The RAF. A good thing? Or someones idea of a joke?

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by off_les_aura, Mar 13, 2007.

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  1. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Do we really need an Air Force? The Navy and Army coped perfectly well before 1918. So here's my solution..

    1. Give to the Army - Puma, Merlin HC3, Chinook, Sea King Mk4/CR6 to add to Apache so they can control all battlefield aviation.

    2. Give to the Navy - Nimrod (practically every other country I can think of leaves maritime surveillance to their Navy) and Sea King Mk3 to add to Lynx, Merlin and Sea King 6/7 so they can control all maritime aviation.

    3. Give to the Marines - Chinook, GR7/9, Lynx Mk7/9 so they can do maritime/battlefield/littoral stuff (isn't that what Marines we're designed for?)

    4. Let the Marines and the Navy operate F35 in the Strike and Fighter roles respectively (when it eventually somes into service) from CVF.

    5. Ditch Typhoon and Tornado. They are undeployable on a carrier (and lets face it, who in the future is going to allow us to operate from their airstrips?), outdated, too costly and in any case when, since 1945, has British airspace had to be defended from attack?

    6. Contract out transportation to British Airways/Virgin (you may laugh but there is talk of contracting out Air-Air Refuelling so why not?).

    Where does that leave the RAF?
  2. This topic is as old as the RAF itself. The RAF has had to fight for its existence ever since it was born. It learned very early in its life how to survive and it learned well. Back in the 1930s it took over the FAA which eventually had to be pulled from its grubby hands. Many, many years ago the RN called the RAF the Royal Advertising Federation; for good reason. (The Army was called "the passengers"). :grin: The RAF will survive; whether or not that is a good thing is another matter.
  3. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    The RAF have some of the most talented and gifted PR people in the forces...bullshit baffles brains.......
  4. Wet blobby - just lurve your avatar mate.
  5. There is s full thread on this very thing somewhere.
  6. We need somone to take the piss out of, long live the RAF.
  7. "There is s full thread on this very thing somewhere."

    Sorry hig didn't know. Nuff said then...
  8. OLA,

    Okay, I'll bite. And in a nutshell, your ignorance of modern Joint ops illustrates exactly why we do need an independant air service. If I may answer your suggestions in turn:

    Firstly, I'd suggest that prior to 1918, the Army and RN HAD FAILED to cope adequately with the emerging nature of Air Power. There were parallel and duplicate procurement, staffing, training, doctrinal and equipment programmes to ensure that each service got the air support it needed. Evidence the 'Independant Force'. Evidence the AD of the UK. Evidence WWI ASW. Inevitably, both the Army and RN sought to further it's own bespoke requirements for Air Power at the expense of the other. Result: lack of synergy. Lack of effect. Waste of finances and resources.

    1. BH. I actually used to be fairly sanguine about whether the Army took all SH from the RAF. However, having recently spent 4 months in an Army HQ in Iraq, I was appalled at how inefficiently they used air power. It was used by whoever had the hughest rank in the discussion. If the GOC wanted a taxi to get him somewhere, the Merlins were tasked and bugger the troops on the ground. Likewise, whilst the AAC have some superb SNCO pilots, their officers are frankly tactically far less able than their RAF and RN counterparts. This is because the AAC officer pilots have considerably less flying and tactical experience due to the need to jump through other Army career hoops. I have a lot of time for the AAC. But the Army as a whole is too focused upon artillery and infantry. And that's just the basic rotary tasks. How practised do you think Army Merlin crews would remain in CSAR/JPR if the Army got control of them? CSAR/JPR requires regular practice with COMAO/AWACS/SIGINT to be able to penetrate hostile airspace. It may also be worthy of note that, since RN and RAF SH came under HQ Land as part of JHC, funding priorities for FBR etc have dropped considerably.

    2. Give the Nimrod to the RN. Excellnt idea; except that the primary task of the MR2 today is overland surveillance. So perhaps we should give it to the Army? But then how much priority would the Army afford ASW/ASuW? If the RN got it, how much priority would you give to the overland role? And what of the MRA4? That'll have a very capable ELINT/C2 and weapons capability. Who gets that? How do you apportion trg? And what of the R1? Or do you suggest we give the MR2 to the RN and the R1 to the Army?!!!!

    3. You suggest giving Chinook, Lynx 7/9 etc to the RM. Yet you previously suggested the Army should have control! Exactly who are you suggesting should control BH? Where do you draw the line between RM littoral and Army battlefield ops/ownership?

    4. Let the RN and marines operate F-35 in the fighter/attack roles respectively?! F-35 is dual role!!!!! Please explain how you'd divide this workload? If the RN maintain the AD role presumably they'd only train with AD weapons/tactics and have money spent on them accordingly as upgrades/new weapons were integrated? That would require an increasingly seperate staff and engineering support. Meanwhile, I assume the RM fast jet aircrew (bearing in mind that there are today fewer than 10 operational RM fast jet aircrew) would concentrate on CAS/strike? Similarly therefore, they'd need to train only in A-G weapons/tactics etc. So in our next conflict we have an RN F-35 DCA CAP and a RM F-35 CAS stack? What happens when we need more A-A? The RM mates won't be trained! What happens if we need extra CAS? The RN are trained and loaded only for A-A. What happens if the CVF deck is blacked by a mishap and I in my AWACS have only RM CAS roled/trained/armed F-35 available? I cant't retask under your plans! Your suggestion to stovepipe RM/RN F-35 trg is uneconomical and inflexible.

