Old 1st May 2018, 16:29
  #26 (permalink)  
Finningley Boy
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Welwyn Garden City
Age: 59
Posts: 1,196
Originally Posted by Jackonicko View Post
Leafing through an ancient issue of Air Forces Monthly (dated October 2007) I came across a piece entitled 'Is the RAF broken?'

The article went into detail about the definition of stretch and ‘overstretch’, and discussed sustainability (whether the RAF could achieve the tasks set without breaking harmony guidelines), readiness, retention and the mismatch between actual operations and planning assumptions. It talked about the RAF’s diminishing force structure and the fact that the UK was spending 2.2% of GDP on defence - which it said was the lowest proportion since 1930. It criticised what it called 'the ill conceived rush towards PFIs and PPPs, and towards availability based contracting, which it averred would see the loss of key competences and skills among the uniformed engineers.

Out of curiosity, I looked at an order of battle for the RAF in 2007, and saw that it included 15 frontline fast jet squadrons (two Typhoon, three Tornado F3, seven Tornado GR4, two Harrier, and one Jaguar), while we still had 18 Nimrod MR2s for MPA and ASW duties, and a 'gold standard' military SAR provision…..

​​​​​​​Size-wise, it looked like a no-brainer, but we all know that size isn't everything?

So is today's 'Agile, Adaptable and Capable' RAF in better shape than ten years ago?

Has the flood of leavers at the 38/16 point slowed, or does it no longer matter?

Is morale better? Has faith in the senior leadership been restored?
If you could look at any post war reviews of the RAF's order of battle you'd find very much the same sentiment, however, back in 2007, at that specific time, nobody envisaged an air force with no more than six to eight frontline combat squadrons and no MPA. Where we are now from then is a result of the 2010 SDSR driven by the country's oversized unauthorized overdraft. By 2007, we'd already seen unexpected cuts to assets and personnel driven by the Blair governments need to find savings elsewhere in the defence budget to pay for the sustained British military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Indeed, things were getting that tight that certain critics with dark blue and khaki backgrounds resumed openly questioning the need for an independent air force at all. Before 2007, the previous defence review 'delivering security in an ever changing world' under Geoff Hoon in 2004, we had at that time; six Tornado F3 squadrons, seven Tornado GR4/4A squadrons, three Jaguar GR3/3A squadrons and three Harrier GR 7/7A squadrons. The orbat you mentioned from 2007 later that year lost the last Jaguar squadron and by end of July 2009 we were down to just a single Tornado F3 unit. Go back to 1990 about the time 'options for change' revealed the Blue print for the post cold war RAF, we had 30 operational squadrons, variously equipped with Tornado GR1, Tornado F3, F-4M Phantom II, F-4J Phantom II, Jaguar GR1A, Harrier GR3/5 and Buccaneer S2A/B. The TGR1s and Buccaneers were able to carry WE177s and the four Nimrod MR2 squadrons we also had could carry US mk 43 nuclear warheads. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
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