"Unprecedented cuts being proposed at the Ministry of Defence"

RAF to shrink to World War One levels - Telegraph

In the most significant changes to Britain’s defences since the post-Suez review of 1957, ministers and officials plan to scrap large parts of the Armed Forces.

The Services will lose up to 16,000 personnel, hundreds of tanks, scores of fighter jets and half a dozen ships, under detailed proposals passed to The Daily Telegraph.

But the RAF will bear the brunt of the planned cuts. The Air Force will lose 7,000 airmen – almost one sixth of its total staff – and 295 aircraft. The cuts will leave the Force with fewer than 200 fighter planes for the first time since 1914. In addition, the Navy will lose two submarines, three amphibious ships and more than 100 senior officers, along with 2,000 sailors and marines.

The Army faces a 40 per cent cut to its fleet of 9,700 armoured vehicles and the loss of a 5,000-strong brigade of troops.

The Telegraph has also learnt that the “black hole” in MoD finances, caused by orders which have been made but cannot be paid for, is approaching £72  billion over the next decade – double the amount previously suggested.

While the Strategic Defence and Security Review is yet to be finalised, officials have drawn up a series of likely options to meet cuts of 10 to 20 per cent demanded by the Treasury.

By the end of this month the Defence Strategy Group, comprising ministers and military chiefs, will be presented with a number of recommendations that they will refine and pass to the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, in September.

In October, after agreement with the Treasury, an announcement will be made in Parliament on precisely what cuts the Forces face as part of the comprehensive spending review of Whitehall budgets.

If implemented, the cuts will mean that Britain will almost certainly depart the world stage as a major military power and become what military chiefs call a “medium-scale player”.

The proposed cuts – which are certain to face a critical reception from the public – are being considered without resolving the question of who pays for the Trident replacement. The MoD hopes that once voters realise the scale of the cuts to the Armed Forces, George Osborne, the Chancellor, may spare some parts of the military. The plans will lead to the RAF losing its status as the fifth biggest air force in the world.

The entire force of 120 GR4 Tornado fighter-bombers looks destined for the scrap heap to save £7.5 billion over the next five years. The Tornado was supposed to be in service until 2025, but with a major overhaul due in the next five years costing £10 million for each aircraft, it is now under threat.

The cut will mean job losses as RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Marham totalling almost 5,000 personnel.

Under the plans, the number of Eurofighter Typhoons is likely to be reduced further from 160 to 107 planes based at a single RAF airfield to save £1  billion. The entire fleet of 36 Hercules transport aircraft, the workhorse in Iraq and Afghanistan, is to be phased out and replaced by an order of 22 new A400M planes.

The £3.6 billion project for nine Nimrod MR4 reconnaissance aircraft is also vulnerable, along with a number of other surveillance planes.

The proposals include a swathe of cuts to the Army’s armoured regiments with the loss of Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 guns and Warrior armoured vehicles.

While the Army is likely to lose a few thousand soldiers in the coming year, reducing its numbers to about 100,000, it is braced to lose an entire brigade of about 5,000 when combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2015. It is understood that 7 Armoured Brigade or 20 Armoured Brigade, both based in Germany, are the most vulnerable.

Infantry battalions will be increased from about 600 troops to 750 as a lesson from Afghanistan has been the loss of combat effectiveness through leave and casualties, according to the plans.

The Royal Marines also face coming under direct Army control from Navy command and the possibility of being grouped into a “super elite” unit alongside two Parachute Regiment battalions.

A senior Whitehall source said: “These are not Tory cuts, these are Labour cuts as a result of their irresponsible overspending. However, a lot of this comes down to how much political appetite there is to do this.”

An MoD spokesman said: “The Defence Secretary has made clear that tough decisions will need to be made but the complex process of a Strategic Defence and Security Review will be concluded in the autumn and speculation at this stage about its outcome is entirely unfounded.”
If this is pucker, "ouch" springs to mind. Watch the squeaking from the light blue gang as they realize finally that the 91 year experiment is soon to be ended.
RAF fighter numbers. The last time an RAF fighter shot down an enemy fighter was in 1948, a gyppo Spitfire IIRC.

Shot down any jets? Other than a few own goals, it would seem not.

On this basis, the Fleet Air Arm with numerous kills over the last 60 years are clearly the pre-eminent fighter force in the UK and should be expanded.
Well considering they didn't exist in 1914 they got off pretty lightly m'thinks.
This is true, but we did have a proper air force in 1914, the original and best.
Once the cuts are completed, we will stand alone against the superior military might and imperialist ambitions of the Irish Republic!

