View Full Version : James Blunt: Britain's failure to get troops into battle (theatre) is pitiful


Startrek3
7th Mar 2012, 06:34
A one off or regular occurrence?

James Blunt: Britain's failure to get troops into battle is pitiful - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9126091/James-Blunt-Britains-failure-to-get-troops-into-battle-is-pitiful.html)



Climebear
7th Mar 2012, 07:24
The last sentence is very incisive - I think he has hit the nail on the head with that one.

ALM In Waiting
7th Mar 2012, 07:40
A good article, making some important points. When will the politco's learn that wars fought on the cheap will end badly for the thrifty participant.

Pontius Navigator
7th Mar 2012, 08:16
Selection and Maintenance of the Aim
Maintenance of Morale
Offensive Action
Concentration of Force
Economy of Effort
Sustainability

I have been selective.

NURSE
7th Mar 2012, 08:19
Thing is though its a problem that could have been avoided if senior airforce officers had supported the transport fleet and insisted on a straight buy to replace the VC10/tristar fleet instead of wasting years trying to sort a contract out for a PFI.

Courtney Mil
7th Mar 2012, 08:34
His opinions are well-founded and well put. But I wonder why so many people in the entertainment business are suddenly becoming expert commentators on military and political affairs. At least James talks sense, though!

BEagle
7th Mar 2012, 08:40
Given the reported unreliability of the current Air Transport system, one has to wonder why it is that the Voyager hasn't yet flown at Brize, let alone been used in the AT role.

VinRouge
7th Mar 2012, 09:23
Because of pfi, its probably much cheaper to pay for charter.

Courtney Mil
7th Mar 2012, 09:24
Oh, the irony of an air force having to charter civilian flights to move people around!

NURSE
7th Mar 2012, 09:30
Maybe its time for the RAF's senior officers to be held accountable for the delays?

Courtney Mil
7th Mar 2012, 09:40
Beagle,

Am I right in thinking that the first Voyager is currently with Cobham having the refueling pods fitted? I thought it was due out this autumn.

Anyway, they can't fly it yet, it hasn't been put on the MoD website! :O

Courtney

Tourist
7th Mar 2012, 10:03
Fortunately for the Voyager program, under the MAA it should be a lot easier to get new aircraft an RTS and into service on time.......

Pontius Navigator
7th Mar 2012, 10:50
Oh, the irony of an air force having to charter civilian flights to move people around!

Actually I don't know whether many air forces do not need to charter civilian flights.

I know the USA used charter during the Vietnam war. The USAF has less than 100 passenger aircraft and almost 70 are Gulfstream and Learjet.

The FAF have 5.

The RAF inventory/aspiration is proportionately much larger than both. The historically large passenger capacity was needed to serve the various overseas air forces and garrisons. It was also needed to ship V-force engines around the world :} and fast freighters were rare 40 years ago.

With the expansion of the civilian transport market and the marked reduction in overseas garrisons the RAF could have gone for civil passenger charter in the 70s and certainly the 80s but at that point the VC10 was 'new' and the T* too.

mmitch
7th Mar 2012, 11:39
I think I read that 'our' Voyager was at an airshow in the far east.
The RAF CAS wasn't allowed to get on it though! Wrong pass.
mmitch.

BEagle
7th Mar 2012, 12:42
Courtney, there's been a Voyager KC2 at Brize since late December. But I don't think that it has flown yet...

There was indeed an A330MRTT in Voyager KC3 configuration at the Singapore Air Show:

jjtsTuNl-W4

But it hasn't yet been delivered. And yes, it seems that CAS was unfortunately denied admittance by the security people....:\ Bit of a c.ock-up, that.

foldingwings
7th Mar 2012, 12:58
Nurse

Thing is though its a problem that could have been avoided if senior airforce officers had supported the transport fleet and insisted on a straight buy to replace the VC10/tristar fleet instead of wasting years trying to sort a contract out for a PFI.

