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Number of RAF Aircraft

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Number of RAF Aircraft

Old 2nd May 2019, 06:26
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Number of RAF Aircraft

Having done a quick count from a few sources I estimate the number of aircraft in the RAF now to be about 1000. That includes operational types of all sorts plus trainers, unmanned, etc. Anyone got any info or want to hazard a guess regarding numbers in 1970s - 1980s Cold War days?
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Old 2nd May 2019, 08:02
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Check back copies of Flight.... they publish an annual summary of all the worlds air forces....
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Old 2nd May 2019, 09:37
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Here's a quick orbat for exactly 40 years ago;

1 Group

Vulcan B2 = 68

Victor K2 = 18

Buccaneer S2 = 48

Hunter T7 = 12

Canberra PR7 = 8

Canberra PR9 = 8

Canberra T4 = 10

Jaguar GR1/T2 = 52

Harrier GR3/T4 = 26

Hercules C1 = 40

Puma HC1 = 22

Wessex HC2 = 30

VC-10 = 10

Andover = 4

Argosy E1 = 3



11 Group

Lightning F3/T5/F6 = 69

Phantom FGR2 = 60

Phantom FG1 = 32

Canberra T17 = 10

Canberra TT18 = 20

Shackleton AEW 2 = 7

Hunter F6/F6A/T7 = 50

18 Group

Nimrod MR1 = 42

Nimrod R1 = 3

Wessex HC2 = 15

Sea King HAR3 = 18

RAF Germany

Jaguar GR1/T2 = 65

Buccaneer S2 = 24

Harrier GR3/T4 = 38

Phantom FGR2 = 24

Pembroke = 4

HS 125 = 4

Andover CC2 = 4

Support Command

Hawk T1 = 40

Jet Provost = 120

Jetstream T1 = 18

Dominie T1 = 12

Bulldog T1 = 50

Chipmunk T10 = 40

Gazelle T2 = 20

Gnat T1 = 11

Hope that gives an accurate picture, many of the figures are approximate to the number of operating units and in terms of the Strike Command and RAFG units, very close based on UEs. But is a realistic inventory by type.

Best regards,

FB

Last edited by Finningley Boy; 2nd May 2019 at 09:45. Reason: UPDATE
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Old 2nd May 2019, 09:39
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Today is around 675 according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...itary_aircraft
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Old 2nd May 2019, 09:52
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My thoughts on 40 years ago... sh-- thats a lot of hangar space!
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Old 2nd May 2019, 10:04
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Drifting the thread a tad but forty years ago we had about three times the personnel than today (approx. 95K then, 33K today).
But the aircraft fleet was, at most, about 70% larger (see FinningleyBoy's post & add up…)
So, arguably, we have a more "efficient" force today? Hat, coat....
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Old 2nd May 2019, 10:08
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In the good old days....

Sorry, only joking. I have no doubt the capabilities of our current RAF much exceed what we had in these times (Nuclear capability excepted of course).

Interesting nonetheless. Enjoy the 600 or so here!

https://www.forces.net/news/raf/our-...on-review-1953
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Old 2nd May 2019, 10:14
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How many are serviceable and how many current and combat ready crews?
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Old 2nd May 2019, 10:48
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Originally Posted by Bigpants View Post
How many are serviceable and how many current and combat ready crews?
At what time do you want to know how many are serviceable?. Time must be known as serviceability states vary throughout the day.

As to how many CR crews we have, as Gavin Williamson.

Last edited by ZH875; 2nd May 2019 at 10:49. Reason: Spelling error
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Old 2nd May 2019, 11:45
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
Here's a quick orbat for exactly 40 years ago;

1 Group

Hercules C1 = 40

Support Command

Jetstream T1 = 18

Dominie T1 = 12

Those figures are incorrect. The RAF originally had 66 C-130. By 1979 we had lost 4 (Fairford XV180, Pisa XV216, Tromsų XV194, Colerne XV198).

WRT the Jetstreams, 26 were initially ordered, of which XX477 was lost at Little Rissington in 1974. The aircraft were mothballed at the end of 1974 with 14 being passed to the RN for Observer trg.

