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More info on Astra

Old 14th Sep 2020, 17:40
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More info on Astra

Just read this with a bit of a chuckle and grimace: https://armadainternational.com/2020...yal-air-force/

Not sure where the RAFís 18 helicopter types are either? I make it Chinook, Puma, A109, Griffin, Juno, Jupiter - 6? Even with FAA and AAC Apache, Wildcat, Dauphin and Merlin then I make that 9? Also, not sure how I would feel as a Reaper Sensor Operator right now being told I could do other things like ATCO or Computer Operator, and they could do my job - one wonders if the good Air Marshal has ever flown ISTAR missions or RPAS to qualify such Ďvisioní?
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 17:52
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I also didn't know the RAF had 100 Dominies -unless he means de Havilland Dominies and he's talking about the 1940s.

He's very liberal with his numbers, isn't he?
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 18:01
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Good bit of institutional self-harm in his speech:

...getting out of the 1930s environment where we have 68 branches and trades...
Great - suggest to any and all external reader that the RAF has stuck rigidly to the branches and trades of the 1930s. Meanwhile, back in the real world, there has been near-constant re-brigading, re-structuring, re-skillling, multi-skilling, out-of-branch, out-of-trade, 'jointery' and renaming to the point of institutional dizziness.

About the only branch I can think of that is roughly titled and structured in the same way is reflected in the badge on his left breast. Unfortunately he is only in tune with the right tit.

The number of helo fleets looks like hard double-digit adding-up. I got stuck trying to count the 8 different airlift fleets.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 18:27
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Heís also barely light blue...

A helicopter pilot with 5100 flying hours, he has flown 1850 of those on 19 operational tours in Northern Ireland, Central America, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, India, Albania, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has commanded 28 (AC) Sqn, RAF Odiham, the UK Merlin and UK Chinook Forces, the Special Forces Aviation Wing, the Puma Force in Kosovo, Merlin Force in Iraq, the Chinook, Apache, Lynx and Sea King Forces in Afghanistan and No 22 Group. Para trained he has completed staff appointments in the UK MoD as the Director of Defence operations and in planning and media, PJHQ as the head of military planning, Washington as CDSí Liaison Officer and in brigade, division and corps headquarters.
One does wonder with this question ďHow do you transform an institution like the Royal Air Force (RAF), steeped in history and awash with legends Ė both in terms of aircraft and those who flew them?Ē

Answer, bring in someone who has spent more time in their Service career serving in support of the Army!
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 18:40
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Originally Posted by Corporal Clott View Post
He’s also barely light blue...

One does wonder with this question “How do you transform an institution like the Royal Air Force (RAF), steeped in history and awash with legends – both in terms of aircraft and those who flew them?

Answer, bring in someone who has spent more time in their Service career serving in support of the Army!
I can guarantee that Andy Turner is as RAF as anyone else wearing the uniform. Just because a whole load of people have spent time outside the ‘core’ RAF doesn’t mean they’re any lesser a person. What is the ‘core’ anyway? A fast-jet jock? A multi pilot? Does that make them any better at understanding the needs? No, if anything Andy Turner is better placed because he’s seen it from other sides.

Actually, just to add, your implication is that any SH crew is disqualified from being ‘real’ RAF. Get over yourself and join the real Air Force. It’s far more Joint these days and SH crews are those doing some proper work so the implication that they’re lesser people is insulting.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 18:42
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So this isn’t about Bruggen’s cinema then...

He didn’t say all fleets, Wessex must have been close to 100. As for types one could imagine he also meant variants of which in the chinook alone their are several

Last edited by NutLoose; 14th Sep 2020 at 18:53.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 19:23
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MG - you are having a laugh aren’t you? It’s a bit like having a 4-star that’s never been a Stn Cdr or AOC, or a Cos Pers that’s a dentist?

