RAF in Denial
The head of the British Royal Air Force is taking a desperate bid to stave on any future cuts to the historic service, by seeking to absorb the Royal Navy’s own air arm. From the UK Telegraph:
The Chief of the Air Staff told The Sunday Telegraph that rationalisation in the armed forces would lead to the RAF running all combat jet operations.
The move would effectively neuter the Royal Navy’s maritime air force, the Fleet Air Arm, leaving the service with just a small complement of helicopters.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Neil WheelerThe Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), a former Tornado pilot, accepted that the decision would be controversial but said that such consolidation of air power was “inevitable” and added: “We have got to kill some scared cows to make ourselves more efficient”.
His comments were made amid increasing signs of friction between the service chiefs.
Last week, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, the head of the Royal Navy, attacked his British Army counterpart, General Sir Richard Dannatt, for suggesting that the military’s two new aircraft carriers were Cold War relics.
I hate to break it to the Air Marshal, but the Age of Airpower is swiftly in decline, unless you count unmanned airpower, belonging instead to the last century. No one can afford these new superfighters anymore, which aren’t even being used in the wars we are fighting today. Here he is making the same mistake of naval strategists of 100 years ago, who had no idea that the primitive airplanes of the era would lay ruin to their seemingly invincible dreadnought fleets. So it is with today, which is about “People” or Land Power, traditionally where its been through most of human history.
More–Strategypage makes the key point here:
Army commander General Sir Richard Dannatt has pointed out that only ten percent of spending on new equipment goes to the army (based on actual and planned spending between 2003-18). This, despite the fact that it’s the army that is doing most of the fighting during this period.
The air forces and to an extent the navies just aren’t getting it that the times and changes in warfare are against them, and they must adapt or die.