Sunday Times- RAF preparing to cut 10,000 staff.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by fairycakes, Nov 14, 2009.

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  1. Air Force chiefs are preparing to cut 10,000 staff — a quarter of their manpower — and close up to five large air bases.

    The plans will reduce the RAF’s strength to 31,000 personnel over the next five years, little more than half the level during the recent Iraq conflict and seriously diminishing its capability of fighting another conventional war.

    It also intends to retire the majority of its Harrier and Tornado jets early, leaving it with about 80 fewer aircraft by 2025. The cuts are part of a package prepared for the 2010 annual spending round.

    They are designed to pre-empt the savage cuts expected as part of the strategic defence review promised by whichever party wins power in next year’s general election.
    A senior RAF officer said the plans were designed to save “significant amounts of money, measured in billions of pounds a year” rather than having them forced on the service by the review.

    The RAF has 19 flying bases in the UK, but the reduction in aircraft means up to five are expected to be closed and sold over the next decade.

    The bases most at risk include RAF Cottesmore in Rutland and RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, both of which will close when the Harrier fleet is retired.

    One of either RAF Marham in Norfolk or RAF Lossiemouth in Morayshire is under threat because of planned cuts to joint strike fighter numbers. So, too, is RAF Kinloss in Morayshire, with the new Nimrod MRA4 expected to move to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

    One plan under consideration would see all RAF fast jet training moving to RAF Valley in Anglesey, leading to the possible closure of RAF Linton-on-Ouse and RAF Leeming, both in North Yorkshire.

    Other proposals would see all the RAF’s Merlin helicopters move from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire to a joint RAF-

    Royal Navy station at what is currently Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall.

    The proposals were ordered by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the new chief of the air staff, and the air force board ahead of the 2010 spending round.

    It comes with the RAF ordered to find £200m in cuts to relieve pressure on the defence budget and ensure all possible available resources are diverted to Afghanistan.

    Short-term cuts will see reductions in the RAF’s flying schedule, the grounding of Nimrod MR2 aircraft and Puma helicopters until April, and the mothballing of four of its seven Boeing E-3D Sentry Awacs airborne warning aircraft.

    Senior RAF officers believe that whichever party wins the general election it will have to make cuts to defence because of the economic situation.

    The Ministry of Defence said: “These are challenging times and, like all government departments, we routinely review spending to ensure that best use is made of the defence budget.”
  2. Can Social Services cope with that much ‘care in the community’ hitting the streets at once :wink:
  3. Cutting Harriers early? Aren't they the part of the fixed-wing RAF which is actually doing the most at the mo :? And before we have JSF/JCA or any sort of replacement in service I guess. Remaining Tornado GR4s could have come in handy too.

    I guess their headshed won't be cutting the oh-so-useful-in-Afg Typhoons.

    Since they have scrapped Jag and now appear to be doing the same with Harrier before JSF has got in (with less JSF being bought, reportedly), what do we have left for CAS and BAI?

    Only Watchkeeper?
  4. Is this, by any chance, a cynical ploy by the RAF to ferment some public outrage in order to make sure there won't be any cuts?
    No, of course not. What was I thinking. As if anyone would do that. :roll:

    the oh-so-useful-in-Afg Typhoons.
  5. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    A combination of in-year problems (now until April) and next year's lack of cash - this is not unexpected.

    Just wait until you seee what the Army and RN have to do in a similar vein.................
  6. Errr, Typhoon is an air-to-air interceptor though, no?

    Unless CAS will now become strafing with MGs...
  7. Well I stand corrected, a quick Wiki search reveals Typhoon apparently can lob Paveway, Brimstone and Storm Shadow...

    Still, it is bizarre buying the newest and most advanced aircraft for air superiority, then using it to move mud that an in-service Harrier or Tornado would do just as well.
  8. Yeh but if government spending lunacy means you have to bin a lot then the only option is to keep the best kit you can isn't it?
    If you have to get rid of 25% of your assets then its Tornado and Harrier thats going to go
    Personally I think its lunacy but what would I know?
  9. It's a good job that didn't happen then. The RAF bought a multi-role aircraft to use as a multi-role aircraft, in the hope that it would be in service sometime before wings started falling off three decade old aircraft.
  10. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Thinking about it, it's a clever move by the Crabs. They get the first crack at the "outrage" brigade - much as the TA did last month. When the outcry means they get reprieved in some areas, the hammer then has to hit harder elsewhere.

    Cunning, eh?
  11. The sooner we quit messing around killing off the RAF by attrition the better. Kill it now and have done with it. Furthermore, integrate the whole of our Armed Forces into a single unified force. Same basic training (infantry), some flexibility in posting across roles (tanky, aircrew, foot-slogger, submariner, logs, comms, whatever). Borrow a couple of 3-star US Marines to show how it should be done.


    Still it's nice to know that we are reducing the targetting problem for any future attacker who decides to hit our airfields ... not that it would be worth taking out the last remaining fighter :)
  12. How about a sort of 'reverse mothballing'. Instead of 'mothballing' things at the end of their lives like HMS Invincible, how about storing them up for future, more-productive use?