I'm not sure that the issue of PFI can be laid at our air masters' collective feet. PFI is something that was forced on MOD by a previous government driven particularly by the Treasury who also mandate what and what not has the funding to continue with its procurement path during each spending round debate each year. Most programme delays are caused by the Treasury withdrawing funding - take the Typhoon gun debacle as a prime example!

So whilst the Army (and the ex-Army in Blunt's case - I wonder if they took the p*ss out of him with that name when he was serving) can and will blame the RAF it is not totally the RAF's fault (although I accept that perhaps more concentration on our AT fleet might have been beneficial - ah the wonder of hindsight!:cool:)

Foldie:)

PS. Remember, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the MOD (and therefore the fighting Services) were only equipped to be committed to one medium scale conflict at any one time. But those 2 a**holes didn't read that chapter and committed us to Iraq and Afghan at the same time (But Brown, when Chancellor, reneged on his promise to fund the wars from the Govt Contingency Fund, rather than the MOD purse) without equipping us so to do and, some might say, to enhance their political standing with our allies! So don't blame the RAF - you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, although we have often saved the day by doing just that!

glojo
7th Mar 2012, 13:17
Excellent article which pulls no punches. How embarrassing for soldiers to have to hitch a ride on a civilian aircraft to get to a military conflict involving British troops!!!

Oh, the irony of an air force having to charter civilian flights to move people around! I hate to say it and I stand to be corrected but I am sure charter flights were used to fly troops out to Aden in the mid 1960's? My memory is not what it should be but I'm sure I flew out from one of the London located airports. Was it Gatwick

brakedwell
7th Mar 2012, 13:23
Why hasn't it got a freight door?

Courtney Mil
7th Mar 2012, 13:28
Glojo, BEags,

Thanks both.

We'll be chartering civilian ships to retake the Falklands next!

AR1
7th Mar 2012, 13:34
Same Aircraft, 1986.

Took off from Brize, my first ever flight in an 'Airliner' - had to shut an engine down in the climb. (fire caption apparently) Circled for what seemed an age dumping fuel listening to a supermarket version of the Beatles 'And I love her' thinking, is this the last poxy song I'll ever hear?
Night in the Hotel, just nodded off woken up in bed, - no it's OK, we go again. Which we did, until we reached Ascension. Refueling problem. Stuck there in a pullover and a parka in a compound for hours, while semi-naked squaddies emptied the vending machines of beer.
Although I did feel a little smug when arriving in FI a day and a half after we set off it was minus god knows what and the sunburned squaddies in T-Shirts realised exactly why I was carrying the parka.

Really non of these crates should be in the air. The MOD are using up luck that belongs to somebody else.

Seldomfitforpurpose
7th Mar 2012, 13:47
Glojo, BEags,

Thanks both.

We'll be chartering civilian ships to retake the Falklands next!

Mid 90's and Ex Purple Star saw 18 Sqn crews and ground crew flying to Cherry Point on a charter aircraft that was short finals to got to a desert graveyard and our Chinooks and Puma's getting to the US in a chartered boat totally unfit for purpose.

Any of the SH folk involved will no doubt remember the daily briefing telling us that the aircraft would, yet again not be arriving today, a clusterf@<hidden> of truly outstanding proportions :p

Pontius Navigator
7th Mar 2012, 15:09
ex-Army in Blunt's case - I wonder if they took the p*ss out of him with that name when he was serving

Had to think about that for some time. Do you know, there is a huge number of Google hits for James Blunt.:E

diginagain
7th Mar 2012, 15:10
................whilst the Army (and the ex-Army in Blunt's case - I wonder if they took the p*ss out of him with that name when he was serving).............. It's his stage-name, but not too far removed from the entry on his Birth Certificate, just missing a vowel.

Finningley Boy
7th Mar 2012, 15:24
I think I read that 'our' Voyager was at an airshow in the far east.
The RAF CAS wasn't allowed to get on it though! Wrong pass.
mmitch.

mmitch,

You can't be too careful where security is concerned.

