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This is a discussion on Royal Air Force [RAF] discussions and updates within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; 13 is no small number and can't be too disimilar to the number currently operated by the USA, Clearly early ...


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Old January 8th, 2008   #61
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13 is no small number and can't be too disimilar to the number currently operated by the USA, Clearly early experience is showing it to be a force mutiplier (or perhaps it just saves some money)

Regardless, getting in on the ground floor with this sort of capability will give the RAF a headstart and lots of experience in UAV's when the more capable and offensive stuff such as Taranis comes along in the next 5 years.
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Old January 8th, 2008   #62
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13 is no small number and can't be too disimilar to the number currently operated by the USA, Clearly early experience is showing it to be a force mutiplier (or perhaps it just saves some money)

Regardless, getting in on the ground floor with this sort of capability will give the RAF a headstart and lots of experience in UAV's when the more capable and offensive stuff such as Taranis comes along in the next 5 years.
and can be weponised by strapping hellfire &1000 pounds bombs very easily.
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Old January 11th, 2008   #63
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This is also very good news in the light of persistant rumours of further cuts to the front line, concerning the closing down of two Tornado GR.4 squadrons.
(One from each main operating base)
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This has explicity been denied by a junior minister in parliarment iirc
Good to hear!!
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Old January 20th, 2008   #64
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JCA Delivery Schedule
A US DOD planning document dated November 2001 showed year by year how the UK F-35 aircraft would be delivered (orders would need to be placed approximately two years earlier), divided into 4 categories of test, training, operations and attrition.
The document also said that the UK will have 4 operational squadrons of 12 aircraft with 18 pilots each plus a training squadron of 16 aircraft. Attrition aircraft would replace those lost in squadron service and any excess would go into long term storage. Squadron aircraft would be cycled through storage to ensure the fleet accumulated hours evenly across airframes.
from Navy Matters

Can someone explain to me why the UK will just have 4 Combat Sqn+1Training Sqn and after that 84 JSF just sitting in Depots?I mean does the RAF count to loose so damn many Aircraft. I mean with 150 Aircarft they could easyli field 8 Sqn a 12 JSF + Test/training Sqn and still have 30 JSF spare
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Old March 26th, 2008   #65
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Air Refuelling tanker announcement tomorrow according to the Times

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle3621599.ece

About time
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Old March 27th, 2008   #66
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Air Refuelling tanker announcement tomorrow according to the Times

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle3621599.ece

About time
Correctly predicted. Official announcement now on MoD website.
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Old March 28th, 2008   #67
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Formal announcement.

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...raftSigned.htm

The recent successful trip by Sarkosy to the UK and subsequent joint UK/France statements reference strengthening defense ties, I think the French should join the UK tanker program, order additional airframes and then pool their collective resources. Heavy participation by EADS will certainly please the Franch.
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Old March 28th, 2008   #68
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Formal announcement.

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...raftSigned.htm

The recent successful trip by Sarkosy to the UK and subsequent joint UK/France statements reference strengthening defense ties, I think the French should join the UK tanker program, order additional airframes and then pool their collective resources. Heavy participation by EADS will certainly please the Franch.
The French have already selected A330MRTT and are in negotiations. From what I've read, they're talking about 15 or 16 (at least, that's what the AdlA wants), & maybe a PFI deal, though that may be combined with outright purchase of a few for urgent needs first, because of the delays arranging a PFI contract will cause.
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Old March 28th, 2008   #69
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Is anyone else here dubious about the value for money represented by the 13 Billion PFI contract for just 14 A330MRTT. Ok the contract runs for 30 years and AirTanker Ltd are responsable for operating and maintaining the aircraft, but the KC45 the US version of the A330MRTT is priced at 160 million usd each.

Doing the math, that works out at 928 million per aircraft over the lifetime of the contract. Seems a bit steep to me.
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Old March 28th, 2008   #70
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Is anyone else here dubious about the value for money represented by the 13 Billion PFI contract for just 14 A330MRTT. Ok the contract runs for 30 years and AirTanker Ltd are responsable for operating and maintaining the aircraft, but the KC45 the US version of the A330MRTT is priced at 160 million usd each.

Doing the math, that works out at 928 million per aircraft over the lifetime of the contract. Seems a bit steep to me.
I don't know what the operating cost of a tanker (including crew) should be per year, but deducting 80 million for the aircraft & dividing by 30 makes that 28.3 million per year. One should also deduct a bit for buildings & so on which are included in the contract.

