive and a negative, the positive factor is being taught by people who are using the same practice methods, so they have a better understanding of the student. Though a negative because it also states that one of england's crack units has to go else where to learn more. The question overall is isn't it better to get training from someone who has been in that role then someone who has just practiced?

    Cheers 2CB
  9. met=weather. the weather at bragg is considerably better than the weatrher at weston.
  10. clarity is a good word you know. if you tried to embrace such ideals, perhaps you would not be questioned/corrected!
  11. The para course is a holiday camp!
  12. Ah the old RAF jobs for the boys!!

    You have to scratch your head that there are some very talented freefall parachute instructors who are in the RAF but not PJI's?

    The said instructors can go to drop zones and teach civpop to skydive using the latest methods taught but arent allowed to do this for the RAF

    There are also PJIs who are well qualified on the civvi circuit who teach civvpop at weekends but are not allowed to use these methods whilst at work teaching MFF


    But I belive that the practice of some student failing an MFF course because of failing to meet the RAFs criterea is pretty sad and especially with the cost of the course per student!

    The age old problem of crusty old WO's and Sqn leaders who are there because they have grandaddy rules has been a bone of contention for many years ok they have a place but not teaching novices somthing they dont understand themselves!

    The bottom line is that no matter if your on the tailgate of a C130 running in at 30,000ft or the tailgate of a Bedford on the A303 it is a method of insertion, however just like the red tunics that were ditched no doubt with much uproar in the 1890s, best safe practice & best troops in the world are paramount so it appears that it is a warning shot for the RAF to pull there fingers out!

    To that end surely sending students on an AFF course for 2 weeks and then converting to mff would make more sense all around except for the RAF but if I was paid to swan off round the world on overseas detachments I would try and justify my existence!
  13. No-where have I read of the cost of completing this training.
    The frames the RAF use have a very short life left on them (all excpet the C17's & and new J's which are being thrashed to death with all their tasks) Why not send the lads over to the states, let them train at a fraction of the cost it would over here, jump til their hearts content, then hone their skills & change things to suit their needs when they get home.

    Also, who trains PJI's? - Other PJI's.
    When it comes to teaching specialist skills, they'll get that from their experienced oppo's once they've learnt the basics.

    And as for the RAF being old crones ( I agree the policy makers are) the SF crews allow the lads almost a free reign.
  14. The other pro for overseas training is the weather and LOA!!!
  15. i live at BZN and have been down to the PTS and they have got to be at least as good as the yanks if not better
    as for the weather in the summer the drop most days and winter time they are out in americia etc