Britain's RAF to cut trainee pilots

BRITAIN'S RAF TO CUT TRAINEE PILOTS

 

Air Vice Marshal Green delivered the news personally, in visits to three flying schools, including RAF Cranwell, the oldest air force college in the world, where 40 or 50 posts will be lost.

Air Vice Marshal Mark Green, the head of Royal Air Force training, told a hundred student pilots on February 15 that they will lose their jobs without earning their wings.

The British government is scrapping all its Harrier jump jets, all its Nimrod reconnaissance planes and reducing its force of Tornado fast jets.

Air Vice Marshal Green delivered the news personally, in visits to three flying schools, including RAF Cranwell, the oldest air force college in the world, where 40 or 50 posts will be lost.


The Daily Telegraph had already revealed that the redundancy list includes as many as 20 fast jet pilots, 30 helicopter pilots and 50 transport aircraft pilots, many just a few flying hours from earning their wings.

The cost to the British taxpayer of their curtailed training has been put at 300 million pounds. Some students had offered in vain to take a pay cut or sabbatical leave in order to complete the training.

The Ministry of Defence said: 'The Strategic Defence and Security Review has already made clear there will be a reduction in the number of assets and airframes across all three services, and that the RAF would be reduced by around 5000 personnel to a total of about 33,000 by 2015.

MSgt. Lance Cheung, USAF

'However, any reductions in the RAF will not affect operations in Afghanistan and priority areas of capability will not be compromised.'

Opposition Defence Minister, Jim Murphy, said the Labour Party supported necessary savings but was appalled at the way this announcement had been handled.

On the same day, the Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox was called to the House of Commons to apologise for an "appalling mistake" in which a civil servant told 38 long-serving army warrant officers by email that they are to be sacked next year.

The men, all with 22 years service, had been retained on short term contracts because of their valuable expertise. One man was serving in Afghanistan.

The MoD said: 'The Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow incorrectly sent letters to 38 warrant officers telling them that their rolling contracts are coming to an end in 12 months time. A letter should have gone first to the commanding officers... as soon as the mistake was realised, the COs were informed and spoke to the warrant officers. We apologise for the inevitable distress that this will have caused."

'This was a clerical error, pure and simple. We will try to help them find employment ... but as of now we need to prepare them for the worst.'

Dr Fox told the House of Commons: ''This is a completely unacceptable way to treat anyone, not least our armed forces.

'The correct procedure was not followed. I regret this and want to reiterate the unreserved apology already made by the army and on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.'

 

Photo: Tornado GR4 RAF - Wikimedia Commons
Photographer: MSgt. Lance Cheung, USAF

 

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