Don’t forget this is the same individual that had the ‘vision’ that brought us the disastrous RAF Clothing Collection - info here from a previous thread: More RAF Clothing.... To quote the papers at the time “it’s a bit like Ralph Lauren” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ion-label.html

Then there was the equally disastrous “RAF Spirit of Adventure” that also had his fingerprints on it - previous thread Spirit of Adventure Mischievously known as the “Spirit of Misadventure” here is a press clip:
The inaugural Spirit of Adventure in Abingdon was a weekend of two halves as the best of British took to the skies on Saturday, the first day of the spectacle, and the skies served up the worst of British weather on Sunday.

Thousands enjoyed the unique spectacle as the stars of the show, the Royal Air Force, thrilled the crowd with stunning aerial displays by planes including Typhoon, Tornado, E3D Sentry and Hawk. The Battle For Britain interactive blockbuster proved the revelation of the event as film and live action combined to create a stunning display that left the crowd unable to tell where reality stopped and fantasy began.
The Red Arrows closed the show on Saturday performing their exciting and breathtaking new display for the first time in 2007.

Group Captain Andy Turner “I am really pleased how the event went on Saturday. From talking to members of the crowd thousands of people enjoyed themselves watching the spectacular Red Arrows in their first major show of the year. I was also very impressed with the Battle For Britain film. This was our first excursion into major film-making involving some very complex choreography of live aircraft, ground-displays and awesome pyrotechnics.”

On Sunday the British weather dealt a cruel blow with the conditions proving too inclement for the show to go ahead. Overnight very low cloud and heavy rain came into the area and the Met Office advised that this would only get worse throughout the day. If we chose to go ahead with the event and ignore the weather, the planes would have flown but the cloud would have prevented the audience from seeing the displays. After agonising deliberation the organisers concluded that the only sensible decision was to cancel the event on the Sunday.

All ticket holders for the Sunday will be entitled to a refund of the ticket face value by contacting the point of purchase.
This is what one punter wrote about it:
I went today, and paid to get in. By the time I'd paid my parking fee and driven over the grass several miles, I was wondering if I was in the right place. The complete lack of a crowd was noticeable. I paid the disinterested and obviously bored staff, and was confronted, at 11 o'clock in the morning, by people leaving and one group demanding their money back. Apparently Toady Jervis had published a map via the Herald local newspaper website with with Dr Who, Star Trek and other TV show stands on it, and some fans were disappointed not to see ANY of the stands there. Lie number 1.

I ran into an old air show freind of many years expereince and we compared notes on the crowd, 9 rows of 52 cars (yes, we counted!) makes for 1,872 people at 4 people per car. The RAF estimated 50,000 a day on its website after the Horseguards launch of the SOA, and JEM estimated 25,000 per day. Staff were then overheard telling people at least 8,000 people had been there today. Lie number 2.

The spectacular car action consited of 6 European NASCARs of dubious quality being driven up and down and doing the odd cowboy donut. Ho hum, deadly dull, except for the all-body RAF and Typhoon logo wearing Ford Fiesta, which was a gem of pathetic marketing and embarrasing "yoof" culture.

Jervis is quoted on his website as claiming that this would also be a shopping specacular. This consisted of the RAF clothing collection, the Red Arrows ground crew stand, and the Red Arrows Marketing Company stand. Lots of choice then, and lie number 3.

Conversations by my colleague with staff at the show revealed and interesting fact. The movie that was to save the day and be the centrepiece of the show was delivered late by JEM. This was also one of the reasons that the original show in August 06 was cancelled, it had not been finished. Despite the limited and hard to find pre-event press talking about an hour or 90 minute hollywood-style blockbuster film, the actual film delivered by JEM was under half an hour, and consisted mostly of Andy Turner and Terry Jervis in newsroom-style interviews. Terry Jervis may be many things, but a screen presenter he is not. Andy Turner may now hold a record for ums and ers in a pre-recorded video. Deadly dull, but a good high profile for the two gentlemen involved. In order to pad the film out, DDefPub staff spent Wednesday of last week in the Old War Office Building, splicing pieces of old RAF information films into the so called blockbuster movie, giving it about a 55 minute length. These splices had no relevant soundtrack, so on the day, the commentator had to improvise voiceovers, which sounded terrible in conjunction with the set soundtrack in the rest of the movie. There wan no interactivity at all, despite everyone concerned stressing this was a vital feature of the film. You sat and watched, and were deeply confused, then laughing out loud at the pitiful acting and appaling boys-own storyline. No aliens were involved, despite the JEM site pronouncements, and no interactivity becomes lie number 4.

