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On Fewer Wings and a Prayer for the Future: The RAF and the Defence Command Paper

Main Image Credit Ministry of Defence (Open Government Licence) - A UK F-35B with two USAF F-35B’s and two RAF Typhoons

There are notable positive outcomes for the RAF, especially a long-overdue AESA radar upgrade for Typhoon and part-renewal of the Chinook fleet. However, there are also significant cuts to operational capability and key questions remain as yet unanswered.

The headline changes to the RAF’s force structure may lack the dramatic scale of those being undertaken by the British Army. Nevertheless, the Defence Command Paper (DCP) signals a significant course change for the RAF. The fixed and rotary wing mobility fleets, in particular, have suffered major cuts. Nine of the oldest CH-47 Chinooks are to be retired, although the intent is to subsequently replace them with new-build CH-47F/G airframes as part of a fleet upgrad

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Justin Bronk

Senior Research Fellow, Airpower & Technology

Military Sciences

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