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inews - 'RAF admits ‘urgent’ need to solve shortage of trained pilots''

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inews - 'RAF admits ‘urgent’ need to solve shortage of trained pilots''

Old 15th Jan 2023, 11:40
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finestkind wrote:
Why did we join. Well, you get some very first-class training, fly some nice pieces of kit, are with likeminded people (with some questions with some fellow winged wonders being perhaps the selection system had some hiccups, yes, I was likely one of them) and get paid to do it. So, the question is why did you leave? and there is a number of reasons.
I've just been watching the old Look At Life film 'School for Skymen', made not long after I'd won an RAF Scholarship. Some quotes:

"...Cranwell's 70-odd Jet Provosts"

"Pilot cadets will get 170 hours of training..."

"The old propeller powered aircraft beloved of past generations have no place here!"

How lucky we were back then. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from that era?
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 12:23
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LJ,

Layered on top of that you need them to become your commanders and so you have to train them to be Sqn Ldrs and above, or FS and MAcr, therefore they need to acquire management skills and for the Sqn Ldrs and above some ‘staff skills’ too.
.

Nail on Head.....NOT.

You hit the buzz words used today....and absolutely no mention of "Leadership" and all that includes.

You have just described in British Military Speak the same failure we see in some branches our American Military.

The Military is not a corporate firm and must have Leaders....who have a Warrior Ethos that can lead people into combat and creating a system that rewards "Yes Men" and the mindset that numbers, data, equipment, facilities, and people are all just so many "items" to be managed is the Achilles Heel of current thinking on both sides of the Atlantic.

Our military is focused upon learning how to honor Pronouns and Trans People in shower rooms rather than being focused upon War Fighting Skills much as your own are having to suffer through as has been mentioned by others here.

We had McNamara during my time in the Army and we saw what a disaster that kind of thinking was back in the 1960's....and what you just described is very much akin to that kind of thinking.

Good Leaders make good Commanders.....and not the other way around.....anyone can be a Commander...all it takes is the Rank and the Brown Nose......Leaders are held back in Rank because they are more likely to have bloody noses rather than one with brown on it,

A good Leader will fight for his Troops and see to it they are properly trained, equipped, and their needs provided for so they are ready for battle when called.

Commanders on the other hand will see to it they do not exceed their budgets and always do exactly as told to do so by their next senior commander in order to gain a favorable report card that will lead to promotion and never mind the Troops.

That is how most militaries work unfortunately.f
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 18:20
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This is not a new problem. The pre WW2 RAF had essentially the same problem and it is a reflection of all Military Forces in peacetime. Leaders are not wanted in peacetime, managers are. Managers will compliantly go along with what the politicians want which will have everything to do with buying off the constituent of the day and nothing to do with actual operational readiness.

This mess is just a symptom of the larger problem. The RAF has not had an “enemy” since the end of the Soviet Union. That means the senior leadership is now almost entirely composed of managers, not leaders and they ensure any new promotions are like them.

I think all middle powers with the possible exception of Australia, have this issue; Canada certainly does.

The sad reality is the recent events in Ukraine have now amply demonstrated what a hollow force our Militaries really are, yet all I see is the deck chairs on the Titanic getting rearranged in bureaucratic MBA speak “process review” exercises

For me the height of irony is the Japanese with its history of constitutionally endorsed pacifism, is starting a huge ramp up in military capability with an emphasis on attaining deterrence through offensive capability. Go figure…..
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 18:28
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The RAF has not had an “enemy” since the end of the Soviet Union
Have I imagined my numerous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan?

Or did I misunderstand what you were saying?
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 19:21
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Originally Posted by Professor Plum
Have I imagined my numerous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan?

Or did I misunderstand what you were saying?
Defense against the Soviet Union was an everyone, all the time mission. It directly affected every aspect of defense planning and operations. I do not mean to trivialize the Iraq and Afghanistan actions but they were deployments of the RAF not THE mission of the RAF.
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 20:25
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Originally Posted by mahogany bob
PILOT TRAINING/CAREERS EASY SOLUTION

Have an RAF/British Airways agreement something like this:

Train RAF pilots and give them say a 9 year contract.

Give qualified plots a free ATPL whilst in the RAF.

Allow pilots to leave easily after their 9 years and progress seamlessly to BA who would give them priority.

Keep them ‘on war reserve’ in case of need .

If the RAF had a surplus they could release pilots to BA early.

This would be a win /win solution - BA would gain as they always suffer from boom or bust requirements.

The RAF could train more pilots in the knowledge that they could shift them on to BA if not required.

RAF pilots would be happy because those who wish to keep flying could have a natural ‘career in flying ‘structure . Recruitment would improve.