    1. Put the majority of Typhoons into storage (only keeping those needed for air defence). Not costing anything there.

    2. Operate Tornados, Harriers as long as they are safe and workable. Even get F3s able to drop bombs if poss, since Typhoon is taking over AD. Keep the Tornados and Harriers dropping warheads on foreheads in Afg.

    3. Tornados and Harriers getting shagged out? Take Typhoon out of reserve. Oh, and by this time JCA has (hopefully!) become available too.

    4. Operate brand spankingly new aircraft. Bonus - now they'll last longer since they haven't been getting shagged out doing things aircraft already in service can do. So we shouldn't have to replace/cannibalise them til later.

    Thoughts, anyone?
  13. This is, with respect to Mick Smith, a rather odd report, and bits of it don't quite seem to fit together.

    This rumour has beend doing the rounds for several months, and predates any recent meeting involving the new CAS and the AFB. RAF strength during TELIC 1 was below 50,000, so 31,000 is rather more than half the service strength.

    Not sure how these figures work out.

    If you retire the 'majority' of both the Harrier and the Tornado fleets (there were 45 GR7/9 and 106 GR4/4A in the FAF on 1 Apr this year) and end up with a loss of 80 fast jets (presumanbly) by 2025, then this requires the Typhoon force to be up to strength.

    The 2025 date is puzzling, since all the Harriers are due to have gone by then, and this is the OSD for the GR4.

    And on top of that, the phrase 'package prepared for the 2010 spending round' reads to me like 'is one of the multiple submissions of pain and grief put forward as options for 2010'.

    And again, this is longer-term stuff, not of the 'good grief, RAF decimated within a couple of years' sort which might be inferred from the report.

    Wittering will probably close as a flying station when the need for the Harrier OCU goes. This is no great surprise, and has been on the cards since the infamous noise abatement case which led to a complainant who'd lived near the airfield for years deciding that he was going to set up a stables and then complained that his business was being damaged by the noise from the Harriers. However, it is the A4 hub for the RAF, and unless there's another major upheaval planned to relocate the loggies, then this seems a bit odd.

    Cottesmore may or may not close. This depends upon a number of factors, most related to the JSF and numbers procured.

    Again, long term stuff - Marham could be the second base for the JSF, if it is decided to go for a second JSF base. This has been known for a couple of years, if not more, not least since the JSF basing study was put online (and later quietly removed) outlining all these possible long-term changes. Nothing in this report will come as a great surprise to anyone who's read that report.

    Again, rumours about this have been going around on Pprune for some time, certainly predating the arrival of the new CAS. Indeed, IIRC, the first suggestion of closing L-o-O was mooted before Torpy became the CAS.

    Leeming may well end up without aircraft (it only has 100 Sqn and the FAC training unit at the moment), but is the A6 hub, and it would appear incredibly unlikely that this plan would be thrown out.

    Generally accepted that this will happen with Benson becoming the second Chinook station as the Merlins 'go jungly' and 28 and 78 Sqns get new CH-47s.

    While there's no doubt that our crustacean chums are looking at a variety of reductions, I'm afraid that much of what's mooted in the above report has been bandied around on Pprune and/or been in the general rumour mill for far longer than Dalton has been CAS.

    It strikes me that we have yet another instance where details of various pain and grief statements for the next PR have found their way into the press. I look forward to the Daily Express revealing that the Red Arrows are going to be binned and mounting its now biennial campaign to save them....
  14. Errr. That'll be all the Typhoons we have at the moment. Govt declares minimum of 5 sqns required for maintaining effective AD of the UK and Falklands. Current number of squadrons = 3 (two Typhoon and 1 x F3). Unless we stop training, of course.

    F3 is done for and will be gone by 2011. In fact, the most remarkable omission from Mick Smith's report is the possibility of retiring 111 Sqn even earlier than planned, shutting Leuchars (turning it into St Andrew's International Airport: Gateway to the Home of Golf') and basing northern Q at Lossie which will be empty when the 'majority of the ... Tornado fleet' is retired (or not...). Much more cost effective to do a deal with the other Typhoon partners, get hold of the airframes needed to form 6 Squadron and ramp up integration of Brimstone and PWIV on the new aircraft which breaks rather less often than the dear old F3.

    GR4 and GR7/9 getting shagged out? Maybe not quite there at full 'knackered beyond belief' stage, but both are becoming aging platforms and the GR4 in particular is ummmm.... shall we say 'a bit maintenance intensive'.

    An excellent idea, particularly for Eurofighter, who would have to sell us more Typhoons - indeed, if we are to avoid fatigue issues with the Typhoon, we actually need about 200 rather than the 160 which it appears the RAF is going to get...

    By the by, wiki may say that Typhoon can carry Storm Shadow and Brimstone, but neither has been cleared for use yet.
  15. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Archimedes -

    As I mentioned above, this report is a conflation of two separate events.

    Firstly, the reaction to the in-year problems - the MOD is effectively bankrupt, it's not that it has to spend less; it's that, this year, it has already overspent and must 'unspend' - hence things like the TA cuts, and mothballing whole classes of A/C.

    The second is 20% cuts across the board next year - that's what other Govt departments are doing, and why would the MOD be left out (don't whine about the war, for goodness' sake - there's few votes in spending much there!)?

    This report is both together.

    As I mentioned above, think what the Army are going to have to do to cut in a similar manner.................