With the Strategic Defence and Security Review not being out very long, let’s take a look at the effect it will have on our air force.
Personnel will be increased by 300.
Typhoon will be retained for an additional ten years (until 2040) and will receive upgrades. Two additional squadrons will be stood up, bringing the total number of frontline Typhoon squadrons to seven by 2025. Tranche 1 Typhoons will form these additional squadrons with around 12 planes per aircraft.
There was a reaffirmed commitment to 138 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs (with a total of 24 available to be deployed on board the Queen Elizabeth class carriers by 2023).
Nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will be ordered to plug the gap left by the retirement of the Nimrod in 2011 and the scrapping of its successor, the Nimrod MRA4. The aircraft will be based at RAF Lossiemouth.
The RPAS fleet will be doubled with the current 10 General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers to be replaced by more than 20 new armed “Protector” RPAS.
Fourteen C-130J Hercules aircraft will remain in service alongside 22 Airbus A400M Atlas and 8 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.
Fourteen Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft will be in service by 2025, with one fitted for transport of the Prime Minister, senior cabinet officials and the Royal Family.
Around four Sentinel R1 will be extended in service “into the next decade”, but will leave service by 2025.
Shadow R1 will remain in service until “at least” 2030 and two more aircraft will be procured.
Sentry AEW1 and Rivet Joint R1 will remain in service until 2035.