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RAF To Be "Slightly Above Belgium's"

A senior RAF commander has warned the defence cuts will leave the UK with an air force 'slightly above Belgium'.

Air Vice Marshall Greg Bagwell - head of the RAF's fast jet fleet - admitted the deep defence cuts worried 'the hell' out of him.

In a scathing broadside at Government plans to scale back the RAF, he insisted the cuts would leave the force 'just about able to cope' but the remaining six fighter squadrons 'might not be enough'.

The Vice-Marshall's attack will anger politicians and senior Whitehall officials trying to put in place the biggest review of military spending in a generation.

The current commander of the RAF's No 1 Group, in charge of all 12 fast jet squadrons, AVM Bagwell is the most senior airman to speak out so far.

In an interview with the trade magazine Defence Focus, he said: "Am I happy to be down at the number (eight squadrons) next April? No, it worries the he'll out of me.

"I can just about do Operation Herrick (Afghanistan) and the QRAs (air defence operations).

"Can I do other things? Yes, but it is a risk."

The outburst follows criticism by former naval bigwigs over the decision to scrap the UK's air strike capability.

Last week, as part of this, the Harriers made their final flight. HMS ARk Royal, the navy's flag ship carrier, has also been scrapped, much to the horror of naval bosses.

Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, described the loss of our fast jet capabilities from the sea as 'bonkers'.

Click to view image: '37b1d9e71420-raf_tornado_f3_fighters_in_formation.jpg'

Added: Dec-19-2010 
By: drynwhyl
Afghanistan, Other
Tags: raf, air, force, fleet, cuts, jets, budget, royal, air, force, uk, military
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