Anyhoo, now you've brought the subject up, I wonder what the chances are of seeing the Voyager at any R.A.F. airshows as well as, I'm sure, Farnborough this year?;)

FB:)

SASless
7th Mar 2012, 15:24
Oh, the irony of an air force having to charter civilian flights to move people around!

What part of cost-effective do you miss?

Admin hauls of Passengers do not require a Military Transport.

Flarkey
7th Mar 2012, 15:37
Quote:
Originally Posted by foldingwings
................whilst the Army (and the ex-Army in Blunt's case - I wonder if they took the p*ss out of him with that name when he was serving)..............

It's his stage-name, but not too far removed from the entry on his Birth Certificate, just missing a vowel.


He once said in an interview that he changed it from Blount to Blunt because it wouldn't be quite as funny whenever people called him a Count.

ShyTorque
7th Mar 2012, 15:41
Disappointing to read some responses trying to drag "Blunty" down.....his music may not be to all tastes (he's obviously the first to recognise that, judging by his humour) but it seems to me he's well on side.

He had good reason to write that report; especially in view of a similar debacle when he was last invited to travel "Britmil".

Seldomfitforpurpose
7th Mar 2012, 15:44
Disappointing to read some responses trying to drag "Blunty" down.....his music may not be to all tastes (he's obviously the first to recognise that, judging by his humour) but it seems to me he's well on side.

He had good reason to write that report; especially in view of a similar debacle when he was last invited to travel "Britmil".

Anothers fame, success and earnings often bring out the bad side with some folk :(

fantom
7th Mar 2012, 15:44
I was very cross when I saw the article but wasn't after I had read it.

Two's in
7th Mar 2012, 15:53
Courtney,

But I wonder why so many people in the entertainment business are suddenly becoming expert commentators on military and political affairs.

He served 6 years as a recce commander with the Household Cavalry, including the NATO action in Kosovo, plus his father was a Chief of Staff for the AAC, so he does have some relevant experience to fall back on.

tlightb
7th Mar 2012, 15:59
Glojo,

Yes you are correct about the Aden flights. I went out on a British United VC10 from Gatwick in 1966, but I think the service was taken over by the new RAF VC10s shortly after I got my knees brown.

fallmonk
7th Mar 2012, 16:10
Good article , not to critical of the RAF more so of the political masters ,
My Question is , the must be a glut off half decent airlines parked up somewhere . With all the airlines that have went bust in the last few years. Why haven't we looked at either a buy or long term Leese . Even as a temp ?

wiggy
7th Mar 2012, 16:25
My Question is , the must be a glut off half decent airlines parked up somewhere . With all the airlines that have went bust in the last few years. Why haven't we looked at either a buy or long term Leese

Must admit I thought the article was a thoughtful piece and it saddens me (ex-RAF) to see you guys still struggling on with aircraft BA laid off a decade plus ago and which is now pretty much a museum piece.

Sadly you can't just buy a box labelled "bust airline" and have a ready made Transport Fleet..... Aircraft from the failed airlines have either gone back to the leasing company or in some cases off to the desert/side of a runway somewhere, and the crews and support staff will have dispersed to either the job centre or are already off to Emirates.

To regenerate one of these outfits would involve similar expense to starting up a new airline and I get the impression HMGs not going to foot the bill - so the RAF struggles on with the existing fleet ( and yes, IMHO it's wrong).

Neptunus Rex
7th Mar 2012, 17:52
My first major overseas detachment, with 120 Squadron, was to Singapore in 1966. We flew out on a British Eagle Britannia charter flight, with the best Cabin Crew I have ever flown with. We arrived at Paya Lebar on schedule, after two stops - at Akrotiri and Colombo - which I feel sure were more needed to replenish the bars than the fuel tanks! Thirsty lot, the Kipper Fleet.