The flying was pedestrian in nature and so far away as to be un-photographable. The much vaunted dogfight was two F3s, each following a Hawk in lazy circles at about 2,000 feet. The pyrotechnics set off in time to the RAF Regiment mortars and GR4 flypasts at least made my son jump, but thats all. Many of the aircraft in the published programme were simply not there.

I could go on, but the list of things that were promised but were not there, and the list of blatant mis-information about this show and its content would fill a small book.

Andy Turner should be made to show his accounts on this fiasco. Terry Jervis has proved himself an incapable shyster of the worst stripe. I would like to know why the RAF still has him contracted after his failure to produce this show last year, two magazine projects, a clothing range of any quality and most crucialy, a movie of acceptable length and quality to base a £25 a head show on. He should be asked to return the funds paid to him and be removed from his contract for so many clear breaches. I doubt this will happen, largely because of Jervis's colour, no one wants the racist slur cast at them do they?
Then there is his involvement with UK MFTS - you know, that system that will “deliver top-end, total role conversion”. Here is one of many articles on the subject: https://www.flightglobal.com/analysi...117639.article Or http://www.helicopters.airbus.com/we...MFTS_1995.html

Retirement is on short finals for me, so I will watch with interest as this unravels. I just hope it will be 4th time lucky for Astra, but I’m not too confident from what I’ve read about it so far. Sometimes people say “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” - I hope they are right!
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 19:29
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
So this isnít about Bruggenís cinema then...

He didnít say all fleets, Wessex must have been close to 100. As for types one could imagine he also meant variants of which in the chinook alone their are several
If that is the case then how do you square the loop with 14 different ISR types? I make that Reaper (we donít own any Protectors yet), Sentry, Shadow, Sentinel, D4K, Islander, RJ and Poseidon. That is 8 - including all marks? If I go tri-Service I can add Crowsnest Merlin. If I really stretch it, then add F35B to make 10. No where near close to 14!
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 19:32
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Cpl C, your accusation was that his experience was invalid because he’d spent a lot of time being away from the RAF, despite him being an RAF flt cdr, sqn cdr, and stn cdr. The insinuation was that those who don’t spend all of their lives in the RAF bubble don’t have a valid contribution to the future of the RAF. That is clearly wrong.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 19:59
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Originally Posted by MG View Post
Cpl C, your accusation was that his experience was invalid because he’d spent a lot of time being away from the RAF, despite him being an RAF flt cdr, sqn cdr, and stn cdr. The insinuation was that those who don’t spend all of their lives in the RAF bubble don’t have a valid contribution to the future of the RAF. That is clearly wrong.
That is a fair shout, but again, does not being a Stn Cdr and AOC make you good for CAS or not being a Personnel Officer, and being a Dental Officer, make you a good Chief of Staff Personnel? If you look at the CV from the RAF website, it does look very brown and purple, does that make you the right person for making a vision for the core RAF having spent most of your career in JHC and the wider Joint areas?

I would offer ‘no’ to all of the above. I may be wrong, but such radical change will only go one of two ways.

The senior leadership positions are the greatest ‘apprenticeships’ that exist in the RAF - surely experience/knowledge of the core parts of it are key to a successful transformation? I would have said that his experience grooms him better for VCDS/CDS than being one of 3 at the top end of pure light blue? That is no dig at the individuals, but more a dig at putting the right eggs in the right egg cups.

I really can’t fathom the Service over the past 10 years with such appetite to tear up the way things are done with scant regard for the detail. It would be fine if things work, but they don’t - JPA, PAY16, DIO, MFTS, to name but a few have all been utter disasters. Each have seen the Sqn Ldr - Gp Capt staff ‘experts’ be poo-pooed and the ‘visionary’ Air Officer being allowed to run with it. Each time it has failed. Why? I would offer that a lack of experience to properly challenge has been a major part of that failure.

