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Guardian: "RAF Stretched To Limit, Air Chief Warns"

CmdKeen

Lantern Swinger
Pish, I know for a fact there are plenty of RAF personnel at Leuchars who are busy doing feck all. One recently assured me he was busy personally defending me from the Russians. Surely he is capable of being redeployed to face Libya? Unless a core RAF remit is liaising with the local constabulary - because even the pilots seem to be on board with that particular action...

Honestly I've never felt such contempt in my life as seeing a military officer being D&I at 10pm
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Bless, they need more money to operate 18 aircraft which they already operated, albeit not at weekends.
 
What a conundrum. If only we could move the airfield 500 nm closer to Libya to reduce transit times, fuel consumption, airframe hours, maintenance load, etc., (thereby improving sortie generation) and provide in situ HQ facilities, hangar space, workshops, our own (cheaper) fuel and other logistic support including service accommodation & victualling.

How about an aircraft carrier with appropriate ground attack fixed wing aircraft, helicopter gunships and CSAR (Combat Search & Rescue) like the Americans, French, Italians and Spanish have?
 

RoofRat

War Hero
RAF Stretched to the Limit ? They fcukin should be !!!
They are beginning to get more airtime on TV than Uloo Gearing. or WTF her name is.
Roofs
 

21_Man

War Hero
I'm sure the pilots are enduring harsh frontline hardship......or do some go home each night?
 
I'm sure the pilots are enduring harsh frontline hardship......or do some go home each night?

It's not just the 20+ pilots. My guess is that a couple of hundred other RAF personnel are required in situ to support the deployment of 14 aircraft. A CVS required a naval air group of 350 personnel to support 22 embarked aircraft and the RAF always needed at least half as many again. Even so, a carrier could achieve more than one sortie per aircraft per day. Have the A/C based at Gioia del Colle flown even that?

For what it's worth:Alternatively:
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...Even so, a carrier could achieve more than one sortie per aircraft per day. Have the A/C based at Gioia del Colle flown even that?...

I found this interesting, particularly as it has answered my question above:
BBC News 5 Apr 2011 said:
Four more British warplanes are being deployed to southern Italy to join the assault on pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya, the prime minister has said. Speaking on a visit to Gioia del Colle air base, David Cameron said the Tornados would join 18 RAF jets there...

Gioia del Colle has been home to 10 RAF Typhoons and eight Tornados over the last two weeks and more than 70 sorties have been launched as part of the Nato-led mission...

The RAF stretched to the limit? It appears that their 18 aircraft based in Italy have only clocked up around 70 sorties during the past two weeks. This averages out at nearly four days between missions for each A/C deployed so why are four more A/C required?

Wouldn't it have made more sense to have had a carrier with a dozen or so Harrier GR9s parked 500 nm nearer the coast where each A/C could have carried out at least two sorties per day?

P.S. As the total of RAF aircraft at Gioia del Colle looks set to reach 22, increase the estimates of aircrew and support personnel in my previous post accordingly.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Perhaps the Tornados & Typhoons need 4 days of maintenance between sorties, also allowing for ground trades to meet their quota of harmony time.

As we all know, by comparison the Harrier tends to leave the Tornado on the asphalt...
 
As for the fact that they are meant to be short of pilots. I wonder how many are claiming flying pay in the RAF compared to airframes available.

At least specialist pay, including flying pay (SP(F)), is now end-dated for those never likely to occupy a flying billet again. From the 2010 AFPRB Report:

With the introduction of JPA a Reserve Band system for Specialist Pay (SP) has become operational. For the first 6 years away from an SP or SP Related post, a Reserve Band will be paid: for the first 3 years at 100% of the full rate; 75% of the full rate during the fourth year; 50% of the full rate during the fifth year; and 25% of the full rate during the sixth year. Payment will then cease. Personnel who submit an application to PVR will be placed on the 50% rate or remain on the 25% rate if already in payment.
The three years at the full rate means that aviators (and recipients of other Specialist Pay) can undertake an interim non-related job and/or courses without financial penalty.

