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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; Is it upgrade few predator competence, line composition ? Upheaval and squad base regroup, rejoining active tech and if not ...


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Old April 17th, 2008   #76
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Is it upgrade few predator competence, line composition ?

Upheaval and squad base regroup, rejoining active tech and if not
misinterpretting, minor and possible program expansion for RAF, coming in sight.
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Old April 17th, 2008   #77
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Originally Posted by robsta83 View Post
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.
Yes great to hear. Airborne snipers can be extremely effective as the recent French operation to capture Somali pirates have shown.

A minor problem with the article. The RAF does not operate Lynx helicopters. They probably will have some RAF pilots flying them for the Army Air Corps within Joint Helicopter Command, though.

Quote:
Is it upgrade few predator competence, line composition ?

Upheaval and squad base regroup, rejoining active tech and if not
misinterpretting, minor and possible program expansion for RAF, coming in sight.
Proforma obviously you aren't an English speaker, I will however attempt to add to what you said.

The RAF is anxious to expand its Predator and Reaper operations(These are currently being conducted jointly with the USAF, even though 39 Squadron RAF has been reformed for this purpose). However there are significant budgetary hurdles. So much so that the recent RAF foreign military sales request for 10 additional Reapers is in jeopardy.

There is an increasing trend to operate ISTAR assets jointly in a 'pool' of aircraft with the USAF. A recent article in the magazine Air Forces Monthly, indicated that the UK Ministry of Defence was concidering leasing two 'Rivet Joint' ISTAR aircraft from the USAF, to be operated in a similar manner to the current 'pool' of RAF\USAF Predators and Reapers. These aircraft would act as a replacement for the current 51 Squadron Nimrod R.1's.

Is this trend a good thing? I think not.
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Old April 17th, 2008   #78
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There is an increasing trend to operate ISTAR assets jointly in a 'pool' of aircraft with the USAF. A recent article in the magazine Air Forces Monthly, indicated that the UK Ministry of Defence was concidering leasing two 'Rivet Joint' ISTAR aircraft from the USAF, to be operated in a similar manner to the current 'pool' of RAFUSAF Predators and Reapers. These aircraft would act as a replacement for the current 51 Squadron Nimrod R.1's.

Is this trend a good thing? I think not.
You're right, the failiure to modernise the Nimrod R.1 and the leasing of Rivet Joint is yet another example of Whitehall's short-sightedness. As the AFM article describes, the loss of R.1 would remove a critical UK independent SIGINT asset that is more in tune with RAF doctrine than Rivet Joint. Indeed, I wonder how old the Rivet Joint's we lease would be and would the US place restrictions on their use??

The effectiveness of the R.1 platform has been consistently proven time and again, I fear however the RAF brass will roll-over and accept the decision. As per their usual SOP at the moment.

Last edited by Actual; April 17th, 2008 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Format
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Old April 17th, 2008   #79
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Quote:Neil

Yes, you moderators are saying line after another line, please do not repeat
and repeat already expressed opinions and comments, so pardon when
beg to differ as a columnist.

23801 lines written; " I do think this is not considerable sell-off year 2001
tyre-parts" is looking not yet desirable for us all.

And this time your choice to give one of us a point(s) to consider.

A minor point already written previously, quoting predator
exercise multinationally with (not hoping sadly) predator/reaper/etc.,
jointly and severally; good or not and when the costs are asking attention
what can you say ? Not one joyless mission reduction again in sight.

Thank You for valuation.
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Old April 17th, 2008   #80
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As far as I am aware the RAF does not 'pool' its Reapers with the USAF. I have always been led to believe that we base our operators in Nevada because it is cheaper to than to set up the facilities in the UK to run what is currently a fairly small force. (We own three outright.)

BTW, do we have a link that states the UK buy is in danger from budget cuts, or are we just speculating based on the fact that the military is at the moment working under the fear of Whitehall induced cuts across all three services?

I suspect the leasing of River Joint (is it still going ahead?) would be short term, and that once the budget is better, we will probably build replacements for the R1 fleet.

Edit: just delving into the realms of politics quickly. RAF Brass do not roll over. However, as they are supposed to be apolitical, you will never find any of the Armed Forces top brass having a major public argument with the Govt in the UK papers (although retired ones do). No doubt behind the scenes you will find them working hard to stop any cuts.
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Old April 18th, 2008   #81
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Nothing new info until this minute.
But where is today latest predator news forum ?
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Old April 18th, 2008   #82
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Originally Posted by Pro'forma View Post
Quote:Neil

Yes, you moderators are saying line after another line, please do not repeat
and repeat already expressed opinions and comments, so pardon when
beg to differ as a columnist.

23801 lines written; " I do think this is not considerable sell-off year 2001
tyre-parts" is looking not yet desirable for us all.

And this time your choice to give one of us a point(s) to consider.

A minor point already written previously, quoting predator
exercise multinationally with (not hoping sadly) predator/reaper/etc.,
jointly and severally; good or not and when the costs are asking attention
what can you say ? Not one joyless mission reduction again in sight.

Thank You for valuation.
What??!?

Never mind.

