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UKMFTS Failing to Deliver...again

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UKMFTS Failing to Deliver...again

Old 5th Aug 2022, 17:57
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UKMFTS Failing to Deliver...again

Wow. Imagine my surprise that the most ill thought through, poorly run, and shockingly poor value for money system in NATO is unable to produce pilots!

https://news.sky.com/story/uks-abili...ggest-12666275

The MOD sold their souls when they gifted Ascent a contract that they had no clue how to deliver. Time to scrap the entire system and replace it with one that prioritizes training over profit.
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 18:10
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The UK's ability to train fast jet pilots is in crisis because of faulty aircraft, a need for more instructors and an influx of foreign students filling up the course, leaked documents suggest.

Royal Air Force (RAF) recruits are spending months - sometimes years - effectively flying desks instead of warplanes as they wait for training slots to open.
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The delays could hamper the future availability of crews to operate frontline Typhoon and F35 squadrons at a time of growing threats from Russia and China and with a war raging in Europe, defence sources said.

Pilots earmarked to train on other aircraft, such as military transport planes and helicopters, are also suffering.

The backlog is so grave, the RAF is considering asking up to 30 of its recruits to quit voluntarily, one internal note said. It warned of a "reputational risk" if air chiefs took such a step. There is no suggestion of any forced redundancies.

An internal memo from May and slides from a meeting of top RAF officers in July, seen by Sky News, reveal:

• An "emerging" problem with the Rolls-Royce engine on the Hawk jet, used by fast jet recruits for training. It will "reduce pipeline capacity over the next three years". This will increase waiting times for some trainees to join the course to about 12 months;
• Concern about a "damaging drain" of qualified pilots who quit the RAF for better-paid jobs in industry, rather than staying in frontline or instructor roles. One slide said: "The draw is so great from such a small pool we are approaching a critical mass point". But an RAF source said there was no "mass exodus";
• A commitment by the UK to train pilots from places like Qatar and Saudi Arabia as part of a deal to sell the country's Typhoon jets is absorbing already limited training space. This has made a number of RAF pilots wait longer to join the Operational Conversion Unit, which is the final stage of their training, a defence source said;
• Despite having 43 slots, only 11 trainee UK pilots are scheduled to go through the conversion stage of fast jet training to learn how to fly an F35 or a Typhoon this year.

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'The biggest f*** up in the RAF'

A serving officer with knowledge of the training pipeline said: "At the moment, it's the biggest f*** up in the RAF."

Asking to stay anonymous, they told Sky News: "To have a selection process that is second only to astronaut selection, so you're getting the cream of the cream, and then make them complete their flying training over a six-to-eight-year process, when it should only take two-to-three years, is absolutely mad, especially when it is taxpayers' money."

A former senior air force officer, also speaking anonymously, agreed.

He called the situation "a scandal… a crisis", saying it has been a chronic problem for almost 30 years that air chiefs have consistently tried and failed to fix.

But a second, serving, RAF source defended the situation and strongly denied there was a crisis.

He said this year was always going to be a "challenge" as the air force prepared to retire a number of aircraft and bring in new platforms as part of modernisation plans.
Image:A C17 Globemaster III aircraft of the Royal Air Force, transporting a shipment of Britain's support package for UkraineInstructors forced to take to the skies

Russia's war in Ukraine added additional pressure, with the RAF called upon to provide more fast jets and crews to patrol the skies of NATO allies in the east of the alliance.

It meant on one occasion, instructors at the Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire had to take time out to man the Quick Reaction Alert jets that scramble to protect UK airspace, impacting a couple of training courses that had to be rescheduled.

The source said a senior group of RAF officers meet three or four times a year to consider all training issues.

This was so "in the dynamic market and dynamic world of training - and all of these challenges of multiple aircraft having different things going on or off with them - that we do this effectively on a regular basis, not wait for the problem to arrive", the source said.

"We're trying to get upstream and manage people's lives and help them through their career."

An RAF spokesperson said: "Whilst we acknowledge there are challenges with the training pipeline, we are working across defence, with industry and our international partners to improve the training experience and results for our personnel, including recruiting more instructors and actively managing timeframes for training.

"We continue to have sufficient aircrew to meet our operational commitments."
Image:A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 at RAF AkrotiriLong waiting lists for trainees

The leaked documents offered a sense of the scale of the challenge.

