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Libyan mission racked up $11M in hotel bills

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Libyan mission racked up $11M in hotel bills

Old 23rd Sep 2012, 21:17
  #41 (permalink)  
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Ok I'll bite.

"If you do not like aircraft noise, mosquitos, tents, going away from home (unless you have a nice hotel) and must have top notch Health & Safety conditions, then you really should not be in the armed forces".

Whatever conditions we are happy to contend with is realistically not a decision for us to make. We have to abide by rules and regs dictated to us such as retrospectively being hit for field living conditions which meant we all had to pay back a few hundred pounds for the privilege of being on OPS. Do you honestly think a mere SO2 can say to ACC "sorry sunshine but there's no HOTAC so I dont think we'll be playing today". If the army chaps decided tents would happen, we would have lived in tents - simples.

The naivete of some posting on this thread is truly breathtaking. In aviation there are specific rules which determine what is safe and acceptable practice in peacetime and during conflict. All we require is sufficient amenities to do our job. I too was in Muscat when those words were uttered, but the fact remains would you want someone who has had no rest for 24-48 hrs flying you or your chaps back to the UK with a/c tech snags and especially poor weather? If your answer is yes then you are a fool and a danger to those around you.

"All in this together" is not sufficient reason to put lives at risk, and shows an inherent unwillingness to understand the roles the RAF undertakes and the peculiar risks associated with them. Leave aviation to those that understand it.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 22:06
  #42 (permalink)  
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Leave aviation to those that understand it.
Well that sums it up in RAF terms, doesn't it! You've got to laugh, haven't you!
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 22:25
  #43 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Chris Griffin
..."All in this together" is not sufficient reason to put lives at risk, and shows an inherent unwillingness to understand the roles the RAF undertakes and the peculiar risks associated with them. Leave aviation to those that understand it.
That's us told.

So in your view, it appears that fatigue (and the requirement for hotel standard accommodation) is a much less significant issue for sailors responsible for submarine or ship safety or for soldiers and booties responsible for large calibre guns, missiles, small arms, grenades, explosives and other weapons systems (not to mention EOD & IEDD).

Do you seriously believe that RAF personnel are the only people to have "peculiar risks" associated with their roles?
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 22:26
  #44 (permalink)  
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Are we genuinely saying then, that in the year 2012 it is impossible to purchase a portable sleeping system that by dint of air conditioning and mosquito netting is sufficiently comfortable to afford decent crew rest?

What's our 'austere base' plan then or don't we have one?

If we do have one, how often do our tent putter uppers, practice?

I would like to be the first to say that I understand aviation and am more than happy if it is all left to me.

Last edited by orca; 23rd Sep 2012 at 22:29.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 22:55
  #45 (permalink)  
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I expected the usual RAF crowd to leap straight back with their typical automatic dismissive pro-RAF defensive statements and distractions. Hopefully the true neutrals out there can read what I and the linked magazine article have said and make their own judgements.

I know nothing about your Senior Officers incident in Muscat but no doubt if the circumstances mentioned are correct then they may well be very valid and understandable in that particular example? However, I am also very familiar with both military and civil aviation Flight Safety in many different aspects and organisations, and not just a one service background. Whilst of course nice hotels, lovely recreation facilities and quality sleep are obviously good for aviation Safety it is not always essential for everyone. Many other forces personnel are used to working and living in very hazardous environments for extremely long periods without the provision or need for such hotels to do their critical jobs safely, effectively and efficiently.

Everyone wants the best that they can get from their employers but the RAF generally appear to always expect and get more than the other UK forces. Good luck to them but at a time of such big cuts there should be a much more level playing field for everyone and that may also help the RAF lose itís pampered image which whether you like it or not it has had for a long time now.

As for not really needing to properly train using field type living conditions, not every conflict that this country faces may always be so one-sided that hotels can always be relied on in the future, just because of our recent conflict/war experiences. As we all know, military airfield facilities and power supplies are some of the first things to get taken out during wars. One day we may be on the receiving end of such attacks, but I certainly hope not as the RAF fixed wing guys may not be used to living and working in such harsh conditions!
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 23:01
  #46 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the link mate, Sort of sums it up quite nicely. The hotel Bill seem entirely reasonable for the length of time however the operating costs are a bit worrying.
Why does a newish Typhoon cost Twice as much as a Shagged Tonka to run?

