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Still broken? Is the RAF in better or worse shape than ten years ago

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Still broken? Is the RAF in better or worse shape than ten years ago

Old 2nd May 2018, 12:01
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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The Armed Forces mantra at present is 'Managing Decline', the RAF is a subset of that.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 12:08
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Traditionally the VSO in the RAF were from the cohorts that had trained for 3 years as cadets. In 1990 they led an air force of over 100,000. Shortly after the numbers dropped to under 60,000 and the last of these cohorts will have retired a few years ago. The strength is now below 35,000.

The point is that the pool from which VSO are appointed has declined to third; admittedly the RAF 4* posts are now only CAS/CinC Air Command.

Will this impact on leadership capability, especially as the proportion of capable SNCO/JO/SO who chose to leave early is probably greater in relation to the strength now?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 14:28
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
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!
I think the 1990 orbat represented the final Cold Wat force structure - prior to cuts being imposed - rather than a deliberately scaled force structured to meet some considered Post Cold War blueprint.

You could argue that a sensible post Cold War restructuring would have scythed armour, and perhaps even the strategic 'Moscow-capable' deterrent, while leaving agile, deployable air power unscathed to meet the challenges of what would inevitably be a more unstable world. In my dreams, anyway!

But in the event the fast jet force was reduced, and it is the 2004 situation that seemed to represent a sensible post Cold War strength, nearly matching resources to sensible planning assumptions, and configured to meet that considered Post Cold War blueprint.

As you pointed out:

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.
About 18 Fast Jet Squadrons would seem to me to be 'about right' to be able to do what the UK aspires to do - leaving a capability to do a Granby-sized op, or to sustain a 'Warden' and a Balkans simultaneously.

Personally I'd have kept an air launched deterrent - albeit with a 'nuke Storm Shadow' replacing a WE177-type weapon at some point around the Millennium. No. you might not be able to bring Armageddon to Moscow, and yes, you'd be vulnerable to a Russian first strike, but it would be enough to deter and enough to 'deserve' a seat at the top table. And Mr Corbyn and his ilk could have enjoyed the real reduction in nuclear capability, perhaps?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 14:56
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Originally Posted by VinRouge View Post
No, but we could flatten the German trenches, take out all their aircraft on the ground, take out their command headquarters and the Reichstag before 5 pm tea and sarnies. Whilst conducting an info ops campaign on their radio frequencies and deploy a huge field hospital delivering first class critical care.

It's not about numbers.
Doesn't that kind of assume that our German friends are just going to sit around eating sausage and drinking beer while we do all this?

What chance would our forces realistically have against a credible and determined adversary? Or to put it another way, what countries could we consider our equals in terms of fighting capability on neutral territory?
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Old 2nd May 2018, 14:59
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Look at the German Air force, only got 4 Typhoons it can offer to NATO, not much use.
What was the old reason for originally forming NATO, keep the Russians out and the Americans and the Germans in.
"sigh".
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Old 2nd May 2018, 15:07
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Originally Posted by Mad As A Mad Thing View Post
Doesn't that kind of assume that our German friends are just going to sit around eating sausage and drinking beer while we do all this?

What chance would our forces realistically have against a credible and determined adversary? Or to put it another way, what countries could we consider our equals in terms of fighting capability on neutral territory?
I suppose I will answer a question by asking a question. Never say never, but how feasible do you consider full-scale, single nation (no allies) state on state war these days?

I would say its pretty unlikely. Its worth pointing out the UK is exceptionally niche at what it does very well and those things are appreciated by our allies I suspect.

The OP was reminiscing about having 20,000 sopwith camels or something. Firstly, I dont see how those aircraft could be used in multiple roles. Secondly, the pensions bill for the maintainers and pilots at a 2 to one manning ratio alone would bankrupt the country. Finally, the glue and string wouldnt meet first contact post Haddon-Cave with the MAA. Far too flammable.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 15:22
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What was the old reason for originally forming NATO, keep the Russians out and the Americans and the Germans in.
Close. To keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down. Or so the story goes...
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Old 2nd May 2018, 17:25
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Originally Posted by Jimlad1 View Post
Oh for gods sake, you watched but didnt LISTEN. If you'd paid any attention you'd have learned that the ship is on her very initial sea trials and they were making sure she works, is fit for purpose and can safely embark an airwing. Thats why no fixed wing were embarked on this very early set of sea trials - identical in scope to every other aircraft carrier built in history.

Its akin to expecting a Typhoon fresh out of build at Warton to immediately fill up with munitions and go bomb somewhere without having had a test flight first.

Yes I did. We will see. At the end of it's sea trials (incidently some time ago) no aircraft were assigned to the ship. They still have not, nor do we have any. Not for a very long time. Read the news my friend. It was madness hastily giving away our Harriers (for twopence) before we had anything to replace them with. That was the Government wanted to make short term gains.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 21:20
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Sharpend

It (HMS QE) is STILL doing Sea Trials as and when, (its still effectively a prototype) and has yet to finish them. Which it will do once its been over the pond to conduct trials with the future aircraft that will fly off it later this year. By the way the first Sqn to operate off it has reformed and will be arriving in Norfolk sometime this summer.

Oh and Yes we do have them, 15 at the last count with 17 Sqn at Edwards which is the Test And Evaluation Sqn and the now reformed 617 Sqn do keep up with credible news items.