A reliable charter flight would surely be more cost-effective than relying on those venerable Tristars. Captain (Cavalry Retd) Blount's 'Hat Trick' is a shocking indictment of the current state of the RAF's transport fleet.

whowhenwhy
7th Mar 2012, 18:06
It isn't just wars we're trying to do on the cheap, it's everything. The fact is that we're in a business that costs money; either the war fighting bit or the support to ops bit. If we continue to do it on the cheap then at some point very soon, people are going to end up in the dock explaining themselves because we're cutting corners in breach of law. Sounds dramatic I know but it's true :{

NutLoose
7th Mar 2012, 18:50
Wiggy, the desert is located a sparrows fart from from Odious, and is called Lasham, see link

aircraft storage LASHAM - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?q=aircraft%20storage%20LASHAM)

There is a damn good reason the likes of Queasy Jet and Ryan Scare shift their jets on at about the 5 year point, they come off warranty and the maintainence cost soar.. God knows how the MOD can justify flying around decades old Tristars and VC10's, fuel consumption alone must be horrific on the Tens, you need to fly the proverbials off them, then shift them on while they hold high residual values, Ryan Scare by having a high fleet turn over can drive down the cost of new aircraft from the manufacturers.

I realise the country is skint, but by the time you offset the higher maintenance costs, downtimes and fuel burns against a lower operating costs of a leased aircraft, I would bet the figures would open some eyes.

jindabyne
7th Mar 2012, 19:27
Nut (re-your post now deleted?)

Absolutely agree, although it's not an original concept as I'm sure many others here would concur; and the troops would be far better served.

tlightb - yup, most warriors were flown out on charter. I went out on a British United Brittania in '64 (I think!), certainly from Stansted. Back and forth on various others, inluding the RAF Comet IV and Hastings (UGH!). But with the advent of the BOAC VC10, life became far better. On a further tour at Muharraq (short straw), the Moonrocket RAF VC10 was simply bliss - as was the arrival/departure procedure in those days at Brize.

We had a shorter and less stressful confict then: so why can't those now responsible for putting our people in harm's way be far more attentive to today's combatants' far greater needs ? I think I know - they have no f***ing idea or understanding of military confict or ethos , despite their briefings/prepared speeches/PR visits etc etc. Three Chavs approaching early middle age - God help us.

Pontius Navigator
7th Mar 2012, 20:35
most warriors were flown out on charter. I went out on a British United Brittania in '64 (I think!), certainly from Stansted. Back and forth on various others, inluding the RAF Comet IV and Hastings (UGH!). But with the advent of the BOAC VC10, life became far better. On a further tour at Muharraq (short straw), the Moonrocket RAF VC10 was simply bliss - as was the arrival/departure procedure in those days at Brize.

I said this earlier but several places to which we would have flown the troops was to military bases and we tended not to have civvies flying in to them. That is still true to a point but there is no reason why the pax aircraft can't do the bulk of the route with Tac(T) doing the final leg.

There was also the special mods that the airbox deemed essential which was why our VC10s were different from everyone else's VC10 from feight doors to floor to fuel in the fin. We did the same trick with the perfectly reasonable Argosy. Once we got into the special mods game then of course any economies of scale disappeared. Of course we have learnt that lesson with Voyager haven't we?

foldingwings
7th Mar 2012, 20:43
ShyTorque,

Disappointing to read some responses trying to drag "Blunty" down....

Who, Sir? Not me, Sir? I just asked a tongue in cheek question!

Foldie:ouch:

jindabyne
7th Mar 2012, 21:38
I said this earlier but several places to which we would have flown the troops was to military bases and we tended not to have civvies flying in to them.

Don't understand this response to my input. Many civvies flew on all these flights that I alluded to --- ?

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2012, 06:22
Jinda - Masirah, Akrotiri, Gan, Tengah, Changhi, Goose, El Adem (as was) and others I am sure.

It is true that it might have been possible to get charter to fly there but I suspect that the aircraft were used for PCF rather than straight pax and there might have been dipclear issues carrying military freight on civilan aircraft.

Whenurhappy
8th Mar 2012, 06:49
Like so many other commentators here, I initially took exception to JB's article but felt, by the end of it, he had hit most of the key points (ISS B - see me!). He has some credibility, having served in the Podjevo basin at a difficult time with the 'friendly' Serbs.

