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Just heard navy looking to cancel all fixed wing flying training completely will those that are a good way through get a chance to transfer to the r.a.f :cry:


It is true, the pilots going through the OCU on 4(R) ceased flying the day of the SDSR announcement. They are still looking at what is going to happen with those undertraining and those already Harrier qualified....

How do you tell a harrier pilot in a bar.... he's serving the drinks!!! :roll:

He was sweating more than a Harrier Pilot in an interview with his Career Manager.....


what about the hawks the navy have? Why dont they use them on the carriers till they get the jsf, dont the us navy train on carriers with hawks aswell?


War Hero
The Hawks operated by the RN are former RAF T1s which are not carrier compatible. The USN uses the entirely different T-45C Goshawk variant for cat/trap training.

However, as QE will not be cat/trap equipped, even if the RN somehow got some T-45s, you'd have nothing to fly them off until approximately 2018 when PoW enters service.



War Hero
From a recruiting perspective, for those interested, at an update briefing by AIB a couple of weeks back, we were told that we are now only processing rotary wing pilots, observers & Air Traffic Control Officers for the time being.
NS, without being difficult, you could only ever apply to the RN as a rotary wing pilot; to the best of my knowledge, we've never had a box marked "fixed wing only". Potential FW pilots are extracted at several points in the training pipeline, and also once fully qualified as RW Pilots.


War Hero
alfred_the_great said:
NS, without being difficult, you could only ever apply to the RN as a rotary wing pilot; to the best of my knowledge, we've never had a box marked "fixed wing only". Potential FW pilots are extracted at several points in the training pipeline, and also once fully qualified as RW Pilots.

:wink: An Officer? Difficult? Perish the thought.

I've no doubt you're bang-on, as usual. My post was a little ambiguous.

The message from AIB was that those aspiring to become fixed wing pilots in the Fleet Air Arm should be made aware that at present, it ain't happening.

That isn't to say it won't happen in the future, but those hoping for a quick turn-around in achieving RN Fast Jet pilot status before buggering off for more lucrative commercial employment should be advised accordingly, lest they make like a civilian, and sue.
No worries - I guessed the reasoning behind that statement was along those lines. However, we will need FW pilots soon enough, and if you are young (i.e. 15, maybe 16) you will be lining up nicely to become the first RN Pilots of F-35.....


War Hero
I've been wondering who is going to fly the 3 x F-35B we are contracted to buy and can't wriggle out of.


Lantern Swinger
I was thinking of starting this as a thread on its own. But does anyone else think that the RAF have signed their own death warrant by offering up Nimrod and Harrier for the chop?
It seems to me they have now divested themselves of all things Maritime. and therefore will quite quickly lose the skillsets required to restart these tasks at a future date. In future only the RN will have skillsets to conduct ASW/ASUW operations, and assuming that they keep some pilots going through the USN system will maintain carrier capable aircrew.
It would be reasonable to say that almost all RAF Aircraft now work in support of the Army. Some of it even comes under its control (JHC).
Transport and Strike assets (Particularly CAS) pretty much supports the Army.
Other non squadron tasks such as COMCEN's Medics, Road transport etc, could be more efficiently tasked to the Army.

The only things that I can think of that are RAF territory are Air defence (which in future will be swing role'd with CAS) AWACS, and inflight refueling.

So why now keep the RAF as an independent service?


War Hero
Whilst acutely aware of my humble standing in the military aviation strategy sphere, I tend to think the RAF have been rather clever & actually completely turned the tables around and made their Lordships look extremely foolish in the eyes of many in the media.

From a position of relative weakness that was even calling their existence as a single entity into question: They withdrew the agile, superior, carrier capable JFH from Afghanistan, replaced it with the inferior (ground support) Tornado because the Typhoon is not operationally capable in that role. Admittedly the Typhoon is fantastic at airshows, as are the Red Arrows, but the only thing they have in common is scandalous expense with regard recruiting potential/public relations. By sheer skill of RAF management strategy, their future is assured and we look very silly.

That single act, unopposed, sounded the death toll for Naval fixed wing aircraft & ensured their future by strengthening the argument for RAF carrier borne pilots on the grounds of currency. The removal of the F35 STOVL variant means that an F35 pilot becomes multi-role capable. Those undergoing preparatory F18 flying & ground-crew training in the USA at present are predominantly light blue, to prove the point.

The Nimrod (like the Seaking) is based on a 60-odd year old airframe. Ater the loss of a Nimrod in Afghanistan due to catalogue of bodged "make-do" modifications made it a 'no-brainer' getting rid of a museum piece that was only ten years younger than the Lancaster (fore-runner to the Shackleton) on the Battle of Britain memorial flight. An accident no longer waiting to happen. The Cold War ASW threat & commitment to NATO is no longer a hot topic.

Upshot is the RN loses 18% manpower & has a pair of ships which are completely dependant on outside aid to even function.

It simply depends whose spin you give credence to.


