The RAF of the 21st century does not require fieldcraft skills or the RAF Regiment, discuss

As a spin off from some comments in the “RAFAC of the future” thread, where I suggested the RAF Reg would be disbanded and the air cadets would lose fieldcraft, I put it to the assembled crowd that;

  • in a world where the government purse is increasingly cost conscious and seeking to spend money on only appropriate and relevant things,
  • in a world where the RAF no longer has expeditionary air fields requiring austere protection by a bespoke force,
  • in a world where joint operations are the norm, including allied countries,
  • when the RAF is going fully through the Astra process, rationalising and modernising it’s output,
  • when the RAF is putting a great emphasis on it’s move to focussing on space as an active warfighting domain,
  • when greater expertise and experience is offered by formations external to the RAF,
  • when the RAF Regiment is ignored when there is an urgent need to defend an airfield during an evacuation, the role instead being given to (iirc) The Parachute Regiment,
  • when the ceremonial duties can be undertaken by any suitably trained personnel,
  • when the warfighter portion of force development training can be delivered be either suitably trained RAFP personnel, Army or MoD Guard service,
  • when Survival, Evade, Resistance & Escape training can be provided to all aircrew (including RAF, RN and AAC) by more suitably trained joint personnel,

…that the RAF Regiment no longer serves any purpose.

And, by default, fieldcraft is a skill best left to personnel who are going to use it more regularly, namely, the Army and the Royal Marines, (meaning the Air Cadets shouldn’t waste their time on it).

Light the touch paper, stand back…


Brave post but one that I do very much agree with

I agree.

Bar one small point.

The specialist skills required to take and hold an airfield are just that. Specialist.

Once that capability is lost, its gone for good.

Im all for slimming military capabilities… lets start with all the pointless and serves no purpose ceremonial gumpf.
I would certainly advocate removing the QCS entitely.

I would go as far as disbanding all the military bands as well.

In an age where we need to focus resources on warfighting. Those nice to have add ons just arent value for money.

We need soldier with rifles etc.
Not banner boys with drums.

And it hasn’t been used since, I believe, 1965.

Yes, it’s a specialised skill. It’s also an irrelevant one in modern warfare.

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Parachute Regiment could easily absorb that capability though no?


And in fact did in Afghanistan.

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I have no love or favour for the Regiment.
But am wondering where the hostility towards it on here comes from?

Like i said.
Bin off the following first.

All MOD music.
All MOD cermonial.
All separate and pointless uniforms
All the little nonsense posts… like Head of RAF Ceremonial… can you even believe this is a full time reg post with a staff team! Convert all that into actual military effect.

Then fully Tri service

Only after cutting these wastes should actual front line forces be cut.

Thats all my point is.

Sooooo much waste in the MOD before we cut front line troops.

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Well tri-service is already here (under a different name) for cyber and medical, with 3/4 more trades (in old terminology) due to follow this year and next

It’s not hostility, it’s just I honestly don’t see the point in them anymore.

I’ve got plenty of friends in it, and met more than a handful in my time in.

The RAF regiment has been cut to the point of irrelevance, they once had a major role to play, but having lost their armour, their air defence role and now their CBRN role they don’t really bring anything to the table,

The budget could be better spent by the Army on their own infantry component.

I was going to say just that. RAF Regt was completely overlooked for the Kabul Airlift.

Didn’t they have and then lose Javelin several years ago as a specialism/training element as well as the CBRN stuff?

Paras could easily take over the jump school.

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Take the money and form a 4th regular PARA battalion, got to be a better use of the funding.

Also be one less band for @Paracetamol to be upset by :rofl:

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And all the current RAF Regiment could easily transfer over. That 5 miler of death puts them in good stead

As a Guin, I have on a couple of occasions defended HM’s Corps of the RAF Regiment to pongos who were ignorant of what the Rocks actually do.

The Army generally only view defending an airfield in terms of real estate. They understand perimeter guards and digging in to defend ground etc. They don’t get dominating the approach and departure air lanes, searching and checking for SAM launch points and mortar base plates which could harm air assets. In my conversations with the Army, they genuinely didn’t understand ‘air minded ground defence’.

Of course, anyone could be trained to do this, but at the moment, that’s what our long-armed, knuckle-dragging friends in the Regiment do very well. Why they weren’t used on Op PITTING is probably political and has absolutely nothing to do with capabilities.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: What do you think the ATC/CCF(RAF)/RAFAC will be like in the next 50 years? What are your predictions?

When the decision was made to cancel the Nimrod MRA4 and accept that we would have no maritime air capability there was no intention or plan in place to restore it. In spite of this the seedcorn project was created to embed crew with other nations in order to retain a nucleus around which a future maritime element could be formed.

The seedcorn team had to fight against very strong opposition from the Army who argued that the RAF were seeking funding for a project that did not comprise part of an existing policy. Fortunately they won the argument and when “Call me Dave” realised what he’d done we were in a position to regenerate a maritime force. Without seedcorn it would have been a much longer and more difficult process.

When you contemplate deleting a capability you must always consider how to recreate it, just in case your crystal ball has let you down. FWIW, I feel it was a significant mistake to relinquish the SHORAD role. I hope we don’t come to regret it.


Before WW2 the Army were tasked with defence of R.A.F. airfields,come WW2 they discovered that they couldn’t do it hence the formation of the R.A.F. Regiment,history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

That’s rather the point, there’s nothing the reg do that another formation couldn’t do equally well if not better.

So you teach them. They’ve got enough bodies and sway in the AAC to be able to convert folk over.

Part of our USP is we do flying. How’s that one working out…?

We mirror our parent organisation. If they don’t do green, neither should we.

There’s also the side point that if we say “we require cadets to do green stuff, we should provide them green uniform”, currently we don’t and this is a major discrepancy.

Seems to be a few of those skills in Ukraine…

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I realise there’s some crossover here, but considering we have a “RAFAC of the future” thread it would be great if we could try to keep them separate where possible please.

You can quote across from one thread to another by starting a post in the thread you’re quoting from, highlighting and hitting the “quote” button, then navigate to other thread and when you hit “reply” it will give you an option of which thread to post in.