How much did the harrier cost/hour?

As an ex-MOD Junior Project Manager, I'm well aware That any money spend involves politics (Ususally MoD Politics ) Which is why I left and rejoined private Industry.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 23:32
  #47 (permalink)  
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One can't help but wonder how the delicate sensitivities of RAF personnel regarding their sleeping conditions might affect their demeanour on board a ship lurching around in a sea way while subject to the ambient noise of propulsion machinery, generators, various pumps, rotating antennae, active sonar, AC plant, loudspeaker announcements, aircraft landing on deck and slamming hatches.

Mind you, personnel serving in ships tend not to turn off the lights at 1600 and go home for tea, stickies and all night in.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 23:45
  #48 (permalink)  
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automatic dismissive pro-RAF defensive statements and distractions
And of course your discourse is neutral, factually flawless and without adgenda...my arse!

Do we stay in tents for economic reasons...nope, not even close.

Do we stay in tents for operational reasons...nope, not even close.

Do we stay in tents for security reasons...sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Do we stay in tents for political/PR reasons...yep, we sure do.

And are we to be denigrated for pointing this out...only by the intellectually challenged with an axe to grind.

Mind you, personnel serving in ships tend not to turn off the lights at 1600 and go home for tea, stickies and all night in
Amusing...I spent a week on T23 once, the whole ship went mental because they thought they were not going to get alongside on a Friday before the dockies knocked off. Worked with a CPO at HQ once...he organised his shift to do a straight 48 hours on duty, so he could then take a fortnight off. Of course, he spent 36 hours of his shift in a bunk.

Last edited by The Old Fat One; 23rd Sep 2012 at 23:51.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 00:45
  #49 (permalink)  
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The Harrier cost per hour was similar, £32k I seem to recall.

In fairness you can be very manipulative with costs. If you wanted it to look cheap you would count just the expendables, (fuel, oil, hyds, tyres) if you needed it to look expensive (for example if the civvies wanted to put some CAS close to the MOB and you felt it would add a few minutes to each and every sortie) then you could get the cost up to about £102k...including maintainer's boot laces etc etc.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 07:45
  #50 (permalink)  
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Not sure of the point you are trying to make. Poor crew rest facilities can lead to accidents, proven fact. Doesn't matter if you are operating a C130, Typhoon or driving a bus.
Rest for all Aircrew is more critical than for most other trades because Aircrew do not have the option of pulling over, switching off the engine and taking a break. Emergencies happen in real time and have to be dealt with immediately.
I accept, that when essential for an operation, normal crew rest regs must be waived. However, that should not be a carte blanche excuse for providing anything less than the best available.
I remember that during my time in Oman, some normal peacetime regs had been waived in writing (MTOW and CDT).
Crew rest guidlines were never changed. That meant that every flight authorised, where crew had less than adequate rest facilities, were technically in breach of a GASO. I don't think there was Major Incident requiring a BOI, so the matter was never tested.
I wonder what support the likes of Sir William W would have given to the crew if it ever was?
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 08:16
  #51 (permalink)  
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Attitudes have clearly changed over the last 11 years.

I was at PSAB shortly after 9/11 and the CAOC was ramped up in numbers as the USAF and the RAF were running two operations from it. Most AT was provided by the venerable VC-10 and the occasional Tri-Star, but on one occasion we had a C-17 land and run out of crew-duty time, because of earlier delays with Saudi Customs clearance.

The crew, complete with wheelie Samsonites, demanded to be taken to a hotel, even though we had made available hardened, air-conditioned en-suite accommodation for the crew, by turfing permanent party out of their rooms. When we pointed out that OBL's mother lived in the local town (and the family owned the hotels there), the crew relented, but Boy, did they grumble!

