Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Redundancies Tranche 2; F35 update

I'd dare saying that it is not at all as bad as it promised to be according to press reports. Still nasty, but it could have been worse by far.

The Army is looking to discharge up to 2900 men, of which 400 are to come from the Gurkha brigade. 8 Brigadier posts will disappear, along with up to 60 Lieutnant Colonels.

The RAF seeks up to 900 redundancies, including 15 Air Commodores and 30 Group Captains.

The RN seeks up to 300 redundancies, inclusive of 5 Commodores, 17 Captains and some 19 RM officers, with Royal Marines losses in other ranks.

RN and RAF are confident that they won't need a Tranche 3 of redundancies to meet their downsizing target, which will be reached slowing down recruitment. The Army, instead, has a lot more pain ahead of itself.
This second Tranche follows the first reduction, in September 2011, which saw 1020 RN posts disappear, along with 920 RAF and 920 Army. 62% of the personel who quit had applied for leaving. This time around the volunteers are expected to be much fewer, making it all more painful. 

The first two UK F35, of the B variant, will be delivered in May. Training of UK personnel for the F35 for the next years will happen at Englin Air Base (Florida) in the "F35 university" of the US forces. The UK F35s will fly their test and evaluation sorties from Edwards Air Base (California).

The first F35C for the UK is the CF-17, a USMC F35C which will be exchanged for the british BK-3 F35B.
The F35C assigned to the UK is expected to change name and become CK-1.


  1. Hi Gabriele,

    Well there was nothing new in the statement was there?
    Did they say when tranche 3 would be, I guess that must let us know about unit cuts?
    Is there a JSF review going on?


    1. Nothing really new, no. But it is interesting to see high ranks in the list of posts to vanish, for once. Impressive, if this list is respected.

      I don't remember when Tranche 3 will be announced, but it is anyway unlikely that the Regiment cuts will be announced as part of such a tranche. Soon enough there should be new announcements about, specifically, the equipment programme and the Army structure. These will be separate statements.

      There is not a JSF review going on. The UK is following the developments of uS budget cuts, testing and problem-shooting. There won't be any additional spending for the Uk for fixing the tailhook issue on the F35C, as all these activities are US funded.

      By late this year there will be announcements about the final conversion strategy for CVF, and (maybe) some more clarity about F35C orders as well. Lately there's been talk of 5 billions for around 50 F35C.

    2. Thanks Gabriele.

      I agree with the high rank cuts, long overdue in my opinion.
      I am very keen to learn about the force structure, and unit cuts. Any news on them will be very welcome.
      I guess 50 F35s is about right, 2 operational sqns, 1 OCU and a reserve pool?

    3. It's possible that yes, 50 F35C might be something in that order of magnitude. But with the F35 there shouldn't be, for what i understood, a whole OCU squadron, but a frontline squadron with an OCU Flight, as with RAF helicopter squadrons.
      Something to do with the quality of Simulators, Hawk T2 training, and (possibly) with the exploitation of larger US resources for carrier training not just in the first few years, but long term.

      If France and Italy can have their Navy pilots trained in the US, there's no reason why the "special partner" would have to fear about the US not training its personnel, no...?


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