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RAF combat aircraft numbers

Old 14th Mar 2022, 20:11
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RAF combat aircraft numbers

Just scanning the Telegraph Business section and there is a comparison table showing figures from 1990 versus 2021. According to the information provided the RAF had this in 1990: 170 Harrier, 100 Phantom, 100 Jaguar and 400 Tornado. I find those numbers difficult to believe, but am willing to be educated. Thoughts, please.
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 20:20
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The Phantom number of 100 sounds a bit optimistic for 1990...?

They also forgot to mention the Buccaneer, which was still in front line service in 1990.

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Old 14th Mar 2022, 20:45
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Originally Posted by Il Duce View Post
Just scanning the Telegraph Business section and there is a comparison table showing figures from 1990 versus 2021. According to the information provided the RAF had this in 1990: 170 Harrier, 100 Phantom, 100 Jaguar and 400 Tornado. I find those numbers difficult to believe, but am willing to be educated. Thoughts, please.
Harrier they must be adding up all the GR5/7s and the remaining GR3s (and possibly the SHARs too)
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 21:33
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Sounds about right.

and the 90,000 members were kept busy with aircraft and wars and stuff - didnít need to worry about pronouns or whether airman or airwoman was inclusive enough.
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 22:46
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Sloppy journalism: looks like they've used this Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlin...f_the_Cold_War

The figures are actually for 1989
Phantom rundown well underway 111 changing to F3, with 1435flt, the OCU, 56 & 74 all being gone by the end 1992 (but they haven't included 74's Js in the total)
Harrier figure is adding the rapidly going out of service GR3/T4s to GR5/GR7 many of the latter still on order - first squadron was declared operational in 1989.
Tornado figures probably include the Italian loan F3s and some double counted by including both UK airframes diverted to other customers and their replacements.

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Old 14th Mar 2022, 23:01
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ORBAT RAF 1990 FRONTLINE

11 X Sqns Tornado GR1

7 X Sqns Tornado F3

4 X Sqns F-4 Phantom

3 x Sqns Jaguar

2 x Sqns Buccaneer/Hunter

3 X Sqns Harrier

4 X Sqns Nimrod MR2p

4 X Sqns C-130 C1/3

1 X Sqn Shackleton AEW 2

4 X Sqns Hawk T1/1A

1 X Sqn VC-10 C1

1 X Sqn Tristar CK1

1 X Sqn VC-10 K2

2 X Sqns Chinook C1

2 X Sqns Puma HC1

3 X Sqns Wessex C2

1 X Sqn Wessex HAR 2

1 X Sqn Sea King HAR 3

1 X Sqn Victor K2

1 X Sqn Canberra PR9

1 X Sqn Canberra TT18/T4/B2

1 X Sqn Canberra T17

1 X Sqn Andover CC2/ BAE 125

1 X Sqn BAE 146 (Queen's Flight)

1 X Sqn Nimrod R1

Belize 1417 Flt Harrier GR3 and 1563 Flight Puma HC1

Mount Pleasant 1435 Flight Tornado F3



Strike Command and RAFG units only. Also, OCUs and OEUs not included.

FB

PS To give a further perspective on the strength of HM Forces circa 1990, the Army had assigned to BAOR, 3 X Armoured Divisions and an Artillery Division. Also, an Infantry Division, this last Division was located, in peacetime, in the UK, with a forward HQ at Rheindahlen. The Arty Div was equipped with about three regiments of Lance SSM. These were loaned from the USA and carried tactical nuclear warheads. The Tonka GR1 sqns were also, all nuclear armed, with the British made WE177.

Last edited by Finningley Boy; 15th Mar 2022 at 11:42.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 17:23
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FB, very comprehensive list, thanks. Amendment to my opening post: the caption in the paper is "key combat aircraft". Furthermore, their comparison to the RAF's key combat aircraft for 2021 is this: 104 Typhoon, 7 Poseidon, 66 Hawk, 20 A400M and 21 Lightning. I find it an unusual comparison - and if they're going to include, for instance, the A400M in the 2021 figures why no mention of C130s in 1990 (amongst others).
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 18:10
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In 1990 we were paying just under 6% of GDP for defence - currently just over 3%

Something has to give to get back to 1990 levels
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 20:43
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Originally Posted by Il Duce View Post
FB, very comprehensive list, thanks. Amendment to my opening post: the caption in the paper is "key combat aircraft". Furthermore, their comparison to the RAF's key combat aircraft for 2021 is this: 104 Typhoon, 7 Poseidon, 66 Hawk, 20 A400M and 21 Lightning. I find it an unusual comparison - and if they're going to include, for instance, the A400M in the 2021 figures why no mention of C130s in 1990 (amongst others).
And if you mention A400 in 2021, why no mention of the C-17 as well?