As for prior performance, surely that is relevant if the whole future of the RAF is being rested on this plan or campaign? The problem is, people often blindly follow such without questioning it; often the wrong kind of people, too.
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 20:26
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Re. the S o A at Abingdon Press report - can't have been much of a spectacle with lots of carpenter's tools flying through the air. Aeroplanes, or if you insist, aircraft, would have been much better. Can't blame them, I suppose, with the fashion for substituting 'jets' for 'planes'. If 'jets', why not 'pistons' or 'rotors' as appropriate? Sloppy is ,as sloppy does!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 09:22
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I thought ASTRA was just a vanity project! I didnít realise that it could bring more with less, how cool is that. In 20 years time the RAF will be where it should have been at least two decades ago.
In the meantime I do hope that nobody is caught with their britches down during the next 20 years. That would embarrassing, and would lead to a text book on failed theories for future management courses; a modern day ĎBig Wingí.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 09:51
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When my wife is bored with the mundane tasks of day to day life she sits down and plans a holiday or to buy something expensive and unnecessary (to be fair I am not completely absolved from guilt on this front). I would rather we had a programme focused on having more than 2 jets on the line to service the flying programme and more than 6 hours a month for aircrew than a "conceptual journey that is about rebuilding the airforce brain". Don't get me wrong, there is some good stuff in there but I feel it is mostly a nice shiny vanity project that allows Senior Officers to let out all their Staff College excitement whilst not getting their hands dirty dealing with current issues.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:09
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I left just as the virus hit, but I doubt anything has changed.
Is this guy getting out there and meeting real people, or is he just being nodded at by all the bottom feeders, and completely oblivious to the ground truth? Somehow I think itís all about Knighthoods and next appointments by the Senior Team now, than it is for reputation and results. I donít think Iím wrong.
Two hours in the Mallard could sort out the whole mess!!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:28
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You should follow his Twitter feed. Great in talking total Bollox . God help us if he is the next CAS!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:44
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Haha, is he a war leader do you think or one that has the knack with words?
Iíd have paid to see these chumps in the chamber with the new generation. Snowflakes or not, they were like sponges as I left Brize. I wonder what it will be like when the first snowflakes get up there, or will there be zero difference?


Merciless banter, and proof that itís getting out of hand now.

Last edited by Countdown begins; 15th Sep 2020 at 11:00.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 12:23
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Andy Turner's problem is that he makes no effort to connect any of his grand visions with deliverable reality. Anyone can make grand, sweeping statements of ambition without any thought whatsoever. Like this: "the RAF will establish deployed operating bases in the five nearest star systems by 2080"... there you go, call it a 'stretch target' or a 'challenge' and off we go. You may scoff but he seems to make no more effort than I have just done to understand the implications of his musings, which in my view are intended only to burnish his credentials as a "transformational" leader and lack any consideration for his leadership role of real people grinding out real, boring and vital programmes. Sure, society needs genuine visionaries; however society (and specifically the RAF as it faces huge budgetary pressure and the birthing pains of a new generation of aircraft) also needs leadership equipped to deliver as well as pontificate.

Last edited by Easy Street; 15th Sep 2020 at 13:47.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 12:39
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It doesnít help when the nodding-dog bottom feeders also skew the truth. If they havenít sat down face to face with those they ultimately may sacrifice then they now do not know their game.
I certainly saw no visits in my last 12 months,and that was probably 24 months, except I wasnít at home very much before I started resettlement.
Thereís a newspaper report somewhere that states each of our services have more 1*s than the US equivalent service. Not enough avionics to fix the kit, but plenty of much more expensive people to talk about it. Iím not saying the grass is greener here, but when it comes to money there is nowhere near the wastage I saw in the Service.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 15:59
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To take one simple example, the fleet within fleet issue (assuming that's what he means), perhaps he should gather together the brightest Requirements Managers from the 3 Services, and set them the question 'How to achieve onboard avionics commonality on QE Class carriers?' But, who would mark their papers?
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 16:15
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Sounds like he would be ideal "Sir Humphrey" material. Heaven help us, where are the leaders we need? Look where "Whitehall operators" have got us.
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