According to the Annual Assurance Report released by the Defence Safety Authority, the majority of overseas helicopter training exercises have been cut.

The report identifies “significant resource pressures across the Department, which are likely to lead to further changes to organisations and potentially outputs, owing to activity reductions.”

This “resource driven reduction” has seen overseas exercises for most pilots cancelled by the military’s Joint Helicopter Command (JHC):

“For example, the JHC has had the majority of overseas exercises cancelled for its non-specialist forces and those not committed to operations in Afghanistan in FY17/18.

This resource driven reduction in activity already builds on reductions on the Commando Helicopter Force in 16/17 and will effectively prevent helicopter air and ground crews from growing and in some cases establishing proficiency in operating in hot, high and desert environments.

These skills are essential to the safe operation of aircraft in these environments and take years to develop fully. If not maintained, these skills cannot be re-gained in extended Readiness timelines without a significant increase in risk (the risk is of Controlled Flight into Terrain caused by flight in a Degraded Visual Environment).”

The purpose of the report, which can be found here, is to review the effectiveness of safety management across UK defence, assessing the degree of assurance it can have of safety management and the confidence in that assessment.

The report also summarises the most significant safety risks defence currently faces, with a detailed assessment of the risks involved and discussion of the importance of assurance in understanding and managing safety risks.

52 COMMENTS

  1. What a state we are in
    Forget the deficit for one year and reinvigorate all our services NHS especially
    Cut the aid budget as i never voted for that
    How come the USA can do it even though there debt is probably more than the rest of the world combined
    Im not a Corbyn lover but he seems to have the people and services (except the MOD ) and the country at heart even with his magic money tree

    • Baz, the deficit IS forgotten about!

      The UK government is still spending way more than it takes in & the amount it spends increases each and every year.

      If the UK actually experienced “austerity”, it would be quite a novelty.

      • not to forget that the US debt as a percentage of GDP is not a lot higher than the uk and depending if you take into account public pensions lower. The public debt is much bigger problem than most people in the UK seem to realise.

        • I’d love to know how much of the public sector deficit would be wiped out if public sector pensions where just scrapped and replaced with the same terms and conditions the rest of the country is on. Its the equivalent to 500k per public sector employee.

          • Baz. Jeremy Corbyn has publicly stated that he does not think any military action this country has undertaken since 1945 was justified. God love him but he’s a pacifist. I would seriously doubt he would view hiking defence spend with much favour.

    • The US operates the world reserve currency. This means that people holding dollars outside the US actually supports the US economy. So that money which is effectively “sold” by the US to overseas currency holders, which is hoarded for years – effectively acts like a loan to the US.
      But over the years those dollars are worth less and less. So when they are exchanged for goods and services they do not buy as much. These dollars eventually find their way back to the US which pays less for them than they originally received. A profit!
      So the US effectively gets paid by these states to hold US dollars and in doing so it keeps the strength of the dollar high. Plus, people are inclined to give the US an easier ride if all their investments are in dollars! This allows the US to operate enormous debts that would otherwise cause a currency crisis.

      The UK cannot operate in the same fashion because we don’t have any where near the same kind of foreign sterling holdings. As such when debts increase and our ability to service these and pay the interest looks a little wobbly people sell sterling (and buy dollars). The pounds falls and our ability to purchase overseas goods declines.
      This is why austerity and growth is the magic formula. Its how the government can persuade foreign holders of sterling to keep holding sterling and the ratings agencies pacified, i.e. that we can pay back our debts and close the deficit. If though we lose their confidence and they sell – this can cause a cascade effect which could basically causes a run on the pound. In this highly plausible case the value of sterling relative to the debt would plummet and we would simply not have the money to pay back our debtors. In this case we’d have to go to the IMF…the EU.. for a bail out. They would likely demand REAL austerity – think selling the NHS and we are getting close to the kinds of figures we’d be talking about.

      If Corbyn gets in, this scenario could materialise overnight with the kinds of policies he is talking about – it actually IS scary stuff.
      Being part of the EU artificially inflated the pound. It allowed Britain to pretend to operate a reserve currency but without the actual structures and foreign holdings of one. Leaving the EU has already burst this confidence trick, we see this in the pound’s fall. Hopefully buying us enough time to get things in order – so long as the government can keep austerity and growth juggling act on the road.

      The UK government actually has next to no room to manoeuvre and unfortunately the people are not aware of how precarious things really are. One or two bad moves could cause a de-rating by people like Moody. If this happened, then again our ability to service our debts would be put at risk and the cascade noted above could be initiated.

      We are walking a tight-rope here in the UK.

  2. This puts servicemen’s lives at risk. It is essential to train aircrews properly. I think the “Paradise papers” are only the tip of the iceberg. The money needed to fund necessary government spending has been put offshore to avoid paying the taxes that would see society(including the armed forces) funded properly. Financial crashes & austerity are just the smokescreen to cover up everything being run into the ground as the real wealth is taken out of public circulation.

    MPs have not only ripped us off in the expenses scandal, but failed to set the example of wage restraint whilst condemning others to a 1% wage cap.

    Defense on the cheap is a gift to any aggressor & a betrayal of the nation.

    • Absolutely, there will be hell to pay if we get tanked in an armed engagement. Unfortunately by then it will be too later and people will have lost their lives.

  3. Corbyn will cut Trident etc in a heartbeat. Our nuclear capability will go under labour make no mistake. He can then build ivory towers and places of homage to marxism, stalinism and continue to look like a smug twat the whole time. Wake up people! The slippery slope? We’re on it!

    • That argument will fail in time Bill.

      The people won’t keep voting for a completely incompetent Tory party simply because of the threat of Corbyn.

