RAF

RAF Fighter Numbers To Reach All-Time Low

Defence analysis group IHS Jane's said the RAF could be left with 127 combat jets by the end of the decade as 87 Tornados and the first...

Defence analysis group IHS Jane's said the RAF could be left with 127 combat jets by the end of the decade as 87 Tornados and the first tranche of 53 Typhoon jets are due to be retired.
 
Defence chiefs have already warned that the RAF’s fast jet fleet is stretched to the limit and the new analysis from IHS Jane’s warns it is “perverse” to cut numbers further.
 
The RAF’s 87 remaining Tornados and 53 tranche 1 Typhoons are scheduled to retire in 2019.
 
A Tornado F3 fighter from the now disbanded 25 Squadron.
The Ministry of Defence said the RAF "has and will have" the aircraft it needs to meet its global commitments.
 
 
IHS Jane's analysis took into account the counter argument of modern aircraft capability:
 
"While there is some validation to the argument that, because the Tranche 2 and 3A Typhoons and the F-35Bs are more capable aircraft than those that came before them, fewer will be needed, it is also very true that no aircraft, no matter how capable, can be in more than one place at any time."

 

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The report continued: This has been shown by the government’s recent decision to slow down the pace of the Tornado retirement, even reconstituting an already disbanded unit, to ensure that simultaneous operational commitments in three theatres (Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Africa at that time) could be met. 

 

 

BAE Systems, which makes the Typhoon, and many defence leaders are lobbying for the MoD to fill the gap by upgrading the tranche 1 Typhoon to keep it flying through the next decade.
 
One senior officer said: “When they reach their out-of-service date, there will still be a lot of life left in them.”

 

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