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RAF combat aircraft numbers

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RAF combat aircraft numbers

Old 17th Mar 2022, 15:47
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
No it didn't. I happen to know a little about this as I was "holding staff support" as I awaited my exit from the mob during the work done leading up to the 75 Defence Review. Working with some folk in main building who had previously been involved in the closure of Manby, Oakington and Spitalgate. Abingdon was nothing to do with the Strategic transport fleet at the time of the Mason cuts, and none of the units at Abingdon were slated for closure or even down sizing. The Andovers had departed for Thorney Island years previously, and the units there were all support units; No. 1 PTS, JATE, UKMAMS, RAF Movements School, and London UAS had just moved in with its associated AEF from White Waltham. So the 75 review certainly did not leave Abingdon surplus. The main problem was Brize Norton. With the phasing out of the Britannia fleet, and eventually the Belfasts (they were originally to have stayed and the Hercules fleet been reduced), Brize was left with just what was going to be a much smaller 10 Sqn and the associated VC10 bits of 241 OCU. There was serious consideration to moving 10 Sqn to Lyneham and closing Brize Norton altogether. But the decision (after NATO had complained at the cuts) to retain the Hercules fleet at approx 60, and the VC10 fleet at 13, plus the move of 242 OCU from Thorney island to Lyneham, rendered that proposal unworkable, so the decision was taken instead to move the units from Abingdon into Brize Norton, along with 38 Group TCW from Benson and 115 Sqn from Cottesmore, and move the units from Bicester and Leconfield into the now vacated Abingdon, thus allowing Bicester and Leconfield to close. There was quite a political flurry to enable Labour to announce that they were closing 12 RAF stations, mainly to placate their extreme Left wing who had been promised substantial defence cuts, and to help disguise the fact that there were no actual reductions in front line combat forces.
Thus Bicester, Leconfield and Thorney Island were vacated and were able to be added to the closure list, a silly list really as it included places like Driffield that had been on care and maintenance for decades, Biggin Hill which didn't actually close, West Raynham, which stayed open but the flying units moved out, and Chessington that also didn't actually close for years.
So Abingdon was never under threat of closure, but the mad rush to ensure that Brize Norton stayed open, and to be able to announce a closure list of 12 stations, was the reason for the move of the Abingdon units. I actually staffed a paper that proposed moving the units from Leconfield and Bicester direct to Brize Norton, thus saving quite a bit of relocation expenditure and disruption, but was ignored as I was a Flight Lieutenant fast jet pilot who clearly didn't know what he was talking about...
Sorry about this verbosity, but it was a fascinating and weird time for me, and I was there...
I stand corrected, but was not the arrival of the maintenance role and BD repair unit which meant Abingdon had a long term future?

FB
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Old 17th Mar 2022, 16:30
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
My previous. To get back to Cold War levels of tax, you'd need something like 14p Us old folk had it hard. In my day.....(insert appropriate moan)
Herod, No combined Tax and NI peaked at 36% it is currently 32%
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Old 17th Mar 2022, 16:35
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Originally Posted by Buster15 View Post
Regarding the Tornado numbers.
The official figures were - IDS 220 ADV 165 making 385. But production ran until 1995/6 and a number of the F2 ADV were withdrawn early. So not 400 jets.
There were additional buys of both ADV and IDS variants for the RAF over and above the original 385. Some may well have fallen foul of the reductions following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, but the orders were certainly placed, more than one of each variant.

Those totals quoted in the OP certainly bear no relation to the totals in service with the RAF in 1990. But to all those moaning of the loss of numbers in the RAF of now as compared to 1990, EVERY Air Force on the planet has experienced similar reductions, this was not an exercise confined to the uK, or even NATO, it was global.
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Old 17th Mar 2022, 16:38
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
I stand corrected, but was not the arrival of the maintenance role and BD repair unit which meant Abingdon had a long term future?

FB
Abingdon always had a long term future as there were no reductions or closures, planned or actual, in the units resident there. When the focus became concentrating units on the larger stations, the use of stations such as Abingdon enabled the closure of the smaller or more restricted stations, thus achieving the sound bite announcement of "12 RAF stations to close."
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Old 17th Mar 2022, 18:02
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
There were additional buys of both ADV and IDS variants for the RAF over and above the original 385. Some may well have fallen foul of the reductions following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, but the orders were certainly placed, more than one of each variant.
.
Some of those were to replace aircraft diverted to the Saudi contract.

