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Old 27th Jan 2010, 15:57
  #1 (permalink)  
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Hi everyone,

This has been doing the rounds but I think it has not been posted on PPRuNe. (If so, Mods please remove or re-locate as required.)

It's got my vote but more needed....

Petition to: Ensure that the Battle of Birtain Memorial Flight is not axed in any defence cuts. | Number10.gov.uk


Madbob is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2010, 16:01
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Or we could ditch the whole thing and use that money to keep the normal people in work...


I'm all for memorial, but how much does this cost the RAF directly each year? When it should be funded from outside the MoD.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 16:15
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[QUOTE]It's got my vote but more needed.../QUOTE]

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Old 27th Jan 2010, 16:20
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+1 more..........................
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 16:33
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OK I'm going to get flamed here, but what's new? With Stations and Squadrons closing down like a bankrupt shopping chain going to the wall, with whole fleets heading for the great hangar in the skies, I would rather see whatever money is available to the Royal Air Force being used on its present commitments rather than its past ones. I am an enthusiastic supporter of both the London Bomber Command Memorial as well as the proposed saving of RAF Bicester as a Bomber Command Heritage Site in which could there could be a "Country" BC Memorial, paralleling the existing Fighter Command ones in London and Capel-le-Ferne, but neither will come out of the Defence Budget. If the BBF can be saved by alternative funding, be it on a Charitable or even Sponsored basis I'd be all for it, but it seems that the RAF can ill afford it for the foreseeable future. Other holy cows like the Reds, the UAS's, etc are bound to come under similar threats. Like this one they will be of orders of magnitude greater than any that have preceded them.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 16:43
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Have to agree with you there Chug.....with all that is happening there and as much as I love to see them flying the money that we have has to go to front line.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 17:24
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We do need to make a lot of cuts, and soon. However, I would like to see the Red Arrows and the BBMF at the bottom of the list. They should however cover some of their costs with sponsorship - the Virgin Red Arrows?

At the top of the list, I would get rid of the AEF tomorrow - an utter waste of money and simply jobs for the boys. And before anybody wades in with their size 10s, I have had almost daily interaction with an AEF for the last 3.5 years. It's not worth whatever we pay for it. Sell some Grobs and get rid of some of the smaller airfields in order that we can keep the likes of Cottesmore and Lyneham open.

Despite having been a UAS man myself, I would have the UAS next on the list.

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Old 27th Jan 2010, 17:31
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Supposedly it's about £3m a year; though I doubt whether this will include all of the hidden costs at CGY and in staffing it etc. However, let's give it the benefit of the doubt that £3m is the full cost.

And I'd cut it, too.

Not because I don't think that the Flight don't do a great job, they do. But because it is £3m we don't have for the front line - and after all, though they don't fly a Lancaster, RNHF is all voluntary funded IIRC.

Hard times, tough choices. Sorry, but that's the way it's going to be.

Squirrel 41 is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2010, 18:35
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Looking at other threads, it is which order we get rid of things, not when. These must be high on the 'not needed' list?

The cost of things (airframes) is on intranet - look for Aviation Capitation rates - v interesting!
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 18:54
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No, the Defence Budget most certainly does NOT need to be pi$$ed down the sink fighting underfunded and unwinnable legacy-of-Blair wars in far-off lands against stone-age peasants resentful of being dragged into a modern world which they simply do not comprehend.

Blair and his 'come as you are and bring a bottle' Balkan wars started the rot, followed by his illegal attack on Iraq to please the idiot Bush and finally the lunacy of what is all too clearly Vietnam-istan. A corrupt puppet government with little domestic support, backed by western armed forces opposed by vicious terrorist extremists.....

'Defence of the Realm' seems a long-forgotten obligation in this day and age. But at least the BBMF still reminds us WHY we have an RAF at all. Rarely, if ever, do the genpub see anything of the RAF except pictures on the evening news of yet another sad repatriation; the nation's finest slaughtered in the meat-grinder which is the $hit-hole of Afghanistan; however, the BBMF do at least do a very fine job of honouring our past.

Real military prowess has been thrown away over the recent years - so-called 'capability holidays' becoming ever more commonplace. Enough is b£oody enough - and anyone who cannot see the worth of the BBMF simply does not deserve to wear a blue suit.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:27
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Utter rot - is everyone in the RAF nowadays blind to the fact that there is not a hope in hell of an honourable victory in the North West Frontier unless the locals are won over by the Kabul government? Which is doubtful at best.

If liars like Blair and Brown want to indulge in ill-considered military adventurism, thier aspirations should be funded from a totally different budget to the budget needed to maintain sufficient forces for the defence of the UK.

Afghanistan is not the UK's 'front line', just as Viet Nam wasn't the USA's 'front line'. It is simply a black hole of despair which is destroying our nation's military for absolutely no tangible benefit.

The few £M which might be freed from defence spending should RAFAT, BBMF, UAS or AEF flying stop wouldn't even be noticed at your so-called 'front line' - it'd vanish in an instant.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:28
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Why do people talk about binning the BBMF etc? The RNHF manages to survive and flies some very nice aircraft on a charitable basis... it's not a difficult concept, I'm sure there would be an oversubscription of willing sponsors for the BBMF.

So the question is not should the BBMF be binned, but why are we spending defence budget money to run it when it could easily be funded by other means?

