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Not enough Hercs to train Paras?

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Not enough Hercs to train Paras?

Old 13th Mar 2006, 11:08
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Not enough Hercs to train Paras?

In today's Telegraph.
The number of Paras winning their wings is in free fall
By Thomas Harding
(Filed: 13/03/2006)
The number of paratroopers able to parachute has fallen dramatically since the invasion of Iraq because the air transport arm of the RAF has been unable to provide enough aircraft.
Figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act show that the number to have successfully completed the parachute course at Brize Norton has plummeted from 92 per cent in 2003 to just under a quarter last year.
Hundreds of soldiers, who have to complete the arduous P Company selection before going to parachute school, have returned to their units without their coveted wings.
The figures are even worse for Territorial Army paratroopers with only one person - a medical student who reported sick and was granted extra time off - getting through last year. In 2003, 93 per cent of TA paratroopers passed.
The RAF has been blamed for lacking flexibility in providing aircraft, but Air Force chiefs say their fleet of 50 C130 Hercules has a priority to deliver supplies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To qualify, a trainee paratrooper must complete six drops at the Parachute Training School followed by two drops with his unit before being able to sew the famous wings on the Para smock.
As a trainee, a soldier is not able to continue in the Parachute Regiment if he refuses to jump, and no one can remain in the Paras for an extended period without getting their wings.
Col Simon Barry, a former commanding officer in the Parachute Regiment, said many RAF parachute instructor officers had been "less than flexible and committed to providing the training that Airborne Forces require".
"It is time to review the whole system completely and put it somewhere that can be relied upon to deliver."
He suggested hiring other aircraft to dispatch parachutists rather than "the overworked Hercules". He said: "It is just amazing that we cannot put all this together and make it work."
A serving Para officer said new troops arriving at battalions without wings were being "treated like second class citizens".
He added: "If you turn up with wings and the red beret, however 'green' they might think you are, there is nothing anyone can say about you not being a Para."
Major Gen Julian Thompson, a Royal Marine who commanded a brigade of paratroopers in the Falklands war, said the figures were "indicative of the overstretch" in the military.
"It indicates that aircraft availability is at rock bottom, which makes you ask yourself what else is at risk."
A TA soldier who has tried on three occasions to complete the course said people would be put off from making the substantial effort to get through P Company if they had to "wait in the queue for years to get their wings".
A spokesman for the Army Training and Recruiting Agency, which provided the figures, said the low pass rate was due to "lack of aircraft availability, inability to jump due to adverse weather conditions and disruption stemming from Operation Telic [the Iraq invasion]".
He admitted that the Forces were "juggling with scarce resources".
An RAF spokesman said 30 Hercules were available every day but operations and humanitarian efforts took precedence over training.
He added: "We don't believe that people not getting through their parachuting course will have an impact on operational capabilities."
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 11:25
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Originally Posted by brakedwell
In today's Telegraph.
The number of Paras winning their wings is in free fall
By Thomas Harding
(Filed: 13/03/2006)

An RAF spokesman said 30 Hercules were available every day but operations and humanitarian efforts took precedence over training.
He added: "We don't believe that people not getting through their parachuting course will have an impact on operational capabilities."
What tosh. What will have an impact then? Lack of replacement troopers so the guys in theatre don't get a roulement? Not to worry I suppose if they die an early death through overstretch there won't be so much to pay on their pensions!
Just reread the article, of course the spokesman means that there is no need for paratroops, an anachronism that hasn't been officially used since Suez? Perhaps we could also get rid of some other capabilities like an AT fleet able to support the governments aspirations. Am I the only one to look at the symptoms and see the disease?
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 11:27
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To qualify, a trainee paratrooper must complete six drops at the Parachute Training School followed by two drops with his unit before being able to sew the famous wings
Time was when all eight jumps were at PTS, with presentation of wings at Brize on completion.

I understand that there have been numerous conversations about privatising PTS, or parts of it. Is this article part of the warm-up for privatisation?

As an aside I could never understand why, at the time I went though, regs spent 4 weeks at PTS and TA/RMR only two weeks. Suggestion to PTS - reduce all courses to 2 weeks
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 12:47
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We all know we haven't got enough AT, and that the AT we do have doesn't all have all the kit.

So if there is too much tasking for the available assets it's a question of priority as to which tasks are completed.

Which is more important - op flying in active theatres resupplying the boys and girls, or qualifying a bloke in a discipline he'll never use in anger so he doesn't get bantered in the barrack block?

No question that ideally we'd do it all. Not with this level of tasking though.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 13:44
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Propulike is right - there's not enough ac (and soon crews - probably) to do all the jobs that the AT fleet are supposed to cover.

Don't blame the bus drivers - look at head office!

Solutions - bin the para role? - Not likely as the Paras are often seen as a recruiting ground for Hereford. Now, the boys in black are also stretched, so the best Paras get to do some 'second tier' dark stuff.

More AT and crews? - yeah right! Mr Brown says we can't afford it!

No more 'Persian Excursions' and stop the ones we're doing? - Nope, not while TB is so far from trying to get himself extricated from Dubya's back passage.

The only way is to carry on spreading thinly our few remaining assets, in so doing we will lower the skill levels to unacceptable amounts if ever we had to do it for real.

