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Old 07-03-2012, 09:30
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: The Formation of the Fleet Air Arm

POSTSCRIPT and back to where all this began

The lack of ASW development during the 1920s and 1930s was not entirely the fault of the Air Ministry. The struggle between the Admiralty and Air Ministry continued into the 1930s and it was the Admiralty that lost sight of why it was pursuing its own air service for the Navy. It became more a matter of getting revenge over the RAF for its success in defeating earlier attempts to break up the Air Force. It succeeded in forcing the return of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) from the RAF in 1937, but made no effort to develop ASW formations. Instead it continued to believe in the supremacy of the capital ship and the FAA was meant to be suitable for fleet actions only. It was a mistake most of the major powers, in particular the Imperial Japanese Navy, made during the lead up to the Second World War.

Throughout the inter war period, the Admiralty had been continually sceptical of the aircraft's ability to sink a surface vessel. It was regarded as merely a reconnaissance technology. This resulted in a lack of development of a maritime strike force and lost another early opportunity to garner support for Coastal Area/Coastal Command.

In summation First Sea Lord David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty proclaimed "I know of no operation in which the Navy and the Air [Service] have to co-operate in which the Navy would not play the more important role than the air service"

PPS Sheldon's IF ONLY-speaks volumes

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Old 11-07-2012, 15:07
Rupert Rupert is offline
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Default Re: The Formation of the Fleet Air Arm

Originally Posted by KizmeRD View Post
Future generations of fighter aircraft are all going to be pilotless drones. The Royal Navy is already preparing for this technological change-over by fitting Play Stations in the Junior Rates Messes of all our ships at sea - what are the RAF doing I ask you?

Interesting thread.

Military aviation is undoubtedly changing towards Autonomous/Unmanned/Uninhabited air vehicles rather than traditional aircraft. These range from tiny hand launched affairs to aircraft sized complex vehicles.

Currently they are more at the unmanned (i.e. remote contol) end rather than autonomous but this is changing. Meaning that not only will a pilot not be needed, nor will the equivalent person back at base.

As this proceeds, one does wonder whether the force that is at risk is not the FAA but the RAF. Certainly the RAF reactions in the build-up to SDSR seemed to indicate that they thought there was a risk of aviation being handed over to the army/AAC and RN/FAA. Increasingly perhaps the FAA will by the same token by less a quasi-separate organisation, and more just another subset of equipment within the RN
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:31
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: The Formation of the Fleet Air Arm

The RAF is unlikely to go down the path of recruiting computer whizzes.
But the Americans have accepted the need for only a second-class medical certificate, and some RAF airmen believe it is only a matter of time before medically unfit experienced combat pilots get a new lease of life flying drones.
This in itself speaks volumes

Within two years, a new British drone, Taranis, is due to be unveiled that may finally be enough to excite the Typhoon pilots.
Designed during a project to replace RAF Tornado GR4s, it is expected to look like a bat-winged stealth bomber and will have such a long flight duration and weapons-carrying ability that it may spell the end of manned combat aircraft.

The point you make Rupert about how all of this new technology will seriously affect the existing Armed Services is an important one.I believe that it is possible for the "last in"-the RAF could well be run down; as the air roles are taken up by the Royal Navy and the Army.At this juncture it is pure supposition but Time Marches On and of course" waiteth for no man"
However of the four fundamental roles of air and space power (control of the air and space, air mobility, intelligence and situational awareness, and attack), cyberwar has key role to play in each. The RAF must drive these capabilities forward in the Joint environment alongside the other services. Crucially, in developing this way the RAF would find it easier to articulate its relevance in the 21st Century as it focused on capabilities and not delivery platforms. In the 20th Century the aeroplane was unique because of its capabilities but in the 21st Century it no longer remains so. The future of the Royal Air Force is not just about planes.


Last edited by jainso31 : 11-07-2012 at 15:49.
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Old 11-07-2012, 17:15
Rupert Rupert is offline
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Default Re: The Formation of the Fleet Air Arm

Originally Posted by jainso31 View Post
The future of the Royal Air Force is not just about planes.

A very key sentence. The question is whether the RAF have made it so. By trying to insist on ship launched aircraft and every helicopter capable of carrying more than x people being an RAF thing.

They could have carved out a boundary which is not so defined by the platform but by capability. But I don't think they have, and it may be too late to change.

Is a completely autonomous reconnaisance vehicle that looks like a missile, is controlled like a missile and flies like a missile an aircraft (and hence RAF) or a missile and hence RN (say)

There are UAVs that are more aircraft like, but the boundary is blurring
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Old 11-07-2012, 17:35
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: The Formation of the Fleet Air Arm

"flies like a missile an aircraft (and hence RAF)"-not so Rupert,FAA and AAC have aircraft too; but the RAF do not have missiles (other than those carried as weapons).I too think the RAF should by now, have nailed their flag to the mast of capability.
"They could have carved out a boundary which is not so defined by the platform but by capability. But I don't think they have, and it may be too late to change."
I do believe that you have" hit the nail squarely on the head" with that statement ."Too Late the Capability" may be their epitaph Rupert.

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