The few £M which might be freed from defence spending should RAFAT, BBMF, UAS or AEF flying stop wouldn't even be noticed at your so-called 'front line' - it'd vanish in an instant.
To quote you Beagle - that argument is utter rot. Or are you saying that if a 'paltry' couple of £Mil can be saved from several different budgets we shouldn't bother because it's a piddling amount, not worth saving?

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves... remember that saying?
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:39
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Well of course, if the government didn't waste money on stupid global warming adds on tv ..................................
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:42
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The BBMF is commanded by a full-time sqn ldr. He is supported by a D-grade CS and I think an E1 or E2. There is a small permanent cadre of engineering personnel.

The hangar is probably unsuitable for Typhoon and not required for anything else. In keeping with RAF tradition is is ripe for closure as it was recently refurbished IIRC.

The flight gets significant sponsorship AFAIK which includes part and labour from industry. Some spares are sourced on a swapsey basis. One set of wings for one of the Spitfire is stored at the RAF Muesum at Stafford while it flies on a different set .

The cost, if it is £3m is peanuts.

people like you are the past, and not involved in what will be a tough future for a country that is at war
This, unfortunately, is the attitude of those that live in the here and now with no regard for history, traditions, or future generations. Military Museums with largely WW2 collections are all re-orientating their displays to appeal to granddads and grandsons. This is a vital link to the past as many, when they were dads, did not talk to their sons.

While the whole BBMF could be displayed in a hangar, and indeed the Lancaster and Bomber artefacts at East Kirkby etc are remarkable, the best place to see an aircraft is in the air.

UK plc must must maintain its historical heritage as long as it can. Yes there may be a possibility of a civilian group taking over the flight but are there any other comparable displays that do as many displays over as large a range as BBMF? Teeny weeny and RNHF are both local organisations. Warbirds are local. BBMF reaches displays, venues and events that the others simply do not reach and really reach out to veterans and the public alike far away from air shows.

PS, to answer Tim's message below with one word - VULCAN
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:43
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I don't see what the problem is. If there was any prospect of BBMF being dumped (daft newspaper stories aside) then surely some sort of arrangement could be made to continue operations under civilian ownership? It's not as if any of the aircraft are in any danger of being grounded if they were taken from RAF ownership.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:46
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anotherthing, if you really imagine that the alleged savings made by abandoning RAFAT, BBMF, UAS and AEF flying would actually be spent on our forces in 'The Stan', as people seem to like to call it, then you are sadly wrong. Those 'savings' would simply reduce the massive national debt accrued as a result of Blair's ill-considered military adventurism and no-one in the Armed Forces would see the slightest benefit.

As a member of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust, I contribute a meagre amount monthly to the Flight - and long may the Flight prosper! However, it would be wholly impossible for the Lancaster to be operated under similar funding constraints, let alone the BBMF's fighters, Dakota and Chipmunks.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:57
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An American here, feel free to skip the post:

While I disagree with BEagle's political commentary about illegal wars (different topic on necessary or not), I agree with his point about the need for your BBMF.

1. What an impressive and well-deserved tribute to the line of defense that kept you a free country (What you've done with that legacy is another thread and not really my place ).

2. In an era where RAF stations, personnel, and interaction are fast diminishing from public view and thought, what a marvelous recruiting and public relations tool. I'd venture that many more potential RAF prospects see one of the BBMF assets up close as compared to your other hardware. How many thoughts of joining that heritage or even considering serving your country does the BBMF stir?

If you disband the Flight, how many of those airplanes (sorry, no "aero" from me) will wind up in the skies of Texas and not the UK? Personally, I'd love to see 'em over here. Professionally, don't p1ss away a national treasure.

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Old 27th Jan 2010, 20:09
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BEagle, we've agreed and disagreed on much here over the years, but this

"and anyone who cannot see the worth of the BBMF simply does not deserve to wear a blue suit"

is offensive and unworthy; I think an edit or an apology is in order.

I am a big fan of the BBMF; and no, there is nothing like the noise of four Merlins in close formation. But that alone doesn't make the case for retaining it on the MoD budget when there's an under-funded war going on. And despite your views, Afghanistan is going to continue for sometime yet - I'd be surprised if we were out by 2020.

Again, look at the numbers in the likely budget settlement highlighted again by Max Hastings today. If there was a political party out there with plans to spend 5% of GDP - Cold War norms - on the military, then we'd be having different arguments, but from a much higher base. But no-one is proposing this, and cuts - deep, painful cuts - are coming, and the MoD needs to focus on the current wars, whilst being mindful of the past.

And the BBMF, Reds, HMS Victory et al are all capable of being funded by someone else - private enterprise, charity - or Reds, the Culture Media and Sport Dept (aka Dept of Fun). They're not producing material defence output at a time when we need to maximise this; sorry, but it's true.

Moreover, nothing is going to slam home the parlous state of defence to the general public who are largely ignorant of defence issues, than binning BBMF / Reds etc.

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Old 27th Jan 2010, 20:16
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One of the more interesting notions I heard recently, was speculation that the 'overseas aid' budget should be used on agendas such as the North-West frontier, on the grounds that supporting the Kabul government is most definitely 'overseas aid'.

Better that than wasting it funding some corrupt dictator....

As for anything Max Hastings wrote, I'd give it a good ignoring if I were you.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 21:06
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I'm with BEagle on this one
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