Fast forward 11 years and the crews would think nothing of a tent and would dream of the accn that was available in the FFHC at PSAB.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 08:59
  #52 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by The Old Fat One
...Amusing...I spent a week on T23 once, the whole ship went mental because they thought they were not going to get alongside on a Friday before the dockies knocked off.
Yep, even sailors get the occasional weekend in their base port when not deployed (if the 'dockies' haven't knocked off until Monday morning owing to an overtime ban) but even this doesn't necessarily mean they get home. At best, only the non-watchkeepers will be granted leave. At worst, the ship will require everyone to remain on board for a 'fast cruise' (alongside training period), essential maintenance, ammunitioning, storing ship, etc.

Originally Posted by The Old Fat One
...Worked with a CPO at HQ once...he organised his shift to do a straight 48 hours on duty, so he could then take a fortnight off. Of course, he spent 36 hours of his shift in a bunk.
Is that what he told you?

If you mean watch-keeping, then the standard shoreside routine is 1-in-4 anyway (i.e. 12 hours on/36 off over a 48 hour period - it helps make up for all those times at sea working 1-in-2 in Defence Watches) plus routine part-of-ship day work. His "fortnight off" must have been unspent main leave (e.g. Easter or Christmas) as he certainly wouldn't have been entitled to such a long spell after only two days on. That sounds more like the RAF's 16 and 4 Rule.

Incidentally, what HQ do you mean? Only civilians work "shifts". Sailors stand 'watches', soldiers and booties 'stag on' while all perform 'duties'. Which are/were you?

Last edited by FODPlod; 24th Sep 2012 at 09:35.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 11:27
  #53 (permalink)  
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I would never dare be so bold to criticize the way you do business on boats or on the ground as it would be arrogant and assuming of me to do so, as I have no knowledge of your working environment. Its astounding that you don't afford the same courtesy and attempt to assume greater knowledge based on a moral high ground of the argument that the other Services sleep in inferior conditions, despite the fact that it costs more.

FODplod - the fact you compare looking after secured and inanimate weaponry with the duty of care of over 230 pax is comical. By the way, peculiar: belonging exclusively to some person, group, or thing. At no time have i suggested others do not face risks peculiar to their role. You merely don't seem capable of accepting there are risks inherent to our role.

Look at the fact that BALPA are campaigning against plans to increase civilian Flight Time Limits over and above the 13 hours currently allowed over significant safety concerns. Crew duty periods for mil aircrew can in some circumstances exceed 13 hours by a huge margin. If you don't want your family on a flight crewed by pilots with a 13 hr working day, why would you want your comrades to face that risk just so the crew can sleep in tents to keep the army and navy happy?

It would appear that those that doubt the need for proper rest facilities and quality rest for aircrew (note no requirement for 5 * HOTAC or recreational facilities) do indeed have agendas whether they be merely envy or pushing the carrier argument. I would have sincerely hoped that the safety of your colleagues would merit more of your thought.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 12:12
  #54 (permalink)  
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Pretty much a word-for-word quote from kipper fleet 2 star circa 1999

"We have to do tents. Makes no economic, or security, sense (SAS et al please note), but if we don't do it, we gonna get put in the spotlight and binned"

Glad that worked out then
This is the crux of the problem. If there is a genuine argument for hotel accommodation, whether it be on financial, operational or security grounds, then do the right then, but be prepared to justify it. If this is a true and accurate quote, then I would suggest that this particular 2* could not justify the requirement for anything other tents - if he could, then he wouldn't have had to use the "spotlight" argument.

This goes for the RAF too (all three services, in fact). There's nothing wrong with choosing a more expensive option, as long as it can be justified without embarrassment.

Like I said in a previous post, if the justification for this particular example was noise and mozzies, then you deserve all the unwelcome attention you're getting. I suspect that there was much better and more relevant reasons for choosing hotac on this occasion, so for God's sake, just state them.

Having been in aviation for around 20 years, I can assure you that I understand the importance of flight safety, including in operation environments, but it's very true that the RAF use the FS card as a catch all to make arguments against decisions that they don't like. Therefore, I can understand how those that perhaps don't understand FS quite so well, often liken the issue to the little boy crying wolf.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 13:06
  #55 (permalink)  
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Sorry but it is a story because the Carrier Aviation fraternity will be on here and using this as further evidence.
I'll take the plunge.

The few RAF aircraft that took part in this operation only did so after the US provided the services of their F-18 Growler aircraft and IF..