Some 347 trainees - more than half of 596 personnel in the total flying training system, including army and navy aviators - are waiting for a slot on a training course or are on a "refresher" course. Students must refresh their skills when the delay to progress to the next phase in their training is so bad that they are no longer current in what they already know.

Waiting times for flying courses vary depending on the type of aircraft.

The memo said some 80 personnel will have to wait three-and-a-half years to gain multi-engine training, which is needed to operate transport aircraft such as the A400m and the C-17 and spy planes like the Rivet Joint and Poseidon submarine hunter. Separately, there is a wait of between two-to-three years to learn how to fly a Chinook helicopter.

The delays have left dozens of personnel - dubbed "holdies" because they are on hold for a training course - dotted around RAF bases, other military headquarters and even at the Main Building in the Ministry of Defence in London.

The RAF source said a lot of effort is being made to ensure those waiting are not wasting their time working a photocopier.
Image:A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 at RAF AkrotiriProblems 'date back to end of Cold War'

The source offered examples of some officers being sent on Russian or Arabic language courses and others learning how to be an air traffic controller. This "gives everybody professional qualifications that are wider than those ones they were expecting."

But the delays also mean the average age of a newly-qualified pilot across the RAF has risen to 29 from early-to-mid 20s, changing the demographics of the service.

This could have "significant implications for future professional development, reach and retention", one of the documents warned.

The defence sources said today's training woes can be traced back to the end of the Cold War, when successive governments sought to cut defence spending, cashing in on a so-called "peace dividend" and the false hope that Russia would no longer pose a threat.

The size of the RAF, army and Royal Navy, was repeatedly shrunk, including the number of pilots and warplanes, with frontline squadrons dropping to seven from around 30.

At the same time, plans were drawn up to privatise much of the military's flying training.
Image:A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 at RAF AkrotiriIn about 2008, a joint venture called Ascent, comprising the US defence giant Lockheed Martin and its British counterpart Babcock, secured an initial 25-year contract to deliver what is known as the Military Flying Training System (MFTS).

It is required to train a set number of recruits in different specialisms, including fast jets, multi-engines - such as spy planes and transport aircraft - and helicopters.

But the defence sources said the RAF - under Treasury pressure - kept changing its mind about the size of the training pipeline following a 2010 defence review that imposed further, painful cuts across the armed forces and a 2015 review that adjusted the levels slightly.

Sky News understands that some officers around that time favoured paying a bit more to keep some spare training capacity to give the RAF the ability to surge in new pilots should a future government think the air force had been cut too deeply.

It would also create resilience to absorb the impact of any glitches with training courses.

When not required, the extra training slots could be filled by foreign crew as part of multi-billion-pound deals to sell British-made Typhoon jets to international partners - a win-win.

However, the defence sources said that others within the RAF disagreed, instead prioritising the Treasury-led need to reduce spending and opting for a contract to train the minimal viable number of pilots.

They won the argument but appear to have created a system that is struggling to deliver the pilots needed in peacetime, let alone were the UK again to go to war.

"The system has been pared back to only work if everything turns out perfectly," the senior, former RAF officer said. "It is a system that only works if you keep throwing sixes."
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 18:49
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Twitter version:

"EXCLUSIVE: The UK's ability to train fast jet pilots is in crisis because of faulty aircraft, a need for more instructors and an influx of foreign students filling up the course, leaked
@RoyalAirForce documents suggest."

"Recruits are spending months - sometimes years - effectively flying desks instead of warplanes as they wait for training slots to open."


"The delays could hamper the future availability of crews to operate frontline Typhoon and F35 squadrons at a time of growing threats from Russia and China and with a war raging in Europe, defence sources said."

"Pilots earmarked to train on other aircraft, such as military transport planes and helicopters, are also suffering. The problems are impacting
@RoyalNavy & @BritishArmy aviators too."

"The backlog is so grave, the RAF is considering asking up to 30 of its recruits to quit voluntarily, one internal note said. It warned of a "reputational risk" if air chiefs took such a step. There is no suggestion of any forced redundancies."

"A @RoyalAirForce spokesperson said: "Whilst we acknowledge there are challenges with the training pipeline, we are working across defence, with industry and our international partners to improve the training experience and results for our personnel..."

"..., including recruiting more instructors and actively managing timeframes for training. "We continue to have sufficient aircrew to meet our operational commitments."


