Cuts Watch #164: RAF Tornados
Papers leaked to The Times (paywall) reveal that one option for cuts at the Ministry of Defence will be to scrap the RAF’s 120 Tornado GR4s – an all weather attack aircraft that has been the mainstay of the service. An alternative option is to ground the UK’s 45 Harrier aircraft. Sky News has reported that these cuts would be “to save cash for Trident.”
The RAF has already offered to withdraw the Tornados over 5 years and to cancel the Nimrod MRA.4 programme with BAE (worth £3.65 billion, but all but £200 million has already been spent). These cuts would allow the RAF to reduce personnel by 5,000, cancel support contracts with BAE and Rolls Royce worth £3 billion and make substantial savings on aircrew training. RAF bases in Lossiemouth and Kinloss might close as a result.