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

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.

No matter what happens to the RAF Regiment I think it is really important that cadets continue to do it.
The reason is it popular with cadets. By joining ATC you get the air activities, but also the army ones, 2 for the price of 1. I also feel a lot of female cadets enjoy it.
I can remember an ex Sqdn Leader complaining about greens because it was not the RAF thing to do.
Air Cadets provides an amazing opportunity for young people and having a wide range of activities, including fieldcraft is a good thing.

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Careful there, they may even want cadets to enjoy the RAFAC offer and think its fun.

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My view on the RAF Regt is that it may be a different size and shape but will still be there. While others may be able to back-fill the role all the services are currently stretched. If the suggestion is that the army take on the role then the personnel would need to come from the infantry who are already spread too thinly. If we are talking host nation support then while there are many places in the world where this would work there are probably an equal number where I wouldn’t want others to be wandering around my assets (both physical and human) in heavily armed groups. Self protection by technical personnel is always a last resort but that would impact on air ops. Of course the RAF Regt also makes a contribution to the SF Support Group which could be absorbed by others but not without some other contribution having to be scaled back or removed. At the end of the day whoever carries out the role the cost still comes from the same pot HMG. My last thought is that the reason the army tries to retain self sufficient battle groups is that you control all the assets you need to deliver the effect required, when the ++++ hits the fan you don’t suddenly discover that a key enabler is a no show.
As far as field craft is concerned it is a brilliant vehicle for developing leadership, teamwork and peeling away the outer layers to reveal the person underneath. The technicalities being less important than the developmental value. it should remain.


Given how much the RAF changed from 1990 to 2000 no one potentially outside of the those “in the know” could have seen it coming, so us trying to second guess is pointless. Whatever happens with the Rocks, the impact on us as an organisation would be non-existent, if they stopped we wouldn’t notice and if they ramped up we wouldn’t notice. The RAF’s ability to fly conventionally is more key to us as an organisation. There may be this push for remote piloting, but it is up there with watching paint dry and puddles evaporate. Join the Air Cadets and do what the Army Cadets do, with an very, very outside chance of getting proper hands of flying, if you’re really lucky, is hardly a selling point.
FMS is like everything, some cadets (and staff) enjoy it while many don’t and if they can’t get out of it, do it for a quiet life. We need to get round the myth that people joining the Air Cadets have little more than sideways nod to anything remotely militaristic. The vast majority of youngsters join as a club where they might make some mates or already have mates who have joined. Many adults are here to help kids do things and no interest or no more than passing interest in the military side.

Yikes. Two blocks of text in a row.

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You’re just so out of touch its beyond words.

On our squadron we have meaningful training on our sim - one of the cadets favourite activities… very closely followed by drone flying- which they are becoming very proficient at. We do racing, obstacle courses, all sorts. They love it.

Moving into model rocketry soon, something we recently had a taster of and went down a storm.


I thought this was still banned?

You’re good indoors.

Outside is banned, not sure why. Other than committing a completely mental act of self harm.


Guess, but is likely because people weren’t following the CAA rules about size, weight and where to fly them. So rather than tell people to follow the rules, they’re slamming down the ban hammer. Clever.

Can you provide details of the indoor drone you use.
… might be of interest!

What space do you use it in?

Stupid. If people are ignoring the rules let the CAA prosecute.

Same as anything else we do. If staff break the law then it’s not the RAFACs fault.

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Messaged :+1:

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Target shooting and clay target shooting is a sport… service rifle shooting however, is not.

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Hi, I would be interested to know what drone you are using. Many thanks

This one was posted previously, can’t recall if it was GoodEgg or someone else, but suggested it could be used indoors.