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Old 5th Aug 2022, 20:02
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I hope CANADA is watching this - they are about to implement a similar system with their Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Contract. The experience of the UK should show them what happens when you let Babcock (UKMFTS Provider Ascent is a 50/50 JV between babcock and LM) anywhere near your Training System. They will bid low, promise the world and then fail to deliver...but they don't care because they have the contract. This is how they operate - CANADA has been warned.

https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-ac...-fact-eng.html
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 21:01
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Who needs pilots when everyone is an aviator?

#takingcareoftheimportantstuff
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 21:26
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the RAF is considering asking up to 30 of its recruits to quit voluntarily
this is the strangest part ... short of front line pilots .... huge backlogs .. some numpty's idea of a solution is to reduce the backlog by asking pilots in training to quit. What have we come to? Send them to Canada on a 21st century Empire Training Scheme for heaven's sake!.

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Old 5th Aug 2022, 21:29
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"Whilst we acknowledge there are challenges with the training pipeline, we are working across defence, with industry and our international partners to improve the training experience and results for our personnel..."
Such typical wanquewords! "challenges"....."training experience"....

"We're trying to get upstream and manage people's lives and help them through their career."
Oh really?

".....some 80 personnel will have to wait three-and-a-half years to gain multi-engine training, which is needed to operate transport aircraft such as the A400m and the C-17.
As ye sow, so shall ye reap!

Last edited by BEagle; 5th Aug 2022 at 22:08.
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 21:34
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Todays ‘no shit Sherlock’ post.🤔

meanwhile back at the Beeb, more important stuff is afoot….

https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/realit...e-sex-pairing/

I despair.
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 22:11
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Surely a fast jet pilot needs to be, how do I put it, of a certain age group to be effective reaction wise etc, the longer you kick the can down the road means those awaiting training while holding are reducing their active fast jet service period.
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 22:38
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There's only so many times you can tell the RAF's 'nice but dim' leadership, such as that wally running around naked in his garden to upset his neighbours, whilst their middle management tell these buffoons what they want to hear. Many of these middle management senior officers then suspiciously left the service to work for the contractor's they were managing. The list is long. All predictable over a decade ago...and then they killed 100 Sqdn, which was the golden goose of the RAF, delivering decent support for the MOD frontline and, making up the shortfall, first-rate RAF fast jet pilot training.
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 23:26
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Step forward "Sir' Spoons, because this was undoubtedly on 'your watch'.... you had the opportunity to do the right thing, but chose personal advancement and glorification instead. I hope you can sleep comfortably at night. #muppet
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 03:49
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"A selection process that is second only to astronaut selection"

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Old 6th Aug 2022, 05:22
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Back to basics !!!

Oh dear what a mess (but not a surprise) . This ongoing 'gamekeeper turned poachers' scenario is endemic in the realms of Government circles and well established in all levels of
(early retirement work for the contractors plan). However all is not lost, as there is a flourishing market/business in two seat Spitfires already busy flying/checking out punters with ease, and no doubt could be expanded to fill the gap for the RAF. With a seemingly increasing amount of unaffordable and under resourced 'Jets' it is time to get down to basics and put a MK1 eyeball Pilot back in a proven multirole machine that has the added advantage of giving a 'wellness' factor when seen by the public. It could also be self-funding, as the 'brand' has great marketing advantages in attracting finance, and volunteers. Even better the whole operation could be given over to the LAA with groups building their own machines and sorting out a Merlin replacement. There we are, just needed some 'out of box thinking' and reinstating that wonderful very basic Flying Training organisation that the ATC ran for decades with the fretwork fighters !!!!. Oh by the way Astronaut ability not a requirement, just your parents permission to fly.

Last edited by POBJOY; 6th Aug 2022 at 05:26. Reason: content
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 05:33
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Weird isn’t it, the world is turning to poo, every man and his dog are in an arms race to re-equip and expand their Military and then there is the U.K.
Like a little chihuahua sitting behind the garden fence barking at the world but secretly hoping no one barks back..
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 09:06
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Here’s a bright idea going back gosh knows how long. Stop penny pinching. MFTS is the debacle that came from destroying a system that worked. Yes it needed to evolve to cope with changing technology. But all they thought about was cost and LM et al saw profit
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 09:33
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And the next CAS will no doubt be the unnamed senior officer who said everything is great! I honestly think that the only solution now is to do what other NATO nations have done and give up on our own flying training and get it all done in the US.
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 10:48
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All is as predicted and as discussed ad nauseam in a previous thread here: UK MFTS on or off the rails?

