What do you think the ATC/CCF(RAF)/RAFAC will be like in the next 50 years? What are your predictions?

Turn that question around. How many squadrons delivery ‘effective’ fieldcraft?

I’m not talking about what people think is fieldcraft, but proper FC based training :man_shrugging:t2:


Not many as we’re not allowed to!

The new pts syllabus is really clear… Any level can be delivered on Sqn… Aslong as you have quald staf… Thats the challenging bit

The quals need to be easier to achieve and proportionate to the PTS.

And wing then need to actually run them.



Fieldcraft and shooting (L98) go hand-in-hand. If the RAFAC gets rid of fieldcraft, there would be no justification for retaining the cadet GP. The only shooting available would then be air rifle (about the only ‘air’ remaining in air cadets) and clay pigeon (as part of AT). Loss of fieldcraft and GP shooting would be a major disincentive to cadets and CFAVs who joined for the military youth experience.

If we got rid of shooting and fieldcraft in RAFAC then we’d be a much more civilian oriented aerospace organisation, the cadets aren’t exactly going to go on bombing runs or air combat manoeuvring whilst on AEF🤔

They will if they complete the new Diamond level on the PTS


Your point is unfortunately disproven by history. It’s only recently that any figure above .0025% of the organisation was able to carry a rifle in the field under RAFAC rules.

The Cadet GP has existed and been in use by us far longer.

1 Like

Considering we are only recently pushing this agenda I’m not sure it would work out well.

The org is, if anything, going to take more advantage of the service rifle in the coming years I suspect.


If we can get the L103s back out to sqn hubs.
Else. Nope.

A lot of the DPs (certainly on the Army side of things) got chopped during lockdown, there is a lot less of them out there.

What about SB and FB target rifle?

Most cadets never get to fire the target rifle. When’s the last time cadets fired any sort of 22 rifle - No 8 or the plastic replacement? Most cadets I know typically shoot with air rifles first, before progressing on to the GP for CLF.

My argument is that the GP is a greens weapon. If the RAF drops fieldcraft, surely all other associated greens activities will follow for the RAFAC. Cadets can’t fire the GP wearing blues uniform, whereas the air rifle can be fired on squadron and while the cadets are in working blues. They learn all of the principles of marksmanship and gain marksmanship badges on the air rifle. I don’t agree with dropping fieldcraft or the GP, but playing devil’s advocate, why would the org need the GP if fieldcraft is scrapped?

I believe this is exactly what use to happen with the L98A1 & remember a couple doing so or in coveralls.

Shooting & fieldcraft are related but independent. When we had the no 8 everyone of my cadets were trained & fired it. Now we don’t as weapons security has become harder & harder particularly with the RAF treating every weapon as section 5.

The cadets enjoy fieldcraft as it is something different & outside. Cadets can & do tire of it if they do too much of it. At its basic level it is not too different to the survival weekends some scout groups do.

If we loose fieldcraft completely then we would do other activities. It is not the military be all as anyone can go & do a version of it.

Shooting is supported by a wider civilian shooting organisations (who have an interest in the grass roots coming through). However the live fire shooting element does link us to the military as it makes use of a specific exemption in legislation for cadet forces. This makes it unique to the cdt forces & a unique selling point.

However, 50 years is a long time in weapon systems & fieldcraft tactics.

  1. what uniform will we be wearing? DPMs still seem to be more common than MTPs despite the time they have been in service. We may not have a pragmatic uniform in future which already is a blocker.

  2. what weapon system will we be using? The lee Enfield had a service life of 60 years with the SLR having 40. Assume a life if 30years with the L98A2 & this means a replacement weapon in about 2040-50.

I suspect this weapon would not be section 5 but probably similar to the L98A1. There will be a move away from air rifle & .22 due to lead pollution & greater environmental restrictions.

As much as we all complained about the A1, the way it got through the legislation to permit cadets to shoot similar to the regulars is something we should commend in hind sight.

Shooting is a sport. We don’t have a sport uniform. We get them to wear civvies, like they do for sports. Easy.

No one is talking about the RAF dropping Fieldcraft, they could well drop the Regiment but that’s not the same thing.
Even without the regiment as a dedicated force protection unit the RAF would still do Ground Defence Training which covers everything the RAFAC could want and pretty much all that we use.

Just thinking about this, I imagine fieldcraft in the future may make greater use of drones on an exercise & perhaps other location sensors.

The fieldcraft we do (or should be doing) is still very much dads army style because it works at that simple level. The increase of technology may mean that we would need more complex training.

I saw this and immediately thought back to when I joined, which was the best part of 50 years ago.
The main aspect of any change in the Air Cadets has been the fast shrinking RAF and this will influence what happens going forward … in terms of a stand alone Air Cadet organisation.