Those pilots with career aspirations could stay in the RAF.

I believe that this system works well in other countries??



I think that this system was offered to the RAF many years ago but was turned down because of retention fears??
Isn't that what the US do with their Reserve Squadrons, apart from an agreement with an airline of stepping out of the military into a commercial cockpit. I believe, once was don't know about now, that is how it works with the RSAF and Singapore Airlines.
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 20:48
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Originally Posted by biscuit74

It is not that complex. You are training people to fly, operate and maintain aircraft - OK 'air systems' to allow for the drones - and their various supporting services and processes. That's it. That's all. Most really large companies do this sort of thing routinely, some in-house, some contracted out. If they beahved like the RAF, they'd be long gone.
And no, 'security' considerations are not an excuse. Large multi nationals deal with both their own and others' commercial security matters as well as nations' security issues as necessary - routinely and generally well So forget that one. None of what the RAF does in terms of trainiing is particularly difficult of itself; it has just been allowed to grow admin and business BS for too long - mimicking so much the MoD appears to damage!
Tend to disagree. It is that complex. It is not just training people. It's maintaining standards whilst having the number to do the job if required, whilst allowing a wastage rate (the correct one) from resignations, retirement, moving up the ladder (off front-line op's), at exactly the correct amount, to train the right amount at the right time, to fill these holes whilst allowing them time to gain experience to.........If it was just training there would not be an issue.............apart from numbers, such as how many do we train. Well let's look at our expected wastage rate which will have to include the economic situation as the (once upon a time) attractive package offered by the airlines will entice our lad's and laddet's to depart. Well, have I got a job for you if you can accurately forecast the economic situation. I mean it cannot be that complex as all investment brokers are millionaires and we never have a recession or market crash. Sorry got carried away and my tongue in cheek was a bit too cheeky.

Having seen the boom and bust over a number of decades with the knee jerk reaction whereby we end up with more aircraft than aircrew or that many aircrew we need to invent new ground jobs to allow the ROSO to be paid back or allow early (which has happened) departure ignoring ROSO. Yes, one of the biggest issues is "admin and business BS for too long - mimicking so much the MoD appears to damage" but that also can be attributed to the nature of the beast, which is the posting cycle. We post SQNLDR/WGCDR/GRPCPT to this post, with no or minimal experience in this area. By the time they become an effective functioning body they are posted out. So, the complexity is compounded by the "time to train" that body in that position whereby they may have a positive impact.

Simply put the complexity or lack of it is probably mirrored by our economic situation.
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 20:49
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SASless - agreed, which is why we have CLM - Command, Leadership and Management. Three separate things that need developing as you progress. It’s important to know the difference between the 3. Command is an appointment, a position of responsibility with legal liabilities for those that sit under them. Leadership is the ability to project your personality to inspire others into doing things - popular and unpopular. Management is a sub-set of command and sees to the planning, organisation and execution of defence. If you don’t have all 3, then you will likely fail. They also don’t grow on trees!
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 06:06
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Management is a sub-set of command and sees to the planning, organisation and execution of defence.
execution of defence…….. destruction of defence….. killing of defence

Yup you got that right.. all equals reduction off.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 06:43
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Command, Leadership and Management
How can you have any of the above when everything has to be 'inclusive'. Orders are queried and are to be explained similar to how a primary school student would be instructed. Management decisions are not taken for fear of upsetting people and having to deal with the onslaught of legal challenges so they are best avoided. Leadership relies on there being a direction in which to travel, that bus went years ago.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 07:57
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Originally Posted by NutLoose
Which by its very means will increase pilot availability by having service instructor's over civilian, I could never understand how farming it all out was cheaper. I.
Not necessarily cheaper, just more predictable costing on a year to year basis.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 09:36
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I missed this the first time:

Originally Posted by Lima Juliet
............The Boston Consulting Group contract is for RAF Digital and is not ‘advising’ on how to recruit, train and career manage Aircrew. They might help provide.........

What does any of that; (points 1,2,3 in bold), actually mean?

Perhaps:

1. = being a training manager and understanding the training management task ?
2. = a spreadsheet ?
3. = a management plan ?

These sort of statements always seem to me to be the sort of thing that bosses, CEOs and managers should have demonstrated that they know and understand BEFORE they are awarded the jobs and positions they are in ?

What is the point of having university and management degrees, when at signs of trouble or problems, the people supposedly in charge run away and pay vast sums to someone else to come and explain how to do the managements' jobs - that they are already supposed to know how to do ??

Doesn't that result in paying twice for management ?
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 10:03
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Why aren't these requirements written in plain English?