However, the RAF has not sat around idly waiting for the transport fleet to drop out of the sky. FSTA, as was, was initiated many years ago and finally signed off as the largest MOD PFI by Sir Glenn Torpy. He freely admitted that it was the biggest mortgage the RAF had ever taken out, but it was the only means by which a new long-term capability could be delivered. Meanwhile, a considerable amount of effort has been put in to deliver the A400M, but the delays have been outwith the RAF's purview. And of course, a new C-17 has been announced. I'm sure there are other, more compentant commentators who can refresh PPruners on the progress of these projects.

It would seem an elegant solution to lease/buy some not-so-old civilian acft and use these to fill the void that is opening due to our aging fleet. However. the RAF, ever conscious of its duty of care (!), requires transport acft entering Theatre to met minimum self-protection standards, against SAA and MANPADS threats. Clearly I'm not going to reveal what these are, but suffice to say, these are not off-the-shelf, bolt-on solutions, but require a considerable amount of design and engineering effort (and therefore cost and time) to install. And that's not even beginning on any avionics upgrades that might be required. For these reasons alone, this is why it is not practical for the RAF - indeed, any airforce - to rotate its transport fleet every few years like Sleasy Jet or Ryan Air.

Using hub and spoke (ie TacT for the last leg) again seems a simple solution, and of course it is used where practicable. However, consider the cycles - and amount of cross-decking effort - that a C130J would need to go through to move a full Tri* load of pax and freight, or similar. Again, apart from the effort (and additional TacT airframes that would be required) statistically there is a greater liklihood of snags and acft failures and greater exposure to the bad guys on the ground (through more movements).

Just something to think about.

Arfur Dent
8th Mar 2012, 07:48
Another example of extreme waste and lack of imagination at the MOD.
Where else in the world are commercial outfits using VC10's and Tristars?? Sell them (if you can) and buy a few 747-400's (ex Singare maybe).
James Blunt's music is awful (IMHO) but the man himself has an excellent point here. He eventually turned around and didn't go out there. How bloody embarrasing is that??

Ken Scott
8th Mar 2012, 07:55
However, consider the cycles - and amount of cross-decking effort - that a C130J would need to go through to move a full Tri* load of pax and freight, or similar.

This is what used to be done during Telic RIPs before the Tri* had DAS fitted. Three C130Js to move the Tri*'s load from Al Udeid into theatre.

But that was before 10 years of constant effort by the C130 force, with engineering support 'leaned' & no investment in spares, ground the aircraft (and the crews) into the dirt.

For far too long more has been taken out than has been put in which is why we are in this mess across the whole AT world. The crews do their best but when nearly half of all sorties are lost due to 'engineering issues'..........

sharpend
8th Mar 2012, 09:55
Having served for 17 years with No 10 Sqn VC10, towards the end of my time I was becoming more and more angry with having to let down my 'customers'. Moreover, as captain I carried the buck most of the time and caught huge amounts of flack.

A good example was when waiting in Washington to pick up the incoming Ten from UK and take it to Belize, I was told it had turned back to Brize with engine failure. It arrived 24 hrs later at KIAD. I actually arrived in Belize some 23 hrs late on the original schedule (having made up one whole hour that day). Image my annoyance when I got a full blast from a very ignorant Brigadier who had missed his dinner party in the UK. Quote 'Why did I not charter an aeroplane to ensure he was picked up on time'

Worst still, my Stn Cdr demanded a full explanation from me as to why I was late! :ugh:

But I can understand Blunt's frustration and that of the troops waiting to come home. But they, like Blunt, should shoot the MOD, not the crew.

BUCC09
8th Mar 2012, 10:15
The logical step would be to create a (C) RAF to absorb troop/ air transport elements of the RAF.

Or do you need a defence budget the size of the United States to create a Civil Reserve Air Fleet.

CRAF (http://harrisonjones.org/2011/12/17/war-and-peace/)

tucumseh
8th Mar 2012, 10:45
Mr Blunt has said nothing new, but often it takes a “celebrity” to make the press print a story. So good for him.

