Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
As a member of one of the RAF's more deployed aircraft types it is becoming more and more apparent that the tail is waging the dog more often than the reverse. This seems to be the case everytime you need something done by the said "backroom boys" who would rather keep hold of informatio and kit than provide the needy with resources they need, on the off chance that "someone else might need it"
How many times have we been to stores or other sections and been told that "you can't have that" or "your not scaled for that" when in all honesty people are asking by the very nature of the fact that they do need it. Never has this been the case more than when deployed. How many people does it take to keep jets flying. From this equation I subtract the aircrew and associated groundcrew/ ops support people without who's help the jets wouldn't get airborne, but as for the rest??? It amazes me that so many other trades are required to put an aircraft in the sky. Is there really a need for it??
More so now than ever before with the impending defence white paper this should be looked into. It appears that not only are bases in jepardy but also frontline sqn's at a time when we are spreading ourselves thiner and thiner to meet increasing demands on our resources. Why then should we lose sqn's and not Remf's??
SF Glad to see someone in the RAF is waking up to the amazing aircraft to support ratios prevalent in the RAF. I can only make comparisons with the helicopter fleets where the Army operate a one to ten ratio which includes aircrew, technicians, groundcrew and all the cooks and bottle washers. The RAF ratio in one to thirty. I'm just talking first line here. Please don't enter the arguement with RAF aircraft are more complex etc the Chinook is an empty box, OK a big empty box, the Merlin and Puma are smaller empty boxes without sighting or weapon systems. The RAF could make a start at rationalising the number of engineering trades.
The RAF could make a start at rationalising the number of engineering trades.
Which is exactly what is happening with multi-skilling where certain trades will merge over time. The RAF took this to an illogical conclusion years ago with the super-techs who were trained, IIRC, in the electrical, weapons, propulsion, airframe and avionics disciplines. In reality, however, they never had the chance to achieve competency in more than, perhaps, 2 trades at most.
Certainly evident, even while deployed. You need to fill in 3 sheets of paper to get signed before you're allowed to dine 'off base'. When people are deployed and have no real task, they invent tasks, which inevitably cause more work for others!!
A certain RAF Sqn in Cyprus works with 9 engineers keeping 3 ac available 24 hrs a day. I'd like to see any AAC Sqns producing stats like that. Oh yes, they achieve in excess of 90% serviceability as well....
I sincerely doubt that the numbers you suggest are an accurate reflection of todays RAF. It seems that there are redundancy plans in the pipeline. After more than 18 years service, this may be a welcome proposal. However, with the existing government, no doubt there will be a number of 'catches'
Hands up if you feel you are in the minority? i.e. born in the UK, not disabled, not sexually confused, not an immigrant, and not a single parent. Have I missed anything??
To belt-tighten: how about slimming down the Service Bands? What a waste of money.
Those of us who keep an eye on what going on in the background might be aware of a study, commissioned by the top brass (Air Force Board level), in 2003, which looked into precisely the issues that are being discussed here. The study report, entitled, "End to End", commonly known as the E2E was recently published and it clearly states that we are currently over-supporting deployed aircraft. The major proposal from the AVM heading up the study is that the RAF must now strive "...to deploy the minimum logistical support - including personnel - to meet the required military capability." Trials will be conducted on 2 aircraft types this year.
Of course, if this is turns out to be a cry in the wilderness, then thats it...the Service is doomed to be run by the Remfs. However, I sincerely hope that the AFB take on board the recommendations of the E2E report.
I should not be surprised, yet I am. The complete lack of understanding of what goes on to support the effort of getting a weapons platform into the air beggars belief. Having spent time at most levels of loggy support I can concur with a tiny percentage of what you say. Having been in a sandy place supporting a Combat Air Wing I can also assure you that the people spending time sitting round more than any other were not those in the support roles - it took a walk to 'the sqn' for that.
After that little episode we went through a complete re-think of just how we supported the ac. Initial proposals were worked on - then there was 'creep - mission creep'. If you want to go from extended days to 24 hr, then it takes more manpower - simple.
I think the figures of 30 to 1 must be across the entire RAF - I know the rotary world perform miracles with far less - having also exercised with the AAC I know their guys wanted some of our logs management tools so much, their Boss bought some! I can see how badly procured, badly designed old aircraft need some TLC, hence higher numbers on, for example, the F3. I think you might need to look at how you define REMF. Rant off.
Boatman - can't really compare the 'punch' of RAF & Navy - they are different jobs and do different things - hence why they have 2 different names! Height, speed, reach & ubiquity - the 4 main words as to why we have an Air Force.
I think you will find from the outset that this thread excluded the hard working techies that work miracles to keep the Wright Brothers era aircraft the mob now imploys, in ways they were never designed for, patrolling the skys. It is the other trades such as TCW, PTI's, RAF Police to name but a few. Why on earht do we have PTI's outside of the training environment?? Are we not big enough to decide what to do at the gym??
The guys that work in TCW. Why does it take 30 of them to each det?? Are they not capable of doing the same job with less people?? It then, by its very nature, creates a need for even more people to be deployed overseas to cater for all these remfs. You now need more admin staff (I never thought I'd say that but apparently it's true), someone to square away the accom. You now have to bring the MT guys into theatre to supply all these hangers on with vehicles.
This is by no means an exhaustive list be like the Murphy's "I'm not Bitter"