Some sources indicate there were an small number of extra F3s on top of the original 165
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Old 17th Mar 2022, 18:49
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
Some of those were to replace aircraft diverted to the Saudi contract.

Some sources indicate there were an small number of extra F3s on top of the original 165
These were attrition buys of both GR1's and F3's post the initial orders for 220 IDS and 165 ADV.. Saudi aircraft were replaced on production line without additional orders. I don't know what you mean by "some sources" as these were normal commercial contracts announced publicly at the time.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 01:52
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https://committees.parliament.uk/wor...n-procurement/

Signs of finally looking in the right direction, accepting wrong calls, finally, possibly. hopfully.
the AWACs decision was laughable, f35 order should be over 100 aircraft, was it not 135 originally planned. And major must i think should be keeping all the c130s that are in good nick.
Spoiler
 


no APG-65, or Blue Vixen, but thats another story.
Wonder how many air-frames still exist pelleted in the desert stateside.
Rant over

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Old 24th Mar 2022, 09:06
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Originally Posted by MJ89 View Post
https://committees.parliament.uk/wor...n-procurement/

Signs of finally looking in the right direction, accepting wrong calls, finally, possibly. hopfully.
the AWACs decision was laughable, f35 order should be over 100 aircraft, was it not 135 originally planned. And major must i think should be keeping all the c130s that are in good nick.
Spoiler
 



no APG-65, or Blue Vixen, but thats another story.
Wonder how many air-frames still exist pelleted in the desert stateside.
Rant over
I'd be interested to see how far a Harrier could go in that fit.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 19:42
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Its about having a capability, the option. the numbers. A flight of 4 Gr9s matched with say 3 F35s over Norway now would be quite force rather than, A merlin.

Shermans didnt have the largest gun or kill range but was good enough, and arguably better maybe than the often touted ww2 axis beasts. you have to go with what you got. or you end up with no aircraft to fly off your carriers (that also have no independent defense).

On that note another comparison is the combat rifle, most engagements are usually well below the medium or max range.

The above load out could easily sacrifice the tank stations and still field 12 brimstone. plus A2A. Cannon
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 19:53
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Originally Posted by blimey View Post
Cancelling HS2 would put a few bob in the kitty. Unfortunately the 37bn Test and Trace boat has sailed.
As has the reported 39bn Brexit divorce settlement.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 20:31
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If you’re going to go counter factual then you could retain the Tornado, also have 12 Brimstone, have tanks and therefore some range, and have AAM, and have ALARM and have a real gun rather than a mythical Harrier cannon.

The DI of Brimstone was pretty eye watering. I know the Harrier could go high but it wasn’t the fastest beast in the world even when it was clean, and it didn’t have the best fuel load.

”But what about carrier capability?” Well IMHO the QE or the POW would have to sail right into the Black Sea to allow the old jumping bean to deliver any effect whatsoever, if we take the current unpleasantness as an exemplar. Unless you wanted to send the tankers forward to support them. This current environment is not permissive for FJ, let alone lumbering tankers. It’s not like they can sit in cell above the threat area like they did in the UKs recent wars.

But I am aware that I am biting against the old saw that the RAF should have sacrificed anything to retain the Harrier, so I’ll rest.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 21:14
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Harrier never had a RTS for Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone, and only a limited RTS for Single Mode Seeker Brimstone. Additionally it would never have got a RTS for Stormshadow.

So, if you were going to bin an aircraft it made sense to bin Harier and keep Tornado.

Simples.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 21:15
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If needed the risk is that yes jets would be possibly lost/hit/damaged. What has happened in the last month has proven that the game has changed. This is not a pier 1 v pier 2/3 scenario like the last 30 years.