However, this is now so much more than UK MFTS which, following many compromises and the trimming back of the original planned flying hours, is now capable of delivering students in the numbers, and at the pace, that the OCUs can take. But there now lies the problem. The Integrated Review (IR) and the subsequent Command Paper 21 (CP21) were a total disaster for the RAF with the loss of C130J some 10 years early, the premature removal of E3D (and subsequent sale to Chile), the cancellation of Puma (only to be reinstated with the loss of Bell 212/412 in Brunei and Cyprus), the replacement of BAe 146 with Falcon 900 (but only with 50% military crews to start with), the reduced purchase of Protector numbers (>20 in SDSR15) and the reduction of Wedgetail from 5 airframes to 3.Then the Army-centric JHC (headed by a RAF 2-star!) launched a torpedo at the CH47 fleet by ceasing the planned growth in crew numbers by reducing the total required by 25%; this whilst the training pipeline was primed to deliver the enhancements. Add to that COVID where fewer have left the Service, roughly 100 have rejoined from the failing airlines and some have rescinded their ETs. Then you have this current mess - no places on OCUs for the bow-wave of tri-Service aircrew coming through a 3 year training pipeline (less any holds/holdovers) and then going into an up to 2 year holding pattern for their OCUs.

So this time, it isn’t the recalcitrant UK MFTS’s fault, but a total screw up in MOD for the IR and subsequent CP21 that failed to realise that flying training takes at least 3 years to cope with a change in numbers (really 5 years minimum to make changes to aircrew numbers). Those graduating right now were recruited for the demands set by SDSR15, and so cancelling/slashing aircraft types instantly sees students going into holds yet again for 2 years with reduced throughput/recruiting. So this is a Government lead problem, overseen by MOD and enacted by the senior leadership of the Services (again, there are similar problems in the FAA and the AAC set off by equally dumb decisions).

On that subject, is it any wonder that this has got so out of hand when you have had Wiggy-the-woke (if you remember specially appointed by that idiot Williamson who told “Russia to shut up and go away” (that worked didn’t it!)) and his naked gardening friend Andy-Pandy at the helm this past few years ably assisted by the Girl Blunder (aka The Dentist - who hasn’t even done a full Initial Officer Training Course!) and their sycophantic following all crowing about Stonewall, D&I numbers/quotas , Aviators, Air Specialists, E-scooters, Space, amusing uniform updates, the crazy new operating models and the smoke and mirrors of ASTRA - all whilst the real Rome is burning with no hot water, poor food, mouldy accommodation, removal of proper admin/HR support, failing training pipelines, below inflation pay rises, failures in the basics of supply (the latest being no hats for those graduating Halton and Cranwell - I jest not!) and generally a very unhappy bunch of campers working for the Services. No wonder Uncle Gerry has been so grumpy these past few years, trying to keep that lot in check. If you wanted to write a parody about senior leadership right now then the characters are all in place

The nonsense and fake hysteria of the vanity project ‘ASTRA’ and its ‘Next Gen Air Force’ needs to ramp down immediately. A new regime of operators needs to take the reigns at the top (the newly appointed DCOM Cap & AMP is a beacon of hope) and they need to get after the real stuff that affects people on a day-to-day basis, fix the ‘death by a 1,000 cuts’ (which the USAF call ‘queep’) and get after restoring and maintaining operational capability. If they don’t there will not be a Next Gen Air Force to worry about… or maybe that was the plan all along?

Last edited by The B Word; 6th Aug 2022 at 11:04. Reason: To add another cutting remark
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 11:04
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The RAF could always incorporate an active reserve to put the needed crew in the right place. The guys that have left before the change of equipment and tactics can be effective in other areas of operations, guys less than about 10 years off the fleet would be able to brush up skills within a short period. Asking students on course to resign is asinine, the billy goats that engineered this shambles should be marched off the edge of the cliff instead. The students could however be relocated to other commonwealth forces that have short falls in crewing. Going back is not that hard, some of the words have changed, but the sky remains the same.
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 11:10
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B Word- Best summary that I have seen. Your penultimate paragraph needs sending to every MP and senior officer. BZ.
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Old 6th Aug 2022, 11:14
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As the words of the song "Glory Flying Regulations" had it:

The Force is shot to Hell.........
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