BTW 'Operation Certain Death' was not very far away from becoming a reality in 2003 - luckily, we were spared the loss of countless Paras and Herc crews - only because we did haven't have enough ac available - thank the Lord!
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 15:21
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An RAF spokesman said 30 Hercules were available every day
Where DO they get this utter b0ll0cks from? Halve that number and you might be getting close....

16B
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 15:31
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We don't believe that people not getting through their parachuting course will have an impact on operational capabilities."

What tosh. What will have an impact then? Lack of replacement troopers so the guys in theatre don't get a roulement
And when was the last time the Para's jumped in anger? Plus, they don't have to be jump qualified to go to Iraq, or wherever.

Still a pretty bad state of affairs though.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 15:51
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Contractorisation

I thought that a civilian company contracted out Skyvans to the MoD for some Para work ? Does it really have to be from a Herc to 'count' ? ( Double brownie points if it's from a K ?? )

Air Atlantique has some old Daks still in working order too.

Last edited by FrogPrince; 13th Mar 2006 at 16:26.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 16:10
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Does it really have to be from a Herc to 'count' ?
My last three jumps were from a Chinook at Everleigh. Did the three in less time that it'd have taken to do one from an Albert as there wasn't a 2 hour journey to Lyneham to emplane.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 16:17
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Originally Posted by 16 blades
Where DO they get this utter b0ll0cks from? Halve that number and you might be getting close....
16B

The RAF website states that there are 66 C130 in the RAF.. I agree that most of those wont be in the active fleet but there must be at least half of them.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 16:26
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Cool

It's a shame three or four old Argosies couldn't be resurrected for PTS use. They were very popular with the Bahrain based Paras when we used to drop them on Dubai's Jebel Ali in the mid sixties. Even back then I used to think running in at 120 knots on a steady heading 1200 ft above the ground was asking to be shot down.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 16:31
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Originally Posted by southside
The RAF website states that there are 66 C130 in the RAF.. I agree that most of those wont be in the active fleet but there must be at least half of them.
The website actually states that 66 C130s were originally ordered. If you read further, it also states that there has been a one-for-one exchange of half of the C130K for 25 C130J - that makes 50 frames.

Trust the guys who know - when they say that less than half are available each day (which includes those on ops), there are barely enough airframes to cover the routine tasking and aircrew training.
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 16:43
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This was expected to happen when MoD failed to renew the contract for the jumping beans training aircraft last year.

I understand that the MoD considered that it wouldn't need the Shed contract any longer as it had enough Hercs of its own to take on the additional task....

"Baayyy - I hear what you say. Blue sky thinking outside the box....mumble, mumble, mine's a large one, old boy"

Re-arrange the following well-known phrase or saying:

Arse, elbows, don't, yet, up, beancounters, know, from, MoD, who, sodding, their, from, again, screwed, have!
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 16:45
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Impressive Herc performance from the Telegraph too.....
... a body of men can be embarked at Brize Norton and dropped immediately into action in Afghanistan several hours later.

...very impressive
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 17:26
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Originally Posted by southside
The RAF website states that there are 66 C130 in the RAF.. I agree that most of those wont be in the active fleet but there must be at least half of them.
Another thing southside is poking his nose into, when he knows nothing about the subject in hand...................
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 17:40
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I agree that most of those wont be in the active fleet but there must be at least half of them.
And you have come to this conclusion HOW, [email protected], given that you have no knowledge whatsoever about how our fleet operates?

Out of the total fleet, a proportion will always be at Marshalls for long term servicing or refits, some will be on shorter-term servicing at Lyneham, and some will be on rects, unserviceable post-task. This can make over 50% of your fleet unavailable for tasking. The remainder have to be divided between Ops, routes, TacAT training and exercises and essential Aircrew training (without qualified and current crew to fly the thing, a serviceable airframe is of no use - something which may have escaped your attention, southc*nt - hence why essential Aircrew Training has the highest priority of all, except Ops).

What you have left over is not very much at all. Hence the claim of "30 Hercs per day" is BOLLOCKS.

16B
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 17:47
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Originally Posted by 16 blades
And you have come to this conclusion HOW, [email protected], given that you have no knowledge whatsoever about how our fleet operates?

Out of the total fleet, a proportion will always be at Marshalls for long term servicing or refits, some will be on shorter-term servicing at Lyneham, and some will be on rects, unserviceable post-task. This can make over 50% of your fleet unavailable for tasking.



16B
You forgot to mention the K's that are being scrapped.........
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 18:02
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I wonder, technically, if you can do drops from a AN-124? .....

Plenty of them around for short term hire and imagine popping a thousand guys at a time out the back! ....
you could soon clear the backlog ....

ps. I must add that having members of the parachute regiment who can't train to jump because of a shortage of a/c is simply

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Old 13th Mar 2006, 18:07
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I wonder, technically, if you can do drops from a AN-124?
Depends on whether you can open the back end in flight - given that it's not a Tac aircraft, I doubt it.

16B
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Old 13th Mar 2006, 18:44
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Angry Spin

Don't forget under the new double speak that is in vogue. Available does not mean serviceable!
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