This a post from one of our regular contributors who makes the case for an end to an independant RAF. It’s definitely worth a serious debate although I tend to think it is often made from a position of ‘look what we could have’ rather than practical effect or realisation of benefits.
For the record, I am of the opinion that we need an independent RAF.
Ixion starts by challenging part of my previous post on the RAF…
‘I think the answer is actually pretty clear, air power can deliver strategic effects independently of the other services and the nature of the tasks and equipment needs a fully focussed organisation to deliver those affects. Air stuff is all the RAF do, with the other services its ‘something else’ they do’.
For the first time You have posted something I actually disagree with at first principle, (and with a simple paragraph waive away a complex argument), rather than, say implementation or equipment.
I expect to get flack for this and maybe even shot down in flames (can you see what I did there), but enjoying creative disputaion, (with the accent on the creative). I would like you and others to get involved in the dog fight(ditto).
‘Air power can deliver strategic effects independent of the other services’
Obviously it can. But I ask my first simple questions.
- What does our current fleet of aircraft offer in the way of strategic (to stick to the strategic element) bombing capability that a slew of current cruise missiles do, many available in containerised form?
- Why could not a division of the Army Air Corps be as focused as the RAF on that job?
- The strategic use of independent air power is controversial as to it’s actual effectiveness, a VERY long history exists of over-claiming it’s effectiveness, as do protestations that this time the technology is right, and now it realy will work.
- We don’t have enough aircraft for a proper independent strategic campaign
I think your initial premise is flawed.
Protect UK Territories
Virtually any air attack on the UK or it’s territories must come over the sea, therefore a unified command control structure for that must include RN, so why not let them do it?
Strike, Expeditionary Air Defence, Close Air Support
This is all completely tied in with suporting Army requirement, again divisions of Army Air Corps could do this.
Ditto (indeed current deployments seem to suggest from the US point of view this activity should be Army lead.
Building regional security and special forces support
You have already proposed RN Forward basing for this, again why not FAA for this task (Or given it’s expanded capabilities the return of the RNAS.
Why would we want to do this, why get rid of RAF?
We have 3 organisations doing ‘Air’ 2 small AAC, and FAA. and one ‘large’ RAF.
Both AAC and FAA, have a reputation for doing more with less, (in particular manpower). If the RAF was abolished 3 become 2.
Of course the technical logistic support would remain; most of the RAF up to wing commander would exchange light blue for Dark, and cammo.
But we would loose a whole tranche of upper echelon PONTi’s and a the opportunities for savings on infrastructure cost would be huge.
Further the 2 forces (I venture to suggest) would be more focused on the realities of the modern world. Costs, and threats. RN Fighter cover is more likely to be around when the RN Needs it. AAC Likewise. Transport aircraft more likely to be available to to transport Army around. Capabilities could actually improve for any given budget.
I Realise this would in effect create 2 competing sepperate forces with capability overlap, but that is not necessarily a bad thing (indded we allready have 3 way capability overlap with helicopters to some degree, and the armu mess about with small boats. The competition is likely to be healthier than at the moment keeping them on their toes and encoraging innovation.
Please note I am not anti airpower, and this post has made little mention of equipment. (which i would like to see expanded in numbers and capability no matter who flies it). I am trying to free up funds for more capability.
Does the sacred cow live to Moo another day.
I do not underestimate the idiots of the treasury treating this as oppourtunity to cut. But lets ignore realpolitic for a moment and consider this from purely strategic review position.
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