When I joined as a cadet in the 70s, the RAF was still relatively big; lots of stations and aircraft, which meant plenty of resources and gaps to accommodate cadets.
Then the Iron Curtain fell and there wasn’t the (apparent) need for such large “standing” armed forces and the RAF IMO had to try and reinvent itself and remain relevant, so it shrank, but we didn’t, which meant the same numbers of cadets wanting to do the same and the RAF unable to fulfil the needs. The number of cadets did fall eventually but still not enough for the RAF to meet the needs. Not sure of the actual numbers now, but we became the tail wagging the dog, but still treated like the contents of a dog walkers little bag.

Looking forward the RAF has to decide what it wants us to be, because if they don’t and don’t change the way they treat the volunteer staff I’m not convinced there will an Air Cadet organisation in 25 years, let alone 50. Fewer staff means fewer cadets and squadrons and I suppose it depends what the critical mass is for us to remain financially viable to support a leadership costing several million in pay and ‘accommodation’?
After the lockdowns and the debacle of getting things going, I’m seeing a few younger staff (under 50 is younger) after the last couple of years, looking long and hard at their real lives and how that has to change and adapt for them to have a life with all the trimmings going forward. The increasing cost of living will subtlety affect the money everybody has for life’s luxuries, which includes hobbies and children’s activities. How this pans out will depend on the outcome of the current situation in the Ukraine and how Russia responds to the economic hostility.

We have got through the last 30 years, in the face of a shrinking parent organisation that seems unwilling and or incapable to give us the support enjoyed in the past, solely due to the tenacity and sheer bloody mindedness of the adult staff to do things in the face of a constant barrage of admin and you can’t do that unless you do this, this, this, this, this, this, this and inventing more “this’” as we go along. But how much longer will this level of “goodwill” last? Mandatory training why? The only thing we need to do that should be mandatory is safeguarding and there are plenty of little online courses out there, without the Air Cadets / RAF reinventing the wheel. Similarly other things as well, which seem to be OK for other institutions.

Going forward and to remain viable and sustainable we need a senior management imposed on us that understands the volunteer staff (and now it seems CWC), and we aren’t in this to fulfil some adminners wet dream. I’ve not seen any improvement in having FTRS senior management, over the old system. FTRS has meant platitudes with 5,10,15 year+ visions/plans that we all know are pointless as those coming up with them will never see them to completion. Anyone who has worked will see these each time there is a new HOD, CEO etc. At least I suppose Keeling displayed a degree of honesty in his RAFA interview, in terms of how those getting the senior managerial posts regard us. What we need, if we are to continue is the FTRS model to have people in the posts who can deliver what we need and not at least 2 levels below the real decision makers.

We should have a hiatus of 4 or 5 years to recover from the lockdowns and in this time we need initiative from on high about what the cadets will be doing and its national accessibility. Lose the big ticket one off camps and have more smaller events across the UK, so more cadets get a chance. But they aren’t up to it as seen in what happened after the lockdowns. This was the perfect time to reinvent the Air Cadets into something more 21st Century, but no, nothing doing and we came back trying to do the same old things but with more caveats. We hear lots about space and cyber and the all encompassing STEM/STEAM etc, but what does this actually mean and what does it actually look like in terms of squadron delivery. It is a struggle to get staff who are interested enough in ordinary things. I know we get some sqns who bang on about we’ve got the staff etc and look what we’ve done. This is not new. But they come and go, dependent on the interests of the staff they have at the time.

In 50 years time you can see the militaristic cadet forces will be a ‘purple’ organisation. As budget cuts, financial constraints and just the sheer lack of resources will make individual cf a luxury. If this came to pass what it would look like who knows, but I would see perhaps a single tri-service unit in a town, run by staff with no affiliation to any one force. Frankly I think the RAF hang on to us (to our detriment) as we provide jobs within the RAF, which you don’t see in the same way wrt the Army in relation to Army cadets. I may be wrong but is there a FTRS Brigadier and 6/7 FRTS full Colonels hiding somewhere in the Army just to oversee the ACF? I think the move to “purple” should happen within 10 years with no favour.

I think we need to look at this without worrying about what one or other of the parts of the RAF is or will be doing.


I agree entirely with the direction of travel but I don’t think it will ever eliminate the disciplines of cam and concealment, stealthy movement over terrain and observation / situational awareness.

To the point raised above about SERE, survival skills and ‘what the Scouts do’, I’d argue we should be broadening our scope to include some of that. IIRC survival skills used to be part of DofE. It would be useful to teach basic fire lighting, water purification and shelter building as well as what we currently cover.