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Telegraph: "Shortage Of RAF Pilots For Libya As Defence Budget Cuts Bite"

Subsunk

Lantern Swinger
Book Reviewer
Another article focused for a full page less 2 lines on our brave boys and girls in light blue and their derring-do over the skies of Libya. The last two lines were a throwaway comment about navy ships and submarines and stuff.

If we leave a PR vacuum, the RAF will fill it, which is why a dog-handler at Valley is probably seen as more important to defending UK interests than any number of matelots at sea on Atalanta, Calash, etc, etc.
 
Another article focused for a full page less 2 lines on our brave boys and girls in light blue and their derring-do over the skies of Libya. The last two lines were a throwaway comment about navy ships and submarines and stuff.

If we leave a PR vacuum, the RAF will fill it, which is why a dog-handler at Valley is probably seen as more important to defending UK interests than any number of matelots at sea on Atalanta, Calash, etc, etc.

Isn't dog handling an offence?
Beastiality is terrible thing to live with.
 
From the Telegraph article:

...Out of 69 qualified RAF Typhoon pilots, including instructors, 18 are in southern Italy flying missions over Libya. Of the rest, 24 are committed to the Quick Reaction Alert protecting Britain’s air space and 12 are in the Falklands in a similar role. That leaves only 15 to replace those currently based in Italy. Because of the intensity of flying on operations, pilots deploy for a maximum of two months at a time and the replacements for those currently enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya will be expected to deploy at the end of next month.
So there are 18 RAF Typhoon pilots in Italy, presumably accommodated in comfortable quarters ashore, to fly 10(?) aircraft on operations (a ratio of almost 2:1) over a country where the air defences are reported as having been all but neutralised.

Am I living in a dream world or do Fleet Air Arm pilots still deploy in ships and fly without any reliefs for deployments lasting up to 8 months at a time? Even before the RN lost its fixed wing capability last year, HMS Invincible once spent 166 days (five and a half months) at sea between ports. She is still believed to hold the record for continuous carrier operations and even beats the best of the American nuclear flat tops: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with 154 days and USS Theodore Roosevelt with 160 days.

Interestingly, this letter was published in the Daily Telegraph on 15 Feb 2011 (link):

The Armed Forces Pay Review Body’s (AFPRB) 39th report, published last year, disclosed the fact that the RAF has the most advantageous “harmony” guidelines of all three services. “Harmony” dictates the amount of time service personnel must have to spend with their families, as well as the amount of time they can be deployed

The report shows that RAF personnel can only be deployed on operations for a maximum of 280 days in a 24-month period; conversely, Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel deploy for up to 660 days in a 36-month period. Harmonised over a three-year period, this means that the RAF needs at least 36 per cent more personnel to deliver the same productivity as the Naval and Marine aviators who fly with the Fleet Air Arm

Clearly, if a common level of productivity was used, set at the highest level currently approved for any of the three services, significant reductions in RAF manpower could be made without reducing the numbers of aircraft and aircrews available, as well as removing an area of inter-service dispute

Dr Duncan Redford
Centre for Maritime Historical Studies
University of Exeter
So RAF personnel (including ground staff) have a maximum separated service averaging 140 days per year while the equivalent for RN and RM personnel is 220 days per year. And that's not all, as shown in this passage from the July 2008 issue of the RAF Bulletin (link):

...A year ago, 12 groups of Service personnel – airmen, NCOs and officers deployed on Non-Formed Units – were breaching the 1 to 4 Harmony guideline: that is, they were deploying for 4 months but were returning less than 16 months later. Today, just one group is breaching the guidelines - SAC Firefighters.
That's not even 1 in 4 but 1 to 4 (i.e. 1 in 5). The story doesn't end there, either. The Harmony Guidelines call for an averaged maximum separated service of 166 days per year for the Army (vice 220 for the RN/RM (including aircrew) and 140 for the RAF - link). I assume this is a significant factor in the Army's need for over 100,000 personnel to maintain around 6,000 regulars in Afghanistan.

Isn't it about time the Harmony Guidelines were 'harmonised'?
 

broadside

War Hero
Good post NG - Part of me wishes the facts could be given a wider airing (MPs and British Public) but the other half just feels that it would open the wound and could lead to a clamour for even more cuts rather than a more sensible re-balancing.
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
I don't believe any of that report in the slightest. Remember not so many weeks ago when the AVM of 2Gp was forced to fly around various UK locations and tell trainee aircrew they were excess to requirement. The numbers/ratios he trotted out simply don't support any FJ aircrew deficiencies in any manner.

Its all spin and poor journalism.
 
Good post NG - Part of me wishes the facts could be given a wider airing (MPs and British Public) but the other half just feels that it would open the wound and could lead to a clamour for even more cuts rather than a more sensible re-balancing.

It's still rather ironic that the SDSR cuts already announced in today's service manpower over the next four years will comprise 5,000 (nearly 13%) for the more cost-effective RN but only 5,000 (11%) for the larger RAF and 7,000 (less than 7%) for the much larger Army.
 

Subsunk

Lantern Swinger
Book Reviewer
Deary me, the RAF PR team were pretty swift peddling backwards.

Interesting that no frontline pilots are being made redundant - wonder if that includes all JFH pilots?

The sooner the FAA is gone, the sooner unfavourable comparisons with them go away. I suspect the next target will be CHF, and the best way to see them off will be to find a way to deny the proposed transfer of Merlin HC3.

But let's not be too hard on them. They are on the bones of it and are having to make some savage readjustments. They will even have to - don't let your monocle fall out in horror - withdraw their display pilots and aircraft from the airshow circuit this summer.

Is nothing sacred? Will spotters no longer thrill to the sound of a Typhonn as they shovel down their £50 hot dog?
 
That naughty Dr Redford (link to earlier post in this thread) has been at it again: :smile:

Daily Telegraph letters 8 Mar 2013 said:
SIR – It is good that Philip Hammond has spoken out on preserving the current level of defence spending (report, March 2).

This does not mean that defence spending could not achieve better value for money. One area that promises improvements without reducing operational capability is that of “harmony” – the amount of time sailors, soldiers and airmen are not available for operations — an inverse productivity measure, if you will.

The Armed Forces Pay Review board has demonstrated that each service has different harmony levels. On the surface this is a reasonable decision, as each service has a different role.

However, the Royal Navy has its own army (the Royal Marines) and its own air force (the Fleet Air Arm) and collectively they operate with less “harmony time” and thus a higher operational availability than the other two services.

By examining a common three-year period the difference in productivity becomes clear. Royal Marines are available for operations for 660 days, the Army 498. Fleet Air Arm personnel are available for 660 days, the RAF only 420.

If the Army and RAF had the same harmony time as the Royal Navy and its constituents, Army personnel levels could be reduced by up to 24 per cent and the RAF up to 36 per cent without reducing operational availability – a significant saving, allowing scarce money to be used elsewhere in defence.

Dr Duncan Redford
University of Portsmouth
 
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