Fuel wise the harrier could land anywhere, refuel, re-arm, redeploy, it was meant for forward deployment,unlike the tornado. The tankers were on the ground.

pop up out of the forest or launching from carrier, it could launch 18 brimstone run away bravely, 18 tanks. gone. Ok abit optimistic but you get the idea

Last edited by MJ89; 24th Mar 2022 at 21:49.
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 21:36
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Originally Posted by ExAscoteer2 View Post
Harrier never had a RTS for Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone, and only a limited RTS for Single Mode Seeker Brimstone. Additionally it would never have got a RTS for Stormshadow.

So, if you were going to bin an aircraft it made sense to bin Harrier and keep Tornado.

Simples.
The GR9 Point was that it could deploy anywhere in the world, on a carrier, without tanker support, Tornado was replaced by typhoon, which cannot land on a carrier, the f35 was late and we have how many 8-15 usable for the next few years and lost one already.

Im not knocking the f35, worth every penny, but its like the T45 destroyer, plan for 12, order 8, cancel 2........all eggs in one basket. leaving personnel and milti-billion pound carriers at risk, and less options when things go wrong as they have. But the decision makers will carry on thinking they were right even in the face of history(libya) & current events,

Single minded decisions or not thinking with foresight, & throw in over reliance on the USA, all connected.

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Old 24th Mar 2022, 22:24
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The perennial Harrier argument is like the Brexit one - it just won’t go away!
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Old 24th Mar 2022, 22:33
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Main point to be honest was really more focused on the c130s and the f35 order, as that is something to fight for as it were.
With zee Germans cancelling f18 and going with f35/Eurofighter typhoon,any news on the uk Tranche 5 order numbers? with the T1s gone i thought it might open up are larger final order, but since tempests announcement seen or heard nothing. with Ukraine i hope this will quicken things and create some urgency.
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 07:54
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Originally Posted by MJ89 View Post
Main point to be honest was really more focused on the c130s and the f35 order, as that is something to fight for as it were.
With zee Germans cancelling f18 and going with f35/Eurofighter typhoon,any news on the uk Tranche 5 order numbers? with the T1s gone i thought it might open up are larger final order, but since tempests announcement seen or heard nothing. with Ukraine i hope this will quicken things and create some urgency.
I would expect the retirement of some Typhoons to be deferred at least. It will be interesting to see if we have a Defence review prompted by current events.

pr00ne

I'm afraid my next magnum opus makes reference to Abingdon during the period in question but its too late for me to alter my take on the station's long term future circa 1975. So if you come by a copy, steam will issue from your ears no doubt. However, I did read somewhere, perhaps a proposal at a far from formed state, that Abingdon was being considered as surplus. to requirements.

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Old 25th Mar 2022, 10:12
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The GR9 point was that it could deploy anywhere in the world, on a carrier, without tanker support, Tornado was replaced by Typhoon, which cannot land on a carrier, the F-35 was late and we have how many 8-15 usable for the next few years and lost one already.
Assuming that the deployment was still needed by the time the carrier moved the Harriers within range of the scene of hostilities!

I'll willingly concede that losing SHAR2 with Link 16 was a daft decision. But GR9 wasn't much cleverer than the Hunter in the A/A role against a capable enemy and was less capable than Tornado in A/G in its latter days, so the decision was sad but inevitable.
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 10:30
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"on a carrier, without tanker support,"

at 20 kt it takes a while to get there.....................
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 10:54
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
Assuming that the deployment was still needed by the time the carrier moved the Harriers within range of the scene of hostilities!

I'll willingly concede that losing SHAR2 with Link 16 was a daft decision. But GR9 wasn't much cleverer than the Hunter in the A/A role against a capable enemy and was less capable than Tornado in A/G in its latter days, so the decision was sad but inevitable.
The Harrier has always had a special place in the Hearts of the British Public and its limited close air support role, made somewhat agreeable to the army. But I recall the specifics were that the Government, bearing in mind SDSR wasn't fiscally driven of course, that only two fixed-wing combat types should survive. The Typhoon was preferred for the chop by critics from outside the RAF, as was even more so, the Tornado. However, whatever the means of launch and recovery, where it matters, aloft, the Typhoon and Tornado GR4, to the best of my knowledge, possessed far superior capabilities and performance. Therefore, not popular with jump jet fans, the Harrier had to go.

FB
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