There are a number of excellent points made, but a few old fallacies regarding PFI. It was first foisted on MoD by the last Tory government. Labour simply carried it forward. This is the most telling post;

FSTA, as was, was initiated many years ago and finally signed off as the largest MOD PFI by Sir Glenn Torpy. He freely admitted that it was the biggest mortgage the RAF had ever taken out, but it was the only means by which a new long-term capability could be delivered.

When PFI was announced, it was clear to all that imposing it in isolation upon any project that had got past Concept / Assessment would cause huge delays. The increased through life cost was a given; and it was equally clear the intent was to delay expenditure. In practical terms, a short term cut in the defence budget, while mortgaging ourselves to the hilt. Broon, rightly, gets a lot of the blame for this, but he was by no means the first.



However, the original rules included a number of criteria that had to be met. One was “overseas sales potential”. No such potential? A 5 minute job to write an A5 memo (which dates the policy, as we didn’t have PCs or printers!) and you had your PFI waiver. Crack on, meet the ISD. This overseas sales potential requirement was an implicit acknowledgment that PFI cost more, so one needed to demonstrate a compensatory source of funding (to at least UK plc). It was not an excuse to avoid PFI, it was a fundamental requirement before proceeding. So, how many Apache simulators did we sell overseas? I know that companies suddenly included wildly optimistic overseas projections in bids, which impressed the Treasury and Stars but not anyone sensible.



What Torpy’s admission (above) reveals is the top brass rolling over when PFI was increasingly imposed on MoD, as the Treasury realised many in MoD were so career orientated (or just plain stupid) when signing up to PFI, knowing very well it would delay ISD and waste billions but never saying anything. It was Torpy’s job, and that of his fellow Stars, to see this policy for what it was and speak up. Perhaps he did, but not very loudly. It wasn’t “the only way”, because at the same time he and his colleagues were overseeing waste on a monumental scale and doing nothing; something confirmed by MoD’s own auditors in 1996. And, as finally admitted by MoD last year, waste increases risk to life.

glojo
8th Mar 2012, 11:14
What we have here is possibly 'yes men\women' being promoted to flag rank. How many times do we hear a flag officers complaining about lack of resources. I accept it is not the best way to remain in office and who will recommend that type of character for flag rank? There must come a time when both men and honour come before self interest, those in command need to read that article and ASK the correct questions and demand honest answers. Any service is only as good as its leadership, good leaders are those that care about the interest, welfare of those they put in harms way.

If the equipment being used is worn out, unreliable or even well past its sell by date then who is it that states enough and no further? Is it the likes of James Blunt or the man being paid to command?

Interesting that no one in authority has highlighted the issues raised by someone that was prepared to freely give their time to entertain our troops. It looks to me like we were unable to perform the simple task of getting not just James Blunt from 'a' to 'b' but EVERYONE aboard that aircraft. Not a situation we can be proud of!

What has happened to our military, I once flew home from Sydney on an RAF VC10 that had the honour of collecting the holders of the Victoria Cross and flying them to the UK... Now it looks like we have problems even flying our troops out to an operational theatre.

Someone somewhere wants to grow a set and say enough is enough... Give us the tools to do the job, or shut down the operation. Shoe strings tend to break and how long will it be before we hear of a tragic incident involving aircraft that are in dire need of replacement!

Standing by to receive the usual criticism :ouch:

Whenurhappy
8th Mar 2012, 12:19
I can only speak about this particular PFI from having been in MB at the time. Clever people (like all of us here) in Town and DPA (as was) understood how ruinously expensive PFIs would be, and in particular, FSTA. But it was also clear that the Treasury would not provide up-front funding to finance a new fleet. With TB supported by GB, then GB at the helm, funding would always be an issue, and the clever accounting of PFI takes it 'off balance sheet', a bit like ignoring the APR on your maxed-out credit card. I suspect that if the plethora of PFIs are included,the MOD unfunded liability is probably far in excess of ₤37 Bn as stated.