Lantern Swinger
NJ, I was thinking more in the long term, Outwith the squadrons the RAF really do what the Army does just as well if not better. As for the ground/aircrew traing in the states being predominatly light blue, I was led to believe the very opposite. Below is the Article, written in Janes Defence,
This was copied from PPRUNE suffice to say come 2018 and provided (a) the RN gets its carriers and (b) The FAA carry on with the training then tere will be more FAA deck qulified pilots than RAF

RN sends cadre of pilots to train on US carriers
"A larger than usual number of UK pilots are taking part in carrier training in the US. The move may indicate that the UK favours a commitment to conventional aircraft launched by catapult rather than a STOVL platform

An uprecedented number of UK Royal Navy (RN) Harrier pilots have begun training for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) carrier operations in the United States, information obtained by Jane's has revealed.

The news further fuels rumours that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) may be re-assessing its previous commitment to fulfilling the UK's Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) requirement with the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), instead opting for a conventional aircraft launched by catapult.

The latter could be the F-35C carrier variant of the JSF, which has a greater range and payload capability than the JSF STOVL variant and also costs less per unit, or even the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet on which the UK pilots are likely to be certified. The RN's two future Queen Elizabeth-class carriers that would operate the JCA are designed for, but not yet fitted with CATOBAR equipment.

The programme for this exchange of aviators is much larger than normal and was apparently initiated in April when a senior US Navy (USN) officer announced training and squadron integration for 12 UK pilots. This officer then briefed the US Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) in mid-April.

Sources who spoke to Jane's on condition of anonymity state that the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav) is "driving the requirement and the CNAF is implementing [it]". Given the high level of support, the training and timing for the programme will be high priority for the local F/A-18 fleet replacement training squadrons (FRSs).

USN sources anticipate that this training programme will be scheduled so that the RN will have 12 fully qualified carrier pilots by 2012. They did not mention whether or not any of these 12 would be trained for the rear-cockpit weapon systems officer (WSO) position in two-seat carrier aircraft or as landing signals officers (LSOs).

According to the programme plan, eight of the 12 pilots will complete a full syllabus on the Boeing/BAE Systems T-45 jet trainer (a carrier-capable version of the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 60) and a full CAT I syllabus on the F/A-18 Hornet. The CAT I syllabus has recently been designated as the pilot certification training for the F/A-18. Three pilots will complete a partial T-45 syllabus and a full CAT II F/A-18 syllabus, which is the training for qualified pilot transition to the F/A-18. The training regime for the 12th and last pilot has not been specified, but it is anticipated that he will conduct some T-45 Goshawk training and a full CAT I or II syllabus that includes day/night landing carrier qualification. Eleven of the UK pilots will join USN fleet squadrons and will be flying both C/D legacy Hornet and E/F Super Hornet models of the F/A-18. The 12th pilot will remain at one of the FRS locations as an exchange pilot.

The RN pilots will also fly US Marine Corps (USMC) McDonnell Douglas/BAE Systems AV-8B Harrier IIs.

It is the much larger number of pilots included (typical exchange programmes with the USN involve only two or three pilots) along with the additional training involved that suggest this pilot training programme is not part of a standard exchange tour.

"It's typical to take the RAF [Royal Air Force]/RN guy to the carrier for some 'good deal' [carrier] traps," said the USN source, "but they go in daytime only and are scheduled on a 'not to interfere with [regular USN] student traps' basis. In other words they do not have a quota. All 12 of the RN pilots addressed by this training will have a quota."

Asked about the reasoning behind the programme, one source told Jane's that it is designed to "give additional STOVL and cat-and-trap experience and provide invaluable 'big deck' familiarisation prior to introduction of Queen Elizabeth . It will also further strengthen the bonds between the USN, USMC and RN".

In conjunction with Jane's reports in July that the UK MoD is continuing to contract Converteam UK for the design, development and demonstration of an electro-magnetic catapult system, news of a cadre of UK pilots being carrier trained would seem to confirm the ministry is reassessing its carrier options. The contractual decision on what variant of F-35 to buy does not have to be made until early in 2011, although RN sources indicated to Jane's in July that the B/C decision would be made as part of the UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review process, so a decision could come this year even if no contract is signed."

It is worth noting that these are FAA pilots, not RAF (not my words but a serving Naval officer)


War Hero
Couple of points...

1) That article is slightly out of date

2) We've actually taken the next step along the path of F35 by buying the next test airframe, and its the F35 B model, not the C

3) All aviators in the fast jet pipeline have been stopped training, only the RAF have continued at Linton (Tucano) and Valley (Hawk). They are currently holding, doing nothing. All those who have passed Elementary Flying Training with a fast jet recommend have been holding in limbo - they have now all been told that they are ALL being re-boarded (ie re assessed) as to if they will continue in that pipeline if and when it starts up again.

4) All RN pilots flying AV8's with the yanks have been sent back. Line gossip puts the reason because we said publically we're buying the F35C - which, if we buy the F35C, will mean the F35B won't go ahead, leaving the yanks with no FJ on their amphibious shipping and considering that they've designed and built the 40K ton 'America' class specifically to take F35B's they are pissed off with us. That last bit is conjecture however.


War Hero
Yep, I'd heard from an RN Harrier pilot (Or so he claimed - aren't we all?) that there was a slack-handful of them training on the F-18 Stateside because the cockpit layout is similar to the F-35, or vice-versa, together with the catapult familiarisation bit. After all, what other seats, besides RAF ones, do we give them to play with if we take their toys away?

I'm also rather aware that there's a fair few RAF pilots in the Stateside melting pot & a good measure of RAF groundcrew also.
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