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-   -   Still broken? Is the RAF in better or worse shape than ten years ago (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/608323-still-broken-raf-better-worse-shape-than-ten-years-ago.html)

Jackonicko 30th Apr 2018 12:01

Still broken? Is the RAF in better or worse shape than ten years ago
Leafing through an ancient issue of Air Forces Monthly (dated October 2007) I came across a piece entitled 'Is the RAF broken?'

The article went into detail about the definition of stretch and Ďoverstretchí, and discussed sustainability (whether the RAF could achieve the tasks set without breaking harmony guidelines), readiness, retention and the mismatch between actual operations and planning assumptions. It talked about the RAFís diminishing force structure and the fact that the UK was spending 2.2% of GDP on defence - which it said was the lowest proportion since 1930. It criticised what it called 'the ill conceived rush towards PFIs and PPPs, and towards availability based contracting, which it averred would see the loss of key competences and skills among the uniformed engineers.

Out of curiosity, I looked at an order of battle for the RAF in 2007, and saw that it included 15 frontline fast jet squadrons (two Typhoon, three Tornado F3, seven Tornado GR4, two Harrier, and one Jaguar), while we still had 18 Nimrod MR2s for MPA and ASW duties, and a 'gold standard' military SAR provisionÖ..

​​​​​​​Size-wise, it looked like a no-brainer, but we all know that size isn't everything?

So is today's 'Agile, Adaptable and Capable' RAF in better shape than ten years ago?

Has the flood of leavers at the 38/16 point slowed, or does it no longer matter?

Is morale better? Has faith in the senior leadership been restored?

KPax 30th Apr 2018 12:19

No, no and no

4everAD 30th Apr 2018 12:42

Sorry Kpax but I think there were 6 questions at the end so if you don't mind I'll answer the 3 remaining ones: no no and no!

MPN11 30th Apr 2018 13:51

Isn’t it the 40/20 point now?

andrewn 30th Apr 2018 15:24

JN - I suspect you knew the answers before you hit send, nevertheless...

If you think it was only 3yrs after that OOB that Bagwell (I think) was openly talking about a future FJ force of 5 or 6 squadrons, then at least things appear to be back on the right trajectory (and not forgetting the MPA decision and new Tanker/Transports since either)

From the outside looking in the elephant in the room is obviously manning, in that there appears to be an acute shortage of it. So, on that basis alone, for the guys and gals who are serving then I seriously doubt things feel much better - more likely a whole lot worse.

Pontius Navigator 30th Apr 2018 16:55

The rush to grey began almost 30 years ago. The immediate size reduction target was over 40,000. Many of those made redundant and who might have transferred their skills and training to PFI will now be nearing or passed retirement age. The pool of trained manpower will be pretty dry.

Is contractorisation working?

The RAAF had a scheme where some grey suits had a reserve commitment and, as grey, had enhanced pay compared with non-reserve employees. Did this work?

jindabyne 30th Apr 2018 19:48

I don't know.

But I wish those that have chosen a career in the RAF all the very best of fortune. Their RAF is not that in which I served; neither was the one that I joined that of those before me. Good Luck to you all.

high spirits 30th Apr 2018 21:10

Doing more with even less. More capable fighting platforms and doing just as much. The people are just as fun to work with as ever. Itís not better.....or worse.
Just different.

Pontius Navigator 30th Apr 2018 21:20

Originally Posted by high spirits (Post 10134552)
Doing more with even less. More capable fighting platforms and doing just as much. The people are just as fun to work with as ever. Itís not better.....or worse.
Just different.

And the people are different too. Look at your children and think of your childhood.

I remember car sharing, then lifts home at weekends, then buying a banger and so on. Now
. . .

Melchett01 30th Apr 2018 21:36

I donít know how you can be said to be agile when youíre fixed in place by non-discretionary demands that outstrip resource. Itís either or and thatís a decision nobody wants to make.

India Four Two 30th Apr 2018 21:47

In 1918, the RAF inherited 22,000 aircraft. Has it been all downhill from there?

How many aircraft in today’s RAF?

Would their Airships be able to launch 100 frontline types today?

airsound 30th Apr 2018 22:16

Well, if we mil Brits want to be really depressed, a look at this piece should do the trick. It's by Ted R Bromund, in an American magazine, The Weekly Standard. It's called Damn, Busted.

Here are a few snippets:

For two decades, British governments have promised to square the funding circle by achieving greater efficiencies, a promise first heard in that 1998 review. For two decades, the efficiencies achieved have failed to keep the declines in defense spending from gnawing into the size and strength of Britainís forces.

Whatís even more disturbing are the lies the British tell themselves to make all this seem okay. There is the lie that todayís equipment is so much better than yesterdayís that it doesnít matter how little of it they have. Leaving aside the obvious fact that even the best plane canít be in two places at once, the problem with this lie is that buying one plane doesnít get you one plane on the front line: Given training and maintenance, it gets you about a third of a plane, which is much less useful.

Britainís can-do military culture and its political willingness to deploy mean that Britain is taking on far more risk than it realizes, and on margins that are almost comically slender.

In the end, Britainís problem isnít money. Itís the absence of leaders who are able to advance a vision for Britainís world role that would justify spending more money on it.
Anyone disagree?


hunterboy 30th Apr 2018 22:57

Nope, but then maybe it’s about time we wound our necks in and concentrated on looking after the indigenous population of the British Isles first.

sidevalve 1st May 2018 06:59

Much of this overstretch is down to that mindless phrase that gets wheeled out when required to justify budget cuts - namely, that the UK "punches above its weight"..:ugh:
When the salami gets too thin to slice anymore, then capability holidays step forward. It's enough to make you weep.
Unfortunately, Ted Bromund's comments as quoted by Airsound are right on the money.

Bob Viking 1st May 2018 06:59

22000 aircraft?!
Letís get back to those numbers. Would you say, in order to ensure a decent force mix, we should have about 10000 Typhoons and 5000 F35s?

Lets pick some some semi random but plausible costs. Say £50M per Typhoon and £80M per F35. So, by my maths, we just need to find £900,000,000,000 (shall we just call it a nice round £Trillion?).

All we need to do now is work out the rotary, transport and UAV costs and add in the wages and pensions bill and we can present it to parliament for approval. Iím sure the electorate wonít mind the extra few percent on their income tax. Besides, itís only the squeezed middle thatíll actually pay and who cares about them anyway?

Do I need to add that Iím only kidding or does that go without saying?


Pontius Navigator 1st May 2018 07:16

The world stage is an expensive place but other countries seem to manage without dozens of fighters and bombers.

But we are a maritime power dependent on SLOC so we need a strong navy. So are many other countries dependent on SLOC but manage with littoral forces, perhaps even just CG cutters.

We need a nuclear deterrent to assure our place on the UNSC. Why? We do have a VETO but do we use it?

The argument should be Britain's world role, pay up or get out.

99 Change Hands 1st May 2018 08:08

How many GR1s lofting dumb 1000-pounders would have been needed to achieve the recent action in Syria?

Bob Viking 1st May 2018 09:13

99 C H
How dare you inject reason and logic into the debate?!

Thankfully someone with much better knowledge than yourself (along with some examples of how many Hunters we had in 1957) will be along shortly to silence your inane ramblings.


melmothtw 1st May 2018 09:19

Originally Posted by 99 Change Hands (Post 10134890)
How many GR1s lofting dumb 1000-pounders would have been needed to achieve the recent action in Syria?

Hard to say, as we don't yet know precisely what was achieved during the recent action in Syria.

NutLoose 1st May 2018 12:35

Hopefully we will have JayTeeto back inside soon to sort them out :)

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