Chugalug2
8th Mar 2012, 15:39
glojo:-
Someone somewhere wants to grow a set and say enough is enough...
If past precedent is anything to go by, it will take a major defeat and national humiliation before the lunatics currently in charge of the asylum are replaced by those equipped as you so rightly suggest.
The Crimea, the Dardanelles, Norway, Singapore, all pointed to the need for some urgent Musical Chairs and fundamental reforms. God forbid it takes such costs this time round, but the MOD Stables need rather more than a change of straw.
From the point of view of this Forum, though not necessarily of this thread, an urgent prerequisite of such reform is the removal of Airworthiness Provision and Air Accident Investigation from the MOD to a separate and independent MAA and MAAIB (both of the MOD and of each other).

dervish
8th Mar 2012, 16:30
Tucumseh & Wheurhappy - well said both.

I know that companies suddenly included wildly optimistic overseas projections in bids, which impressed the Treasury and Stars but not anyone sensible.


Spot on tuc. I remember on a certain major aircraft programme the company predicted over 110 overseas sales. On the strength of this a certain ;) programme manager was told to PFI the simulator. He told the Two Star the company were talking "balls", ignored him and delivered on time. If he'd paid the company or the Two Star any heed, the aircraft would have been jockeying for hangar space along side the Chinook Mk3s for years. That was about 16 years ago and overseas sales so far are, let me think...... ZERO. :ugh:

El_Presidente
8th Mar 2012, 16:38
I think the whole AT mess the RAF has found itself in is largely as a result of being too skewed towards FJ leadership and FJ ops when the game changed rapidly in the 1990's. Then of course the Labour government introducing SDR and completely stamping all over it.

Interesting that we've managed to shag the J fleet 4 times quicker than the K. Hub and spoke is a useful tool if operated efficiently and supported correctly.

DAS does not protect against small arms or unguided munitions.

As for AirTanker...Jobs for the boys perhaps?!

:E

Our people « AirTanker (http://www.airtanker.co.uk/about-us/about-airtanker/our-people)

Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d) Keith D Filbey CBE FRAeS (Chairman, AirTanker Services Ltd

...On leaving the RAF in 2003, Keith worked briefly for Cobham plc before becoming CEO of AirTanker Services Ltd in 2004...

Art Field
8th Mar 2012, 19:04
With the in service date of the first Voyager still not certain it is worth noting the dates required by the initial PFI proposal back in 2000 ( for around 23 aircraft incidentally). First aircraft 2007 , First 5 aircraft by 2009. Reality looks like being one AT frame and perhaps one AT/AAR frame in 2012 , With fleet completion date not known for the 12 now remaining Airbus 330.300s one wonders just how long the 10’s and Tri motors can have their lives further extended.

BEagle
8th Mar 2012, 19:28
El_Presidente, your selective extract failed to include any mention of AVM Filbey's extensive background in the AT/AAR world. Which is hardly very fair of you.

For the record, he is an experienced 4-jet (Victor/Nimrod/V10) / 3-jet (TriStar) pilot who has commanded 216 Sqn, RAF Brize Norton and 2 Gp. I would have thought that the knowledge and experience of such a man on board ATrS should be something to be greatly welcomed rather than sneered at.

Hardly 'jobs for the boys', more like 'boy for the job'!

I feel you owe him an apology.

Arters, how are you these days? A shame you couldn't make Flounder's Final Feast the other week.

At a guess, I'd give the last 6 VC10s (4 x K3, 1 x K4 and 1 x CIK) about another 15 months at the outside. TriShaws perhaps another couple of years at the very most.....

Dengue_Dude
8th Mar 2012, 19:55
Like him or loath him, James Blunt has a point. Personally, I find him engaging and at least he's been at the sharp end and has far more knowledge than the vast majority of 'celebrities'.

He doesn't need to go to Afghanistan, but volunteered because I think he feels an affinity with the guys out there - or is that too sentimental?

Having left the AT fleet in 1993, we were told the Tristar was just an interim solution - 19 years later it's still trying to do the job it's too old for and in a climate of cuts upon cuts.

Why knock JB for telling a truth? However unpalatable.