WRT the Dominie, 20 were ordered and in service in 1979. XS732/B was scrapped in 1992 and XS714/P declared U/S in 1994.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 13:13
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Jetstreams were still in service at Finningley until August 1995 when the station closed.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 13:25
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Indeed, although a bit later than August. The Jetstreams (45(R)Sqn) moved in October and the Dominies (later becoming 55(R)Sqn) moved in November to Cranditz.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 13:41
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Didn't we have more than 40 Chipmunks back then, with FSS and all the AEF units 40 seems a little light?
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Old 2nd May 2019, 14:45
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After the 74/75 Defence Review, the AT Hercs and VC 10s numbers were a mix of established aircraft (AE) and In-Use Reserves (IUR). For the VC 10, we retained all 13 aircraft, 11AE and 2 IUR - and I fear I've forgotten the Herc numbers. (The 14th VC 10 of the original buy had departed in 1969 to serve as the airtest vehicle for the RB 211 engine and never did return. And I'm pretty certain that, by 1979, the ex-civilian VC 10s eventually destined for 101 Sqn in the AAR role had begun to arrive at Brize, but they would certainly not count for the purposes of this comparison.)
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Old 2nd May 2019, 14:57
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The Civilian VC10s bound for 101 Sqn were stored IIRC at Abingdon before being moved to Filton for the conversion work (I remember seeing them in the Brabazon hangar in the early 1980s).

AFAIK 101 Sqn didn't receive its first K2 until May 1984 and its first K3 until Feb 1985.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 16:11
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Originally Posted by ExAscoteer View Post
Those figures are incorrect. The RAF originally had 66 C-130. By 1979 we had lost 4 (Fairford XV180, Pisa XV216, Tromsų XV194, Colerne XV198).

WRT the Jetstreams, 26 were initially ordered, of which XX477 was lost at Little Rissington in 1974. The aircraft were mothballed at the end of 1974 with 14 being passed to the RN for Observer trg.

WRT the Dominie, 20 were ordered and in service in 1979. XS732/B was scrapped in 1992 and XS714/P declared U/S in 1994.
The 40 quoted in FinningleyBoy's list specify C1 - I'm wondering if the C3's (the stretch) fell off the list. Guessing they were about a third of the fleet back then so 40 C1 and 20 C3 sounds about right....
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Old 2nd May 2019, 17:31
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Ah Mr Ascot, I did say many of the figures were approximate in accordance with typical Squadron UEs at the time and I'm sure there were undeclared reserve airframes outside the declared orbat at any one time. Further, I have to admit outside 1 Group, 2 Group, 18 Group and RAFG figures is where I tend to be a little hazy round the edges, I forgot to work in about 10 to 12 Wessex and Pumas a piece in Germany.

Best regards,

FB
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Old 4th May 2019, 00:07
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FWIW. When I held at Lyneham after OCTU in 1969. There was a large sign in the mess: "Fly Ascot, the largest fleet in Europe." And it was. No other airline larger. I was a proud passenger for several years. Happy days!!
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Old 4th May 2019, 08:06
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Originally Posted by Treble one View Post
Sorry, only joking. I have no doubt the capabilities of our current RAF much exceed what we had in these times.
On individual missions you may be correct. Tanker for tanker, more reliable and more give away,

Fighter for fighter, or bomber for bomber too, but fighter-bomber for bomber and fughter , I am not sure. However you might argue that we are unlikely to need bombers and fighters at the same time.

But the situation might be likened to 1940. Deploy your fighters forward and have no home defence.

As an aside, I know that Typhoon sans were slated to be either fighter or bomber with some being swing role. Did that happen, or are they all swing role?

With modern deployment you can't load the bomber role exclusively on some sqns for the Syrian mission and others for the fighter role for the Baltic mission.
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Old 4th May 2019, 08:46
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Originally Posted by ihoharv View Post
That wiki data is massively out of date. For example 82 Hawk T1s out of 82 - I suspect it is more like 30 these days. Also, the 60 Vikings is more like 30 something. So I suspect the 675 is closer 500 when you look at the more front line types (for which the numbers are more close hold).
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