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The beginning of the end for the RAF?


Let me first say that what air assets they have at Unit level, the Army uses well. They understand battlefield mobility and tactical movement and deploy it as they would a recce vehicle, tank or tillie wagon. That is sensible and largely what the kit is optimised for.

My worry over the Army acquiring fast jets, long range recce and heavy/medium lift transport is that they would become close field assets. Their immediate prime concern is the line of battle and the men that occupy it. Fast jets would continually gravitate to CAS and probably to the exclusion of everything else. Interdiction (admittedly, current "tribal" ops give little scope for this) and deep recce would never get far enough up the list of priorities to feature in the bigger picture. Similarly the demands on the heavy/medium lift capability would be skewed towards the needs of the immediate front line to the point where it would, effectively, be held in reserve as a "might need it fast". They would be happy inside their mobile MEZ and air superiority through the use of interceptors would fall quite well down the priority list.

In time, the Land view of the battlespace would translate into future procurement programmes and probably result in more than sufficient AT and CAS assets but little else. Air defence in depth would fade away as an acceptable risk as would the means of striking deep into the opposition's territory.

The air asset that does rightly belong with the Army is the Land SH. Any suggestion that AH64s should be operated by the Air Force should be argued against. It's a battlefield weapon and hardly different to an MBT or recce vehicle; a strike Lynx with better reach, harder hit and survivability.


War Hero
Passed over loggie.I accept your points and to be honest most are well over my pay scale or concern .On a Tactical level from an FAC's point of view getting any air is a drama. In Iraq to get Air tasked we had to put in an ASR(Air Strike Request) with a 72 hour cycle. I felt that the better your presentation ie power point ,maps and other various attachments the more chance you had of getting your ASR supported.You may say Fair one ,however a lot of it was bullshit baffles brains.The BDE staff always helped ''beef up'' my requests and seeing as MND SE are pretty low on the pecking order we would do ok. However try telling some of the higher staff rank officers in the army that there is such a thing as ASR's and these take 72 hours well you can imagine the comments a mere NCO FAC was getting.

In short Loggie those in the army that'' know all things air'' do know there stuff .The problem being those higher up the chain have no idea at all.

I know I got a little side tracked there mini-rant over

Kind regards

Dobbin -2
The whole thing is an interesting debate, and probably all the more possible through the rapid changes and development in air power over the last 100 years. In the beginning they were new toys which every one thought must be useful but quite how and why no one was sure. Things started to crystalise a bit with WW1 as it became clear that the technology would allow power projection, at that point the independant service became a practicality, clear role and all of a sudden we had an RAF. Post WW2 the balance starts to change, ground based air defence becomes stronger, and rocket powered delivery vehicles for strategic use start to come into their own. We have now moved very much into a period where the strategic offense and defence of air power is missile based and the manned aircraft is now much more a battlefield weapon, albeit sometimes a bl**dy big battlefield.

Perhaps now we are moving into a phase where the standalone airforce is becoming an annacronism, progressively replaced by unmanned systems very much under the control of their principle customers, controlled from within their either floating or land based tin boxes, with the strategic offences and defence missile forces either controlled by a rump of the RAF or perhaps eevn with non military maintainers and buttom pushing polititians (perhaps the scariest part of the vision)

Yes there may be skills gaps at present in the dark blue and brown, but thes can be covered in the short term by changing light blue uniforms until the home grown talent kicks in.

Armies and Navies have been around for a very long time and have developed and changed over these periods, airforces are new and perhaps werte only suited to the era of the massed bomber and fighter squadrons of the first half of the 20th century.
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