Anyone know whether 25 million or so per year is in line with expected tanker operating costs?
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Old March 28th, 2008   #71
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Does the contract also cover the costs of any and all spare parts for damaged airframes as it would be rather hard to say just how damaged they will get over the course of 25 years?
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Old April 1st, 2008   #72
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Nimrod maybe scrapped

LONDON (Reuters) - The Ministry of Defence must decide whether it should "cut its losses" and abandon the Nimrod programme after a delay of some eight years and a near billion-pound overspend, a group of MPs said on Thursday.
The Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft, which has been blighted by development problems, will have racked up a further overrun of 100 million pounds in 2007/8, bringing the total over-budget figure to 800 million pounds.
The aircraft was originally announced in 1992 as a replacement for the Nimrod MR2, but has suffered technical problems.
The Commons Defence Committee said the MoD must "carefully examine whether it should cut its losses and withdraw from this sorry saga".
"The committee calls on the minister for defence equipment and support to assess whether the programme will ever deliver the capability required within the timescale needed and, if not, to withdraw from it," it added in a report.
Nimrod is one of a number of projects criticised by the MPs for overrunning on budget or deadline.
The committee reflected how "disappointing" it was that the first of the Navy's two new aircraft carriers will be without the new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft when they are expected to enter service in 2014 because of delays.
The A400M transport aircraft is also expected to enter service two years late.
The MoD's equipment programme was "unaffordable" and sacrifices needed to be made as part of the Planning Round, the MPs said.
Originally 21 aircraft, then 18, then 12 and now 0?
What is the alternative carry flying the MR2 until Poseidon is available?
2nd hand Orions are there any available especially as the US has had to ground 39 aircraft due wing problems?
Develop a MR version of the A320 with France - would take 10 - 15 years?
Buy a MR version of the ERJ145 which maybe available relatively quickly - lacking the capabilites required
All go down the Dutch route and lose a MR/ASW capability and rely on off the shelf aircraft to perform some of the less military duties such as SAR.
Carry with Nimrod MR4 and hope for the best
The MoD could buy all the preserved Shackleton aircraft and get them flying again - maybe simpler and quicker!
What ever happens the RAF loses out thanks to the ineptitude of politicians and BAe.

What ever happens the RAF loses out
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Old April 1st, 2008   #73
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I would think if the British bought the P-8 Poseidon, the US Navy will find a way to let the British get some of the earlier aircraft. I don't think the British could go wrong with Boeing 737s. There are many nations thinking about the P-8s, as most of the P-3 Orions are dated and worn out.

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Old April 1st, 2008   #74
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Happy 90th birthday Royal Air Force.
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Old April 16th, 2008   #75
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Airborne Sniper Squad Targets Iraqi Militia

Airborne Sniper Squad Targets Iraqi Militia

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued April 14, 2008)
Defense aerospace Article

In the skies over Basra, a crack squad of highly trained RAF Regiment snipers have been hard at work supporting ground troops and Immediate Response Teams (IRT) under fire from Iraqi militia.

Flying with RAF Merlin and Lynx crews, the heavily armed heli-snipers can be mobilised at short notice to locate and eliminate enemy positions, reducing the threat to Army ground troops and medical units on the ground.

So far the heli-snipers have been deployed to give force protection for Lynx immediate response teams, scrambled to evacuate casualties, fire support for deliberate operations, rapid route clearance for convoys, and to counter the threat from militia preparing crude explosive devices.

Using IRT for the role gives the heli-snipers the ability to respond quickly. Travelling by air also gives them an improved field of vision, allowing them to relay vital surveillance to commanders on the ground.

Cpl Sean McKinnel of the RAF Regiment's 2 Squadron explained the heli-sniper's role: "We act as top cover to provide protection during many tasks. The tasks since deploying to Op TELIC have included covering US BLACKHAWKS as they evacuate casualties from Basra Palace, covering UK MERLIN helicopters inserting troops. We have also been employed in covering urban areas likely to be used to launch rockets against the COB.

"Operating from the helicopters offers us great observation and a different perspective to that on the ground. We are able to assist in securing areas rapidly and are able to engage targets at greater ranges."

Fellow 2 Sqn sniper SAC Gambling said: "The great thing about the heli-sniping tasks are that you never know what you are going to get on your next shout. Every call-out is different."

Tasks such as fence-line checks which can take ground patrols hours to complete can be accomplished in minutes. Armed with advanced rifles, equipped with laser-marking capability, the RAF sniper teams have already proved effective in combat.

As well as a range of cutting edge thermal imagers, the teams have been issued with laser target designators, range finders and a suite of VHF radios for maintaining air to ground communications, allowing them to counter the threat from vehicle borne suicide attacks by calling in air strikes.

Each field squadron within the RAF Regiment has a section of sniper-qualified riflemen who provide the surveillance and target acquisition capability for the squadron.

The section has a heli-sniper team on standby around the clock to respond to specific incidents. The team work on a rotational basis, with the heli-snipers carrying out ground sniping and surveillance duties when not on standby.

In order to operate the cutting edge battlefield technology, heli-snipers are put through a tough nine-week training course at Honington, covering all the essential elements of sniping and surveillance, including specialist marksmanship skills such as angular shooting and advanced correction for wind. 2 Sqn RAF Regiment sniper Cpl Ian McClive said:

"As this is a new skill to all the lads, we had to conduct a number of range sessions aboard the helicopters to see the effects on our shooting. Now after a little practise all of the lads are confident at engaging targets on the move from a helicopter."

Once qualified as snipers, specialists can go on to command a sniper section, but continual training is required for Service personnel to hone their shooting skills to deal with continually changing combat environments.


Great article, good to see some positive media, and dang what a really really sweet job.
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