RAF 100 a Personal View

THE ROYAL AIR FORCE AT 100

A PERSONAL VIEW by Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE DL RAF (Retd) Hon Secretary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust CIO and the Battle of Britain Fighter Association and Founder DefenceSynergia Member

On the 1 April 2018 the Royal Air Force celebrated its centenary. I am proud to have served in the Royal Air Force for a third of its existence, 33 and a bit years. This dates me! Looking in my logbook, I flew a Chipmunk basic training aircraft from RAF Colerne, near Bath to RAF West Malling and return on 1 April 1968, the 50th Anniversary of the RAF. I had to avoid RAF Odiham in Hampshire both ways as it was the location of the 50th Anniversary of the RAF celebrations. I was not invited! I was only a lowly Flight Lieutenant. I still remember running upstairs in “Costas” to file my return flight plan. (The original control tower has been sympathetically refurbished and is a business centre with a Costa coffee bar at Kings Hill the former RAF West Malling) What follows is my personal view of the world’s first independent air force at 100. (more…)

Storm Shadow-After Tornado retirement?

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the UK’s launch of Storm Shadow at Syria on 13 Apr 18, the Prime Minister had the luxury of selecting this low risk military option. The UK support to the US, UK French coordinated joint action was contributed by Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft which launched the Storm Shadow cruise missiles targeted at a facility where it had been assessed the Assad regime had stockpiled chemical weapon elements in contravention of Syria’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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DefenceSynergia Briefing – The Retirement of Tornado GR4 and A Restrictive Ministry Of Defence Two Fast Jet Fleet Policy

DefenceSynergia (DS) must, once again, draw attention to the incoherent and risky air power policy of the Royal Air Force (RAF) inherent in the planned retirement of the Tornado GR4 fleet by mid 2019 especially when linked to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) ill advised ‘Two Fast Jet Fleet’ policy. Until recently the RAF had 36 Tornado GR4 aircraft active in service across three squadrons, although one of the three Tornado Force squadrons, 12 Sqn, was disbanded on 14 Feb 2018 the rest are slated to be retired during 2019. (more…)

Novichok

DS is aware that in 1992 the West knew of Novichok through the data provided by a defecting Russian scientist; see document in link here. (table2, page 25) Yet the two most recent Threat trend analyses for and by HMG hardly mention CBRN via state actors; see documents in links here.
 
It bothers DS that following SDSR 2010 the Joint Army/RAF Regiment specialist CBRN capability built up during the Cold War was emasculated on the basis of a conveniently upbeat threat analysis in respect of the future CBRN threat. This in turn gave the green light, in an otherwise manpower reducing scenario for the Army to retain soldiers by giving up its former responsibilities in the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment  and transferring the responsibility to the Defence CBRN Wing.
The MoD has the national CBRN expertise, perhaps it should, under MACA/MACP support, always take the initial lead in containing and managing the contamination in these incidents: naturally under command of civil Gold Command.
 
Time for a wake up and shake up in Whitehall.”  

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