Robert Hilton wrote:I suppose the big question is, can the RAF afford to have so many different transport types on inventory?
Remember when we had the VC-10, Argosy, C-130, Britannia, Belfast, Comet, Andover, Hastings, Varsity, Beverley, Twin Pioneer - more or less at the same time in - what - the late 1960s............... Probably others too I have forgotten. I read a statistic recently than in an average year in the 1950s the RAF wrote off as many airframes in accidents as today's entire air force.
Undoubtedly many sweeping cuts to come, although air transport will have to have a higher priority versus more fast jets if we are to make even a half-assed attempt to meet current commitments. I think the early C-17s were funded on a cheaper lease-to-puchase basis, so that is one option. C-17s can - just - also be used on tactical missions, though Boeing imposed some restrictions when they were leased. While the A400M is not popular on this board, it has made rapid progress this past few months and has the potential to be a winner. I hope it performs in UK service in large numbers as well as with other air arms. I think production will be slow but steady - and could outlast most of the liftetimes of this website's members (cf. the C-130).