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

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

Old 7th Mar 2012, 07:34
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James Blunt: Britain's failure to get troops into battle (theatre) is pitiful

A one off or regular occurrence?

James Blunt: Britain's failure to get troops into battle is pitiful - Telegraph
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 08:24
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The last sentence is very incisive - I think he has hit the nail on the head with that one.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 08:40
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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.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 09:16
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 09:19
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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.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 09:34
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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!
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 09:40
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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.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 10:23
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Because of pfi, its probably much cheaper to pay for charter.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 10:24
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Oh, the irony of an air force having to charter civilian flights to move people around!
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 10:30
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Maybe its time for the RAF's senior officers to be held accountable for the delays?
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 10:40
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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!

Courtney
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 11:03
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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.......
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 11:50
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Originally Posted by Courtney Mil View Post
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.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 12:39
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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.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 13:42
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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:


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.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 13:58
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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!)

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!
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 14:17
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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
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 14:23
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Why hasn't it got a freight door?
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 14:28
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Glojo, BEags,

Thanks both.

We'll be chartering civilian ships to retake the Falklands next!
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 14:34
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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.
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