ASFC wrote:
Quote:
As far as I am aware the RAF does not 'pool' its Reapers with the USAF. I have always been led to believe that we base our operators in Nevada because it is cheaper to than to set up the facilities in the UK to run what is currently a fairly small force. (We own three outright.)

BTW, do we have a link that states the UK buy is in danger from budget cuts, or are we just speculating based on the fact that the military is at the moment working under the fear of Whitehall induced cuts across all three services?

I suspect the leasing of River Joint (is it still going ahead?) would be short term, and that once the budget is better, we will probably build replacements for the R1 fleet.

Edit: just delving into the realms of politics quickly. RAF Brass do not roll over. However, as they are supposed to be apolitical, you will never find any of the Armed Forces top brass having a major public argument with the Govt in the UK papers (although retired ones do). No doubt behind the scenes you will find them working hard to stop any cuts.
16 Hours Ago 10:51 PM
There is indeed a link that states the RAF Reaper request was in some doubt due to budget cuts. Perhaps I shouldn't have brought it up since I don't have the link any more.(Can't remember what site it was on.)

As for the credibility of that particular fear, we'll have to wait and see. The MoD says it is wrapping up the next planning round, so maybe all will be revealed soon.

As for the report on the RAF leasing the Rivet Joint, that was from a respected UK aviation magazine. No official word regarding this has been released from the MoD as far as I know.

There seems to be a geniune effort to by the UK to increase its ISTAR capabilities in spite of huge budget difficulties. (ASTOR,Watchkeeper,Reaper,Predator..)
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Old April 18th, 2008   #83
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RAF Reaper crashes in the Sand pit.

http://defensenews.com/story.php?i=3487241&c=MID&s=AIR

Woops

Although the crash itself will probably turn out to be insignificant inthe grand scheme of things, I'm interested to know whether the '4-6 Reapers' the MOD was looking at buying before the crash is on top of the first request of 10 or was part of a plan to get around the budget shortfall by buying the UAV's in batches. It also looks like an MOD 'source' has confirmed that the UK is arming its Reapers in the 'near future'.

Last edited by ASFC; April 18th, 2008 at 10:42 PM. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old May 9th, 2008   #84
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It seems more problems are brewing......

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...exercises.html
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Old May 9th, 2008   #85
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Yep, for Airbus. Although the article did not state which C-130s, i presume they meant the older C1,2&3 variants. As their continued use is down to A-400 delays, if there are more delays, I see Airbus losing the contract and Britain runing back to the US for more C-130's or C17's.
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Old May 9th, 2008   #86
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Yep, for Airbus. Although the article did not state which C-130s, i presume they meant the older C1,2&3 variants. As their continued use is down to A-400 delays, if there are more delays, I see Airbus losing the contract and Britain runing back to the US for more C-130's or C17's.
Naah. The RAF would just ask for, and get, the extra couple of C-17s it wants anyway, to tide it over until the A400M start arriving. Cancelling the A400M order would probably cost the RAF money, but it gets compensation from Airbus for delays.
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Old May 13th, 2008   #87
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Agree with Swerve, various sources have suggested that they wanted 8 C-17's all along so they would order a couple more to fill the gap. They are proving so useful I don't see them selling them once the A400 gets into service either.
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Old May 13th, 2008   #88
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Originally, they were stop gaps. However the need to have more (in the 8-12 region) came about because they proved their usefulnes and the RAF and MOD saw it as an opportunity to replace a long lost capability by buying the at the end of the lease regardless of the A-400's progress. If they were going to dispose of them when the A-400 came on line, they would have just continued the lease rather than buy them.
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Old May 13th, 2008   #89
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Originally, they were stop gaps. However the need to have more (in the 8-12 region) came about because they proved their usefulnes and the RAF and MOD saw it as an opportunity to replace a long lost capability by buying the at the end of the lease regardless of the A-400's progress. If they were going to dispose of them when the A-400 came on line, they would have just continued the lease rather than buy them.
Agreed, entirely. I see now that when I said "tide it over", it could have been interpreted as a temporary acquisition, but that isn't what I meant.
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Old May 25th, 2008   #90
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Can someone clarify the UK Predator and Reaper procurement for me, please?

How many Reapers and Predators does the RAF operate and are they actual property of the RAF? I can't tell whether the RAF purchased the UAVs or are just operating US owned UAVs.

Wasn't the Nimrod R.1 supposed to be undergoing an upgrade program called "Project Helix"? I heard that the Nimrod R.1 was supposed to be an excellent asset that was superior in some ways to US equivalent (RC-135s if i'm right). I don't understand why the MoD hasn't decided remanufacture the R.1s in a parellel program to the MRA4. It makes no sense to update the R.1 if the airframe is coming to the end of its days.

I also wonder what will fill the boots of the now retired Canberra PR9. IMINT has lately been carried out by the Nimrod MR2 but what about the future when the smaller MRA4 fleet will no doubt be tied up with Maritime survelience commitments?

I wonder if the Predator and Reaper are essentially going to be seen as a replacement to the Canberra or whether the UK may look into buying Global Hawks. I also wonder whether the UK may decide to go a for something developed from the CORAX with a large wing as a Canberra replacement and alternative to the Global Hawk.
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