It will then be interesting to compare the size of the Prison population of England and Wales with the full-time Military population!
Hopefully the politicans will moderate this as they realise that the public actually rather likes its armed forces. Hopefully.
Not a bloody chance! They are the same Tories that eviscerated the Army under 'Options for Change' in the 1990s only this time around, the redundacy terms will be nowhere near as generous!
You know, I'd take these things more seriously if they could be arrsed to get their facts correct.

Ignoring the fact that the crabs weren't created until 1918, the RFC and RNAS didn't have 200 fighters between them in 1914, or for quite a bit of 1915 for that matter.

Then, there was a period in the 1920s when the RAF had just one fighter squadron - 12 being slightly less than 200, last time I looked. The date Harding wants is somewhere between 1923 and 1925, and the latter date is open to question slightly, since the Bristol Fighter squadrons extant in 1925, while fighters, were used for recce and army co-operation.

Then there's the statement about the 36 C-130s. Thing is, the Ks are on their way out anyway, and the Js are going to be replaced by the A400 (as we've noted on here several times, the whole 22-strong A400M isn't going to arrive in one go). So that's at best misleading.

Then, if you do withdraw the GR4 over the next five years, we end up with fewer than 107 Typhoons by 2015, and a Harrier fleet which - given the exchange postings by the FAA noted on the F/A-18 thread leaves you with a Harrier force that would be hard pushed to deploy given the lack of fixed wing FAA pilots (the 12 sent on exchange represents an alarmingly high proportion of the RN's FJ pilots).

Then there's the pointed that these 'detailed documents' have been leaked to the Torygraph. I very much doubt that they've been handed over by the government, anxious to give the Telegraph a scoop. Where the Telegraph might be on to something is in the

The MoD hopes that once voters realise the scale of the cuts to the Armed Forces, George Osborne, the Chancellor, may spare some parts of the military

Someone has, presumably, leaked some of the options on the table (or not on the table, but scoped out as part of the review process) - since no meeting has occurred to discuss and debate the options, then while the cuts outlined might happen, there's as much chance that some, or even many, of them won't...

As for:

The plans will lead to the RAF losing its status as the fifth biggest air force in the world.
Which decade is the journo living in? The RAF hasn't been the fifth biggest AF in the world for some time - even if you lump the four US services together as a single air force (don't tell them I've done that), you have China, Pakistan, India, Russia, the two Koreas, Iran, Israel (aircraft numbers, and when all AF reservists are counted), Germany, France, Turkey and Brazil ahead of us. I'm pretty sure that the Syrian, Iranian, Ukranian and Taiwanese AFs are larger than the RAF as well. Even if you merged the FAA and the AAC into the RAF (there'll be a paper on that somewhere which hasn't leaked, I'll bet...) we'd only go up the rankings slightly.
Printing headlines like "All is well" or "Nothing to worry about" does not sell newspapers, on the other hand "World about to end" or "Armed forces sacked" does.
Time for some leave methinks..................... :)


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It's Tory cuts 101. Announce something absolutely mega, then when the cuts aren't quite as bad, everybody goes home happy.

Hey, it's what you voted for - well 36% of you.
Yes, because the alternative was to keep spending money we didn't have. It's a shame they're cutting defense as it should almost certainly be exempt from the cuts but we all have to play our part in repairing the country.
Thinking bigger than the Armed Forces, as I'm sure they're doing, I would hope that the defence of the realm involves a structural rethink of both border and internal security. If we can't afford to defend Gan, Port Stanley or Gib, then at least we should stop London from becoming a suburb of Islamabad, Mog or Lagos.

Sadly, I'm not optimistic. Most newsreaders seem to have English as a second language now, and the concept of 'multiculturism' (outside of Northern Ireland, of course) appears to be in fashion.

But then, I'm an old racialist, with treacherous ideas about the worth of my tax and NI contributions.
It's Tory cuts 101. Announce something absolutely mega, then when the cuts aren't quite as bad, everybody goes home happy.

Hey, it's what you voted for - well 36% of you.
Of course, your mob never did that at all, did they? Just like they didn't stuff the economy up because some nasty, horrid bankers did it all and then ran away, leaving poor, poor Gordon and the Labour party to carry the blame. Sorry, you'll have to forgive me - I keep forgetting that what appears to be reality is merely a creation of the right wing press which successfully misled 59% of the electorate into voting for one of the other two main parties because they couldn't stand the thought of a Labour government for another five years...
Nothing that was not expected, long before the last Election.
Labour left the country broke and once again the Tory's are having to sort out Labours mess.


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