As for Harriers too late they have gone and ain't coming back. TTTFN
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Old 2nd May 2018, 21:59
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QEC completed initial sea trials till late laat year to make sure the basics worked. She then did more troals woth about 8 helos embarked to esrablish RW operating limits and make sure she can support helo ops and other things like rough weather trials etc. Now they know this critical informatipn, she is doing a short upkeep period like all ships, then embarking jets in the summer.

its almost like the RN has over 100 years experience in trials needed to ensure a carrier is safe to embark and operate airceaft isnt it?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 07:31
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I hope that the QE's computers are better than yours.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 12:50
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Originally Posted by India Four Two View Post
In 1918, the RAF inherited 22,000 aircraft. Has it been all downhill from there?

How many aircraft in todayís RAF?

Would their Airships be able to launch 100 frontline types today?
Don't forget I42 that there was an early post WWI SDSR which removed approx 90% of the newly formed RAF's aircraft from service.

Fortunately Trenchard and Churchill got together to keep the RAF as an independent fighting force...albeit with no money to spend....
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Old 3rd May 2018, 13:08
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Originally Posted by esscee View Post
Look at the German Air force, only got 4 Typhoons it can offer to NATO, not much use.
Observing that adversaries may also be woefully unable to function reminds me of a Luftwaffe staff officer's diary entry in summer 1944 which, if memory serves, went along the lines of "Our only hope is that the chiefs of staff of the enemy air forces are as scatter-brained as ours"...didn't turn out well for the Germans...
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Old 3rd May 2018, 13:32
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This bit of the telegraph article was interesting....

All but 10 of the fighters are suffering from serious issues with their automated systems. Cooling fluid is leaking from sensors in the wings that are supposed to detect enemy aircraft, making the sensors unreliable.

The problem could be easily repaired, but engineers are unable to source the necessary parts because the manufacturer has gone out of business.


Really ?
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Old 3rd May 2018, 15:09
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OLD AND BOLD

Having a quick car wash this morning wondering why no Hawks in the sky, and then from the north came 'that unmistakeable sound' of a powerful machine at low level.
Seconds later a Tornado creamed overhead (full stores and tanks) going like a B O O H at about 300ft.
I immediately thought about this thread and what has been said. It was difficult to comprehend how long these machines have been in front line service and yet I got the feeling that here was a fighting machine with a capable crew that could still do the business, and looked the part. Much more impressive than a 100 year fly past.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 15:57
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
Having a quick car wash this morning wondering why no Hawks in the sky, and then from the north came 'that unmistakeable sound' of a powerful machine at low level.
Seconds later a Tornado creamed overhead (full stores and tanks) going like a B O O H at about 300ft.
I immediately thought about this thread and what has been said. It was difficult to comprehend how long these machines have been in front line service and yet I got the feeling that here was a fighting machine with a capable crew that could still do the business, and looked the part. Much more impressive than a 100 year fly past.
I fully agree with you and I have been saying that for a long time. Some of the responses pointed out that Tornado operation could not be sustained due to the severe manning shortages etc. Yes it is getting old but that is not the real issue as it is still extremely capable. Money is the real issue.
Unfortunately the decision to withdraw it from March next year is irreversible and we must hope that the Project Centurion Typhoon jets will give the same level of service for many years to come
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Old 3rd May 2018, 16:41
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Lets face it, we are screwed, we no longer have the capability to fight a sustained or even short war against anyone with an equivalent capability, its ok bombing the crap put of third world sh*tholes, but going up against a country that can shoot back, we wouldn't stand a chance.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 18:01
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Lets face it, we are screwed, we no longer have the capability to fight a sustained or even short war against anyone with an equivalent capability, its ok bombing the crap put of third world sh*tholes, but going up against a country that can shoot back, we wouldn't stand a chance.
But....isn't that why we are spending all those billions on the F35???
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Old 3rd May 2018, 19:41
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Nutloose

Iím sure the guys and girls would thank you for your vote of confidence.

Perhaps its itís more likely that we have reached a situation of cascading mutually assured destruction.

We we all realise that thereís little point using nukes against people with nukes. It would seem equally futile nowadays to go up against a similarly equipped adversary in the air to air environment and probably in the ground environment as well, since it would always utilise the third dimension. I canít speak for naval power but I could believe a similar scenario.

Perhaps, due to large multi national alliances the idea of a state vs state war is just far more unlikely than it ever was.

Iím not stupid enough to believe the planet will become a more peaceful place as time goes on (Iíd say the exact opposite is true) but name me one country of a similar stature to ourselves that we could realistically see ourselves at war with on a 1 v 1 basis in the next 100 years.

BV
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Old 3rd May 2018, 20:20
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BV, remember the various war options: wars of necessity and wars of choice. The Falklands was arguably the former though, as a n overseas territory we could have left them to their fate.

Kuwait, like Poland, was a war of moral choice.

Now which first world power might involve us in a war of necessity? Spain is a possibility as are Turkey or Greece over the SBAs. Of choice? A country with whom we have a mutual assistance treat, say one of the former colonies? We can discount Africa as they are not first world class opponents. We can also discount the Middle East which really leaves the Far East. Our commitment is probably the traditional Malaysian one with a threat from the North rather than the south.

In essence, apart from maintaining a policing role against Russia, the balance of our forces is probably adequate for the more likely different role in our areas of interest. What we have to hope is that our bluff isn't called.
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