UK Government Denies Pilot Shortage for Libya No-Fly Zone


Ouch…what a pickel the UK Ministry of Defense is in.

A Telegraph story quoted British Air Force sources as saying that training of new pilots had to be suspended because the Libya NFZ tipped the balance when added to other world committments.

A report in the Daily Telegraph quoted RAF sources as saying that a shortage of pilots meant there were not enough personnel to replace those currently serving in Libya.

The paper quoted ‘RAF sources’ as saying that 18 of the UK’s 69 qualified Typhoon pilots are in Southern Italy enforcing the no-fly zone, 24 are on Quick Reaction Alert duties and 12 are in the Falklands, leaving 15 to replace those serving over Libya.

The 18 Typhoon pilots based at Gioia Dell Colle airbase in Italy can be deployed for two months at a time, meaning replacements would be needed at the end of April if operations continue in Libya.

Of course the MOD denies this, saying simply that…

“There is no shortage of pilots and we are able to cover the Falkland Islands, UK Air Defence, Afghanistan, training requirements and operations in Libya with sufficiently trained Typhoon and Tornado pilots.”

Hmmm…Let’s not forget #10 has begun to implement severe defense cuts to balance the UK budget — including 7,000 jobs cuts in the RAF. The Telegraph reported late last summer that the Strategic Defence and Security Review called for cutting 295 planes and force the RAF to be airworthy with fewer than 200 planes — that’s about the same level they had at the beginning of World War I.

The government’s denial doesn’t pass the sniff test and sounds to me like a “oh shit, they found out” sidestep.

(Gouge DMJ)

— Christian

  • blight

    Stop loss.

  • Robert

    This is what happens when a nation goes broke. The U.S. will soon follow if congress does not make some dramatic cuts in spending.

    • Rusty

      Or, you know, we could reform our massively corrupt government with its excessive nepotism and defense contractor teat suckling

    • STemplar

      No, this is what happens when a nation makes a decision to step away from the world stage and then wants to play like they were still spending the same money.

  • SJE

    Do they really need 12 in the Falklands, and 24 on quick reaction stand-by?

  • STemplar

    It’s no big deal in the good and honorable Mr. Cameron would understand the UK needs to stay home and not involve if that’s the kind of defense spending they want to engage in. They have to learn to be more like Luxembourg and less like the US.

  • Imustbeterrorist

    $550M it is only $550M bombing cost, many damaged area’s rescues’costs; how much it is? No military work rescuing, salvation, you know, over $550M making cost?
    Is it Libyan bombing costs, we know it is. Need investigation for damaged area’s it’s so quickly, vtol, sea hurriers, no need runways, we know it is.

    • Sev

      in this age, 550 millioon is a penance for our government, which has no problem giving billions of dollars to our enemies like Pakistan and in aid to North Korea (Food)

  • Imustbeterrorist

    recovery the damaged areas cost, how much is it? investigation is making , how much cost is it? Air career we need for investigation , parashooting goods, foods, drinks, medicals and more…

  • Imustbeterrorist

    Over flood seways no need, i think about heavy rain, TV news programs, explanations by news caster’s. we need design for no over flood city, town and villages it is tunnel boring machin work big DIA’s designed seway, heavy rain’s concentrates rain waters making under ground’s drainage’s runway. It is making big cost. Over $550M making?

  • Imustbeterrorist

    Sure, it is no big deals. It is too little deal i think about tunnel boring machines.
    Understands, surely, nobody need little deals big cost. Okay.

  • Imustbeterrorist

    Sure, save money, we must save money. no heavy damaged no recover, it is sure no need. I understand, Okay.

  • Imustbeterrorist

    You need world stage, we knew very dangerous over seas, far east asia, Japan.
    it is nuclea accidens, broken corstlines. World stages no need?

  • tomatojuice

    Imustbeterrorist, please stop spamming with your nonsense.

  • rob

    this is nothing out world when our two new aircraft carriers are built!
    not only will they have no pilots they will have no planes.

  • Greg

    Looks like 70mm missile pod.

  • Brian Black

    The lawyers and career politicians that fill the British parliament don’t see the need to waste money on defence spending - there just aren’t enough votes in it, and buying killing machines offends their liberal sensibilities.
    The defence budget is seen as a big cash-cow, there to milk whenever the government needs a bit of extra money.
    British MPs though, seem unable to rein in their global ambitions to match the very little money that they are willing to spend on waging war.

    • mary

      i think we shouldn’t get involved in this crazy war that does not involve us

      • Brian Black

        I don’t think that we should have gotten involved; but now that we’re there, we need to pul out all the stops and get the job done quickly before it all becomes one enormous cluster-f**k.

  • Ross

    mary, the conflict does involve us. Such is the nature of having international interests.

    the nation’s politicians and general public appear to have forgotten this, however. So i echo the comments here about our carriers (we really will only have 1, ocean is to be decommissioned without a true replacement in the near future, a carrier is to be used to replace it.) having no planes and no ships to defend them, and our air force no pilots.

    The UK’s defence policies have been a massive farce for decades, the latest cuts (that save pennies! PENNIES! compared to other sources of potential savings) merely continue that long line of incompetence. 13 years of crippling cuts under labour (to the navy especially) is to be followed by more cuts. I had truely thought that after labour’s tenure the armed forces were at the lowest possible level. I obviously thought wrong.

  • kom

    Its the Daily Telegraph. Long known for log rolling.

  • William C.

    I think it is some sort of decoy trailing device. The combination of the decoys (which have enhanced radar signatures) and ECM is supposed to lure radar guided SAMs after the decoy instead of the Tornado.

  • devildog7885

    the way every one’s talking’ Great Britain is in a world of hurt if ever attacked!. seems they forgot the lesson of WW2. that is a down right shame.

  • mig1nc

    The RAF at WW1 strength levels? Dead god that’s just saddenning.

    • Chimp

      I’d rate 20+ typhoons against pretty much any number of triplanes… bit of hyperbole there.

      The defence cuts are designed to conform to a conservative political POV which wants to make expeditionary forces a thing of the past. All that will be left soon is a few rusty frigates showing the flag here and there.

      Labour, for all its rhetoric, is the party which took Britain to war abroad. Funny really… I wouldn’t vote Labour for a big clock.

  • Ross

    considering planes were in their very infancy in ww1, it is indeed.

  • Rodion Melnikov

    It’s interesting how well this national asset is protected. If an enemy state or a very powerful organization tries to make a damage Royal Air Force, how many of these 89 priceless guys it can eliminate in one blow, given 1-2 years, close-to-unlimited resources and an existing agent network?

  • Mike

    Without the US, countries that make up NATO don’t really have much of a military force and if the US were to leave NATO; you’ll see a big demand for rubber sheets in Europe.

  • wholesalebeads

    The government denies, who knows the truth?