My best guess is that what they are REALLY asking for is:
  1. A proper understanding of the existing aircrew recruitment, training and deployment problems.
  2. How and why it keeps getting f**ked up.
  3. How to fix it.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 10:45
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
I missed this the first time:


What is the point of having university and management degrees, when at signs of trouble or problems, the people supposedly in charge run away and pay vast sums to someone else to come and explain how to do the managements' jobs - that they are already supposed to know how to do ??

Doesn't that result in paying twice for management ?
One problem is that MoD's 'procurement' side has 'Team Leaders', and under them 'Programme Managers'. When, in practice, they are Team Managers and Programme Leaders; and the latter deliver, often despite the former.

I've seldom come across a Team Leader who has the slightest idea what is required to deliver the requirement. Whereas a Programme (or even project) Manager is required to be able to do every job in the team. Sort that out and you're a long way to getting it right.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 10:55
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....and let's sub out those flying roles which might have provided some respite for hard-pressed crews whom are/were remaining.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 20:51
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I am aware of one young person who spent most of her youth hankering after a career flying for the RAF and as far as I am aware had got through the first stage of doing that.

She's neither male nor white and the related political shenanigans which occurred recently was a big factor in her decision to change course for a career at an airline. She did not wish to be seen as a diversity hire.

It's a bit much when the air arm of the British military is being less fair than an Emirati airline. I mean, people of South Asian descent are routinely treated appallingly in the middle east. Not a great look, is it?

P
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Old 17th Jan 2023, 07:15
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See this:

Lockheed details low Hawk T2 availability rates that will push UK training overseas
The UK is so short of operational jet trainer aircraft due to an engine issue afflicting the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) fleet of BAE Systems Hawk T2s that it is having to send pilots abroad for fast-jet training.

Revealed in written evidence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee as part of its investigation into aviation procurement, the admission shows the difficulties faced by the UK’s Military Flying Training System (MFTS).

. . . As of 31 October, the halfway point of the current 2022-2023 financial year, Ascent had been able to use just 1,711h, “generating only two fast-jet trainee graduates”.

. . . Data shows an average of 5,545 flying hours across the last four financial years, with an average of 23 fast-jet graduates.
How on earth did they let it get to this state?
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Old 17th Jan 2023, 08:37
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RAF Valley going 'Black' everytime there's a frost doesn't help matters. This has been happening rather a lot lately with the cold snaps.

Putting all the (flying training units) eggs in one (airfield) basket was never going to be a recipe for success.
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Old 17th Jan 2023, 08:40
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Originally Posted by Wig Wag
See this:

Lockheed details low Hawk T2 availability rates that will push UK training overseas

How on earth did they let it get to this state?
The Ascent contract will have many MoD dependencies, which Ascent will understand and perhaps knew many were undeliverable due to conflicting MoD policies.

For example, it is common for MoD to have to provide Government Furnished Services/Equipment/Facilities (GFX). Most would think this reasonable, to avoid having to buy them all over again. And some are strategic UK assets, with no alternative permitted. But a few years before the T.2 was bought, the Chief of Defence Procurement banned all GFX in contracts. While at the same time pushing ‘incremental acquisition’ (another name for existing policy), which by definition requires GFX.

There is a direct correlation between successful projects of the time, and staff completely ignoring CDP and his Executive Board. But most didn’t ignore him, and even if the policy was eventually rescinded the immediate cuts in the necessary staff and resources meant the long-term effect is still felt. This entire function was controlled within Service HQs. As none of them retained the staff, it was now down to the project teams. If they didn't have someone who'd done the job in Service HQ.... For example, the RN had four people doing this on aircraft and equipment. The same four managed all the prerequisites to facilitate (e.g.) the pilot numbers calculation Lima Juliet mentioned earlier. The posts are long gone, and the last incumbents long retired. Instead of being a core central function, like many activities it's done by hundreds once in a while, with no training. A related problem was ‘training’ becoming part of ILS. It’s not. By definition it arrives too late.

My guess is the flying training people in MoD didn’t stand a chance. This is part of a much bigger problem, and MoD needs to get back to basics. It needs to understand what jobs are not volume-related.
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Old 17th Jan 2023, 10:54
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Is this a case of the system determining the size of the front line command pilot numbers/crews without taking into account training billets/OE posts/Staff or desk officers requiring that type rating. And then not taking into account the platform primes contractual obligation to provide instructional staff, particularly for overseas exports now as well as in UK. How many defence prime contractors train their own people to fly type's like Typhoon for example? Once you take into account the total size of the pilot cohort both serving and non-serving then you start to see the shortfall in the training pipeline. The pull through into industry will prevail and the contractors rarely train someone from scratch; perhaps there is a need for a contribution to the training pipeline funding required of the contractors where skills are to be capitalised on post mil aircrew requirement......
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