However, see also the Professional Aviator Spine (PAS – RAF and Navy) and its Army equivalent (Professional Employment Stream – PES) which aim to retain the most experienced aircrew. SP(F) and PAS/PES are designed to counter the pull from civilian airlines for experienced aircrew in whom the Services have invested significant training costs.
 

Magda

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Wouldn't it have made more sense to have had a carrier with a dozen or so Harrier GR9s parked 500 nm nearer the coast where each A/C could have carried out at least two sorties per day?

I take it Big Dave is still insisting that we really DON'T need an aircraft carrier?

I can't see how basing jets in Southern Italy is more economically viable than having an aircraft carrier floating a few miles off the coast of Libya? I'm not sure of what the manpower costs etc would be like by comparison, but it must be easier at the very least!
 
I take it Big Dave is still insisting that we really DON'T need an aircraft carrier?

I can't see how basing jets in Southern Italy is more economically viable than having an aircraft carrier floating a few miles off the coast of Libya? I'm not sure of what the manpower costs etc would be like by comparison, but it must be easier at the very least!

Not so much a question of manpower costs but other overheads such as the rental of Italian base facilities, higher price of locally-supplied fuel, air-to-air refuelling at £80k per hour, transport including COMAIR flights for PAX and stores, hotel accommodation, contract catering, etc.

A carrier parked off Libya would save 1,000 nm on the round trip to the nearest bit of the coast and 1,100 nm to the furthest bit with all that entails in faster reaction time, shorter transits, longer time on task, higher sortie generation, lower fuel consumption entailing less or even no requirement for air-to-air refuelling, reduced crew fatigue, fewer airframe hours, lighter maintenance load, quicker turnarounds, etc. A carrier would also provide HQ facilities, including a full communications suite, plus hangar space and workshops. The Navy accommodates each individual at sea for free and feeds them for around £2.34 per day. I wonder how much it is costing per day to accommodate and feed the hundreds of RAF personnel ashore in Italy?

As for the 'mud-moving' capability of GR9s (£37k per hour) compared to Tornados (35k per hour) or Typhoons (£70-80k per hour), they've provided an excellent service in Afghanistan according to customer feedback. Whatever figure is given for the cost of RAF operations in Italy, remember that the cost of running on HMS Ark Royal until 2015 was put at £105m (link).
 

Magda

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Unfortunately it is now not as easy as 'just put Ark Royal back to sea', the cost of running it all back up would be/is prohibitive, I'm afraid that the horse has bolted on that 'solution' (for reasons that I am not prepared to put into this post).

Oh I appreciate that we can't just "recommission" Ark Royal now, I was meaning more that mistakes have been made, but no one will own up to them. Apart from that, we've no aeroplanes to fly from her, and even if we did, I assume the pilots have to fly frequently to maintain their edge etc, and I would have thought that has been impossible for the last few months...
 

Magda

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Not so much a question of manpower costs but other overheads such as the rental of Italian base facilities, higher price of locally-supplied fuel, air-to-air refuelling at £80k per hour, transport including COMAIR flights for PAX and stores, hotel accommodation, contract catering, etc.

A carrier parked off Libya would save 1,000 nm on the round trip to the nearest bit of the coast and 1,100 nm to the furthest bit with all that entails in faster reaction time, shorter transits, longer time on task, higher sortie generation, lower fuel consumption entailing less or even no requirement for air-to-air refuelling, reduced crew fatigue, fewer airframe hours, lighter maintenance load, quicker turnarounds, etc. A carrier would also provide HQ facilities, including a full communications suite, plus hangar space and workshops. The Navy accommodates each individual at sea for free and feeds them for around £2.34 per day. I wonder how much it is costing per day to accommodate and feed the hundreds of RAF personnel ashore in Italy?

As for the 'mud-moving' capability of GR9s (£37k per hour) compared to Tornados (35k per hour) or Typhoons (£70-80k per hour), they've provided an excellent service in Afghanistan according to customer feedback. Whatever figure is given for the cost of RAF operations in Italy, remember that the cost of running on HMS Ark Royal until 2015 was put at £105m (link).

Brilliant post, Naval_Gazer! =-)
 
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