EL JEMA DE LA RAF ABOGA POR TOMAR EL CONTROL DE LOS AVIONES DE COMBATE DE LA ROYAL NAVY
Polémica en el Reino Unido han causado las declaraciones del JEMA de la RAF, Sir Glen Torpy, en lo que respecta a los aviones de combate que opera la Royal Navy.
Según su parecer, la racionalización y mejora en las fuerzas armadas debe llevar a que la RAF tome el control sobre todos los aviones de combate británicos. Lo que dejaría a la Fleet Air Arm con tan solo una cierta cantidad de helicópteros bajo su mando.
Los roces entres las distintas ramas de las FAS parecen agudizarse, ya que la semana pasada el AJEMA británico cargó contra el JEME por haber asegurado este que la compra de dos portaaviones es un gasto inútil propio de los tiempos de la Guerra Fria.
El gasto de la compra de los Typhoon también se ha convertido en motivo de controversia, lo que Sir Glen considera una tontería. Para el el Typhoon es el mejor avión de combate del mundo tras el F-22.
No obstante, asegura que la RAF solo se quedara con la mitad de los 232 aviones de combate Typhoon que planeaba comprar, y que venderán el resto para pagar los costes del avión.
The Chief of the Air Staff told The Sunday Telegraph that rationalisation in the armed forces would lead to the RAF running all combat jet operations.
The move would effectively neuter the Royal Navy's maritime air force, the Fleet Air Arm, leaving the service with just a small complement of helicopters.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), a former Tornado pilot, accepted that the decision would be controversial but said that such consolidation of air power was "inevitable" and added: "We have got to kill some scared cows to make ourselves more efficient".
His comments were made amid increasing signs of friction between the service chiefs.
Last week, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, the head of the Royal Navy, attacked his British Army counterpart, General Sir Richard Dannatt, for suggesting that the military's two new aircraft carriers were Cold War relics.
Sir Glenn, 55, heaped praise upon the Typhoon, the RAF's controversial multi-role combat jet, which, like the carriers, has been widely dismissed by many senior officers as a waste of money.
The RAF chief said that anyone – including his fellow senior officers – who suggested that the aircraft was a waste of money was speaking "rubbish".
He also revealed for the first time that the Typhoon force will consist of around 123 jets and not the 232 as originally planned.
Sir Glenn also said that the British armed forces desperately needed a strategic defence review to ensure that the military was properly "resourced and funded" to meet future threats facing Britain.
But it will be Sir Glenn's claim that future fixed wing combat operations would be flown and commanded by the RAF that will cause most concern in the other services.
If Sir Glenn's prediction is borne out, the move will effectively spell the end of the Fleet Air Arm, which was formed in 1912 and has seen action in every major campaign since the First World War.
Among the FAA's battle honours are the crippling of the Italian Fleet in Taranto Harbour by Swordfish biplanes in 1940 and its part in the sinking of the German pocket battleship Bismark the following year.
During the Falklands War, the FAA's Sea Harriers played a vital role in protecting the task force, shooting down 21 Argentine aircraft in air-to-air combat.
The FAA is composed of 6,200 personnel and currently flies the ground attack version of the Harrier as well as helicopters. The Royal Navy is hoping its role will be significantly expanded when two new large aircraft carriers are built, allowing it to fly supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft from the new vessels' desks.
But Sir Glenn predicted that the RAF would take over control of all fixed wing aircraft operations, effectively seizing control of the JSFs from the Royal Navy.
Sir Glenn told this paper: "Resources and finance drive you to rationalisation. I think over time you will see further rationalisation. I think you will find over time that the air force.... will end up doing aviation."
When asked whether such a move would mean the end of the Fleet Air arm and the Army Air Corps, he said: "Well we'll wait and see what happens. We'll see further consolidation, it is an inevitability as we try and make ourselves as efficient as possible.
He continued: "We have got to kill some scared cows to make ourselves efficient. The general public demand and deserve value for money and if that means we have to rationalise, that is what we have got to do."
Sir Glenn accepted that the move would be highly controversial but added: "It's something we have to do because otherwise you will not be delivering the maximum from the defence budget."
The Air Chief later clarified his position and said that he was referring to fix wing operations and not helicopters. But sources within the Army Air Corps feared that any shake up of military air power would have far reaching consequences.
Sir Glenn was equally forthright on the Typhoon, the RAF's latest combat jet, which came into service years late and over budget.
Privately, many senior officers believe that the aircraft is a Cold War relic and a waste of money. But Sir Glenn dismissed these claims as "rubbish", adding that it was "disappointing" to learn that such smears were being peddled from within the Ministry of Defence.
He added: "There is no other aircraft better than the Typhoon except for a US F22 Raptor and an F22 is significantly more expensive. Typhoon is truly multi-role, it is a world class aeroplane. It is absolute rubbish to call it a cold war relic and that just demonstrates that people do not understand what the aircraft does."
The RAF will only receive just over half the original number of the 232 Typhoons which were originally ordered, the rest will be sold to foreign allies to help pay for the cost of the aircraft.
Sir Glenn admitted that the 19-year operation in the Gulf, which began in 1990 and ended last week, and the war in Afghanistan had taken its toll on the RAF, from which it would take years to recover.
He praised the men and women who had served during the Iraq deployment in which more than 300,000 sorties were flown, describing the campaign as an "historic achievement".
But he added that the mission had damaged the RAF's resilience to deal with the unexpected and added that the impact of the war had been compounded by a reduction in RAF troop levels from 48,000 to 41,000, which he said was "too deep".
Sir Glenn, who retires at the end of July, said that given the challenges of the future the time was now "ripe" for a strategic defence review. He continued: "We are not in the right position to deliver the capability that we need to deliver for the long term. We need another defence review which looks at what we want to do in the world, what security we want, what armed forces we want to take on future threats and then we must make sure that we resource the armed forces properly. That's a debate that the government must have and I would hope that the general public were involved in that debate as well."
Fuente: Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph - Telegraph