    5. Ditch Typhoon and Tornado because they're not carrier capable! Both land based and carrier air have their pro's and cons which I don't propose to elaborate here. Personally, I'm a huge proponent of CVF and maintaining carrier air for the RN. However, I've also flown on ops over Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq and, other than the Falklands, I can think of few occasions when carrier air (including USN CVNs) contributed much that land based couldn't. Yes they provided more flexibility. Yes they provided additional assets. But carrier based assets are by their very nature compromised and in no recent conflict in the past 25 years has the west failed to secure HNS. It is also interesting to note your perception of the reqirement to defend UK airspace. If RAF (and RN) assets had not been protecting UK airspace and waters from Soviet aircraft, submarines and ships during the cold war, how credible would our nuclear deterrent have been? Likewise , RAF (and potentially RN) aircraft still maintain a considerable deterrent to a repeat of 9/11 and drugs traffickers.

    6. Contract out AT. I'd be interested in your thoughts on how much you feel we'd need to pay for a contracter to be willing to fly NVG C-130 flights into hot LZs in Afghanistan and Iraq? How much would we be charged for airliners to fly into airbases where there is a considerable MANPADS threat? How do we verify the proficiencies, DAS and EW PFM of such companies? And of course these aircraft also conduct AAR and other classified tasks. Once again you demonstrate your ignorance of modern ops by suggesting such ops are under consideration to be sub-contracted. Incorrect. The FSTA will potentially involve the LEASING of the AIRCRAFT from a company. However, missions will still be flow by military personnel and even this contract is proving difficult to manage with few companies willing to lease aircraft which are to be placed at such risk. Hence the delays to FSTA.

    7. I notice with interest you also neglect to consider AWACS, SIGINT (as already mentioned), ASTOR, Recce, SAR, FAC, SEAD, Comms and flying trg tasks, to name but a few. How do you propose to divide those, often inherently Joint tasks up?

    Independant air forces around the world evolved because of the very nature of Air Power. Uniquely, Air Power (be it from an land, maritime or air component asset) is able to be applied accross the battlespace in the full spectrum of ops from tactical to strategic in the same mission and potentially within seconds, certainly minutes. Inevtiably, such capabilities can therefore be called upon by both the land and maritime components. Independant air forces act as an 'independant broker' to ensure that a balance is maintained and efforts not duplicated.

    With respect off les, your comments illustrate considerable ignorance regarding, not just air power, but modern Joint ops in the round. You cannot neatly slice Air Power into neat compartments as you suggest without the needs of the wider Joint community being compromised. For that very reason, EVERY developed nation in the world has established and continues to maintain an independant air force. Likewise Air Power has huge limitations just as land and maritime power does. History tells us we must think jointly and focus upon working as a team rather than sniping. Failure to do so will only play into the hands of the Treasury. As we shrink, we need more than ever SPECIALISTS in maritime, land and air power able to think JOINTLY.

    Sadly however, I suspect that by 2030, the UK will have a single unified armed service despite the lessons of Canada.

    I would suggest Off les, that individuals such as yourself make that day more likely. We should each recognise each other services for the considerable benefits they bring our still fine nation and allocate our efforts to maintaining our traditions (or habits!) in the face of ignorant politicians.

    I look forward to your answers to the challenges I have placed above, and in continuing this debate.

  9. I've no experience of air operations ather than watching Royal leave the flight deck in Wessex mk 5, so i'm speaking as a complete novice here, the answer seems simple.
    Give the AAC enough helicopters of whatever type to carryout their own operations, Ground attack, not sure about that one.
    Give the Navy the carriers and a/c to defend themselves, as they won't always be close
    enough for land based support. Also give them enough helicopters to provide full support for the Royal Marines ashore, plus a/s for close support as once again the RAF won' always be able to provide that.
    Leave everything as it is
  10. F*ck off, I'm happy working with the Navy, why send us to the Army? :sad:

    Also, what is the difference between 1. and 3. ?
  11. That's the trouble with you Crabs, you always take things too seriously and then bore the arse off everybody. :roll: And if you're not a Crab, you bloody well ought to be!
  12. Wardmaster...I am!!! :mrgreen:

  13. Lads, MM summed up the position very well and I'm sorry that he had to.

    The penny pinching buggers in the Government understand sod all about military matters and even less about Mil aviation. The disbandment of the Air Force is given serious thought in some circles by influential people. Hence this type of Thread wears very thin when it's wheeled out at seemingly weekly intervals.

    Banter is great and long may we do it. At the risk of sounding politically correct, lets try not to elevate this above banter and resist making seemingly serious arguments in support of, effectively, a dear comrades execution.
  14. P-o-L,
    Thanks. The RN and RAF collectively pi$$ed on each others bonfires during the 1960's with the result that many great projects and capabilities were lost forever (CVA01, P1154, TSR2 etc). We can't afford to make the same mistake again.
  15. Got to have an RAF! Who'd referee the Army Navy rugby match?
  16. Folks, the way this Government is going there wont be any armed forces before much longer so i wouldnt worry about it.
  17. Which is why we should never ever vote Labour in again.
  18. MM defends his service very well and so he should but he makes an even more important point that Jointery and deployability is the way ahead. We need to plan, practice, work, play & procure together more and more. We should be proud of our single service heritage but single service blinkers are a waste of everyone's time and diminsh the country's true OC.

    Note 1. But I still think the RAF has too much of a "tail" (and I speak as one who has experienced it at first hand!!)

    Note 2. The best job I ever had was my 3 years of jointery at PJHQ
  19. Smoothie, the unified approach is the only effective way forward otherwise the money grabbers in whitehall will just chip away bit by bit. I do think however that one must nut follow the jointery mantra without real deep thought, it is all to easy to bin the baby with the bathwater, for example will the fleet survive without a sunshade until JCA comes along, and I am sure there are others lurking away. Being purple should no mean any service getting weaker, rather they should become stronger through the joint approach, in otherwords jointery should be about making every one better not just papering over the cracks with a new colour of poaper.
  20. That's got to be the most valid answer!

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