Either HMG need to have policies commensurate with being a fourth rate little country off the NW coast of Europe, or they need to stick most of our struggling GDP into an investment of equipment and people in the Armed Forces.

You all read/listen to the news, what do you think's going to happen?

I was going to say 'I'm sorry if he offends people doing their best' , but I'm not - SOMEBODY needs to. Just putting up and shutting up for generations has led to this situation.

El_Presidente
8th Mar 2012, 21:08
El_Presidente, your selective extract failed to include any mention of AVM Filbey's extensive background in the AT/AAR world.No apology needed Beegs - I'm not doubting Filby's experience to spec the requirement, or guide the ship - I'm just distrustful of senior officers who suddenly find themselves in the 'right place at the right time' as a PFI magics along.

Beside, it's only tongue in cheek...

Don't get me started on the scrambled egg brigade who toe the line right up to retirement and then start rattling their sabres at the same politicians from whos hand they were feeding...that's another soap box moment.

On the out of service dates, I think the Tens are due to stop rattling the Mess windows next year.

:8

foldingwings
9th Mar 2012, 07:05
Dengue_Dude

the Tristar was just an interim solution - 19 years later it's still trying to do the job

Nothing new there! The Buccaneer was an interim RAF solution between TSR2/F-111 and MRCA and was still doing the job 25 years later when it was self-designating LGBs in Iraq (along side the 'MRCA' which couldn't self-designate at the time!)!

Foldie:ok:

teeteringhead
9th Mar 2012, 08:02
plus his father was a Chief of Staff for the AAC, ... chum of mine caused something of a stir at his daughter's wedding by threatening to produce a photograph (and eventually did) of the bride "naked in a bath with James Blunt".

Didn't mention they were 2 at the time when chum was on Charlie Blount's Sqn in Germany ....... :ok:

Whenurhappy
9th Mar 2012, 08:18
El_Presidente

DAS may not specifically defend against SAA/SAF, but other defensive measures fitted to trasnport aircraft do...

El_Presidente
9th Mar 2012, 10:58
Whenurhappy

My point is risk management. Is the risk being managed properly? Hub and spoke is an ideal tool for theatre roulements - however, due to budget constraints, equipment limitations and the long line of 'Yes Minister' senior officers, we're using wide-bodied pax transport ac for a role which should be performed by tac AT.

I'm not even going to go down the route of what if - we have been riding our luck for too long. If we did have the correct fleet for the job, properly supported, we would never contemplate running roulements the way we do currently.

As others have said, for too long we have been paying lip service to equipment and capability deficits. Pressure is not being applied to the government by those we trust to lead our armed forces.

Lonewolf_50
9th Mar 2012, 12:09
As to the irony of civilian airlift taking troops to and from theaters of war (a observation on page 1), the US has been doing that for some time, decades even. When I deployed to the ME in 2004, it was on a chartered civilian jet with a few hundred other servicemen.

When I was assigned to NATO in the 90's, I was transported oversea on a chartered civvy flight out of Philly with a few hundred other servicemen bound for Europe.

That aircraft developed leaks in the AC unit that soaked the carpet in the first eight rows, but it got to each place (Rota, Naples, Sig) more or less on time.

downsizer
9th Mar 2012, 13:45
But they didn't land in a hostile environment though....

Biggus
9th Mar 2012, 14:36
....you've obviously never been to Sig! :ok:

downsizer
10th Mar 2012, 03:18
Fair point....:}

Spit the Dog
10th Mar 2012, 10:45
I very much doubt it Beags as in 50 weeks there will be no one left to fly them.

Oldlae
11th Mar 2012, 09:16
When I was posted to RAF Germany in 1962, I was flown to Geilenkirchen in a British United Hermes from Gatwick.

I was sent to the Falklands in 1996 as a civvie to carry out an inspection of the Bristow operation, we took off from Brize in a Tristar and after an hour or so we had to return to Brize, we were accomodated at 4am in the barracks, obviously prepared for a big influx. We flew out the next night without problems.

Nothing new under the sun!