If we were provided with a proper aircraft carrier then this ship would have been deployed just thirty miles or so off the coast, and with its limited air wing it would have had the Growler and multiple F-18's to carry out multiple, daily missions.

The RAF did the job they were asked but how many aircraft could they deploy to Italy, how many times did any of these aircraft have to divert to a neutral country because of technical issues? How much did it cost? How many private contractors were hired to regularly ferry all the requirements of this forward deployed unit?

I only want what is best for my country and do NOT give a flying fig the colour of any uniform worn by the pilots. Bottom line is the flying suit is the same shade of green. We cannot congratulate ourselves regarding that deployment when it simply highlighted our short comings when asked to act without US support.

To those that say the carrier might not be in the right place at the right time, I simply say the carrier is quicker than your Eddie Stobart options . plus of course there is usually a build up to a state of conflict which will be when the carrier will get the orders to deploy.

To me this thread highlights why we should have aircraft carriers, I cannot feel sorry for our brylcreem boys wanting undisturbed beauty sleep, as in any conflict, sleep is an optional extra which may or may not be high on any list of human needs and if those naughty aeroplanes make too much noise when we try to sleep then buy these
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 13:20
  #56 (permalink)  
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The simple fact is that we can't get past entrenched inter service views with this one.

It would appear that if you are in the RAF then temporary accomodation isn't good enough to afford crew rest (which we all know should be protected to the utmost extent possible) and is in some cases only going to cost more than hotels anyway.

If you aren't then you can't see how a modern system could be insufficiently comfortable and suspect hotels would be more expensive in the long run. You would also like to know what the pan-service plan is for KAF 2 (the revenge) when there is no festering hotel!

So until someone figures out how much we'd save or otherwise we don't really have a debate, just a slanging match.

Oh and incidentally - for you crew rest enthusiasts out there. I know what the evidence says and I know what the rules say. However, 1 Gp crew rest ASOs for CVS operations were different to shore based....so you ended up asking yourself the question 'Why?' as if it was safe 'embarked' why wasn't it safe 'ashore'?
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 13:21
  #57 (permalink)  
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Aircraft Carriers

But glojo, haven't you heard? We're broke. The highly respected Robert Chote of the OBR virtually said as much. And when we eventually do get the two new aircraft carriers a few years from now, we'll be even more broke. It ain't good but we're just going to have to get used to it. Things ain't what they were.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 14:30
  #58 (permalink)  
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Simple fact is, SoS requires as far as reasonably practicable, that mil crew duty regs have to be as stringent as civil ones. I suspect this is due to the fact we very often fly in civil airspace in support of ops.

If you are based well away from the action, and decent accommodation is available, why not base crews somewhere comfortable? our crew duty limits are long enough already without having to unnecessarily suck it up with the det.

Or are these self licking lollipops that spring up around the bizarres more about demonstrating trades and branches are operationally required when really they are not when you have crews located in hotac. Certainly no need for tac admin, fs discips and the plethora of other unnecessary and more importantly expensive hangers on that seem to ruin dets when they appear?

I do wonder whether these dwr posts are morew about demonstrating their respective trades or branches are operationally essential, when the simple truth is we could operate at half the cost if they stayed at home.

Last edited by VinRouge; 24th Sep 2012 at 14:33.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 14:41
  #59 (permalink)  
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I suspect much of the issue surrounded the complete lack of planning for the start of the Op, the complete dismissal of the CAG process and the fact that the Loggies were prevented from being represented on the recce. Of course it would have been possible to set up a perfectly comfortable tented camp. However, these things do not spring up overnight and require a considerable amount of prep, in terms of ground preparation (by the RE), shipping of the tented camp, infrastructure and building time. This Op was due to be a swift starter hence the quick and easy answer to go into available HOTAC. That all assumes that the MOD possesses a tented camp that is available after previous purchases have been trashed while on other ops!

Last edited by Jumping_Jack; 24th Sep 2012 at 14:42.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 14:49
  #60 (permalink)  
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And the subtle point that contracted billing arrangements (portakabins and power generation sets) cost twice as much even on a long term basis that the equivalent cost of putting crews downtown. Seen the cost of 1 MWh on a short term contract basis? It's not cheap.
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