If you think its a bad comparison with 1990, you don't want to look just 15 years before that at 1974.....
77 x squadrons, 12 x OCU's, 9 x MU's and 47 x airfields......
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 21:17
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This is a depressing thread! I wonder what the chances are of a BAOR 2.0 and an RAFG 2.0?
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 21:34
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
In 1990 we were paying just under 6% of GDP for defence - currently just over 3%

Something has to give to get back to 1990 levels
It is difficult to see what can give except higher taxation, given public expenditure as a percentage of GDP is approx. 25% higher than in 1990 despite the endless drive for year on year cuts outside the protected areas such as health and education. Those two with pensions and benefits consumer c. 70% of public money.

I am interested in the source of your defence spending figures, NATO documents state 2.29% of GDP by UK in 2021 v 4.1% in 1990 alternatively SIPRI's database gives 2.2% (in 2020 - latest available year) v 4% - but UK's current spend is inflated by Forces pension costs.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 21:39
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Originally Posted by mopardave View Post
This is a depressing thread! I wonder what the chances are of a BAOR 2.0 and an RAFG 2.0?
Further East though, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania etc.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 22:09
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Originally Posted by trim it out View Post
Further East though, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania etc.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I always wondered why we didn't keep some assets in Germany on a care and maintenance basis.......but then does "care and maintenance" exist anymore? The headlong rush to reap the rewards of the "peace dividend" has surely backfired........big time.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 22:17
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Originally Posted by mopardave View Post
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I always wondered why we didn't keep some assets in Germany on a care and maintenance basis.......but then does "care and maintenance" exist anymore? The headlong rush to reap the rewards of the "peace dividend" has surely backfired........big time.
We gave back Sennelager in 2020...and then a year later moved back in

Realistically, do we need British bases abroad, or just APODs/SPODs maintained by Allied nations for forward basing?
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 23:14
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Originally Posted by mopardave View Post
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I always wondered why we didn't keep some assets in Germany on a care and maintenance basis.......but then does "care and maintenance" exist anymore? The headlong rush to reap the rewards of the "peace dividend" has surely backfired........big time.
We can't even manage care and maintenance on our married quarters now!
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 23:31
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Originally Posted by ASRAAMTOO View Post
We can't even manage care and maintenance on our married quarters now!
and THAT is a scandal!
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 23:46
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Don't forget that back in the eighties, basic rate of income tax was, IIRC, some 33%
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Old 16th Mar 2022, 06:44
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Originally Posted by Il Duce View Post
FB, very comprehensive list, thanks. Amendment to my opening post: the caption in the paper is "key combat aircraft". Furthermore, their comparison to the RAF's key combat aircraft for 2021 is this: 104 Typhoon, 7 Poseidon, 66 Hawk, 20 A400M and 21 Lightning. I find it an unusual comparison - and if they're going to include, for instance, the A400M in the 2021 figures why no mention of C130s in 1990 (amongst others).
Il Duce,

You're welcome, you'll notice also, the numbers of transport and rotary have remained virtually unchanged. The evisceration has been applied entirely to the actual high-performance combat strength. They may well say reviews are never financially driven cuts, but of course, that's exactly what they are. To apply cuts essentially exclusively to the raison detre, is reckless and has pushed the RAF toward what Trenchard was determined (in opposition to the Navy and Army) it would not be, a military airline service for the army, particularly.

FB
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Old 16th Mar 2022, 07:46
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For the Jaguar, the 'raw number' in 1990 was over 100 but the fleet was in two parts: the short term fleet of unmodified aircraft were stored or in the training schools and the long term fleet of modified (with Fin 1064) aircraft were about 85 single and two seat versions which were 'active'. These aircraft were deployed to 3 sqns and an OCU, undergoing maintenance at Abingdon (and later St A), stored as attrition replacements and doing all sorts of other things. The attack aircraft were either recce capable or not and the OCU had a few single seat aircraft with no refuelling probe, having been returned from India. The dozen or so two seat aircraft had a single gun and no refuelling probe.

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Old 16th Mar 2022, 09:55
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There's an article in today's Times saying that to get back to the 1990's defense spend the UK would have to put 4p on income tax - volunteers one step forward!
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