      Eventually the people just want change from incompetence and will take their chances with Jihad Jezz

  4. I take it that “home” training is unaffected then? Which is most of the armed forces flying and continuation training.

    • Corbyn and his Red Brigade will make things worse than they are now. It will be borrow,spend,borrow etc etc. They will hand the Falklands to Argentina ignoring the Islanders wishes,Gibraltar will be handed over to Spain and then Northern Ireland will be handed over to the Rep.of Ireland even though there is no support for such a deal. Then it will be back to borrow spend,borrow,spend.

  5. the country is a mess all caused by past and present idiots in power,because they want the rich to get richer play the big i am on the world stage and increase spending money that we don,t have on foreign aid,something i detest especially when our nhs,defence,social care is in a shambolic state,if a country is hit by natural disaster then yes help out by all means but idiots are giving money away to countries in aid that have a better economy than our own..and it,s always our defence that suffers,so much for all these billions we have for new ships and equipment that some idiot who resigned stated…

  6. Yet just last week it was announced that £90m would be spent on a new helicopter training centre supporting 70 jobs in RAF Benson.

    Lets also remember that the Joint Force Command employs 30,000 people and doesn’t replace any of the three service commands that it was supposed to. I think the JHC is part of that and all they’ve done is reduce numbers and kept 8 Chinooks in storage that cost us including all the cock ups nearly £500m as “one of the most incompetent procurements of all time”.

    • I believe most of the £90m is for simulators, which no doubt will substitute for actual flying, or is that me being a cynical observer?

    • As I have already noted much earlier the Medium Support Helicopter facility is not “New”

      Do any of you people actually know the process for training British military Pilots??

      The JHC combined all helicopters bar the RN’s ASW assets and the then RAF SAR force.

      The well known story of the Chinook HC3’s has nothing whatsoever to do with the current situation, or the current government. Also they are no longer in storage and have long been upgraded or “repaired” like the rest of the Chinook force.

      As for incompetent procurement’s I agree.

    • TH have considered that the high employment that the cuts you support will create will mean more people relying on government benefits to survive and therefore costing just as much money. I am already on Universal Credit myself and I am a skilled worker.

  7. Sadly the only thing I can say now is that I will stop supporting the conservatives unless they transfer the foreign aid budget to other depts.

    If you take in the Foreign aid budget plus the Tax incentives given to charitable donations then the Government is funding charitable work to an extreme.

    I think the only option now is for all tax incentives provided to charities has to come under the foreign aid budget as often it is the same charities receives tax incentives and government money.

    If UK charities wish to operate abroad and have government tax pay for part of their operations then I believe that needs to come out of the Foreign aid budget or Tax – but not both.

    Sorry everyone, but we are now at a tipping point where £10bn p.a. Spent on countries that often do not want our help and others where the support is negligible in affecting the lives of those in most need has to stop and other solutions brought to bear.

    I really would like to know what the cost of the Foreign aid budget and the charitable tax contribution is together, as I suspect its massive.

    Time for charity to start at home

    • Not £10bn…

      Fifteen
      15
      £15,000,000,000
      Five aircraft carriers a year we give away in Aid

      £10bn is the difference between the Aid budget pre-crash (2007) being treated to austerity the same as defence, police etc and the current Aid budget. Few people in 2007 thought we were mean re Aid.

      2% & 0.7% are the two most stupid figures in modern political discourse. Neither bear any relation to need, capability or strategic importance to UK.

      What pisses me off even more is the 2% isn’t real – it’s frigged but the 0.7% is internationally audited to ensure compliance.

      FUBAR

    • Agree Pacman. It is crazy.

      I understand some of the benefit of “soft power” but when the finances are in their current state it is nuts.

      You are all in for a surprise though if you think under Corbyn it will get better!

  8. I see the Guardian did an article on Priti Patel trying to fund the Israeli some kind of aid work in the West bank. How can we divert foreign aid money to foreign militarise but not our own?

    • Actually to clarify – the discussions she had had with the Israelis wasn’t to help fund Israeli Army military operations but the field hospitals they have put in place to help Syrian refugees who cross the border in the Golan Heights.

      It amazes me that the media who unfairly criticize our Israeli friends never report this act of humanitarian kindness. Israel doesn’t have to do open her doors to treat the Syrian war wounded but she still does. It’s about time the media reported that! If Israel sealed her border with Syria and flatly refused to let the wounded in, that would definitely be reported! Media double-standards….

      Anyway, I will get off my soapbox….

      • Yes, its a fair observation.

        Unfortunately but realistically Israeli actions are generally viewed through the single prism of an occupying power. Until there is peace it will be hard for anything else to be heard.

      • Syrian refugees ? The only people i have seen get medical help from the Israelis are the Jihadists. Go to youtube if you don’t believe me.

      • I completely agree, my complaint is how much FA money do we then divert into our own military when providing humanitarian aid. Every penny spent cleaning up after hurricane ………. from fuel to salaries should be pulled from the FA budget.
        I also agree the guardian article is ridiculously biased it may as well have blamed Israel for the Syrian refugee crisis.

  9. At some point the borrowing to support the Foreign Aid Budget has got to be seriously questioned. In addition to the £14 billion the UK gives it separately provides the EU with £1 billion for its aid budget. That is £15 billion. In other words equal to 33% of the entire Defence budget. The joke is much of the Foreign Aid budget is wasted. There are dozens of reports elsewhere that illusrate the almost criminal waste. Meanwhile egotistical politicians strut around accepting praise for committing the UK is ever bigger spending.

    Additionally I do not accept that placing every major defence project since the carriers abroad is cost effective. It may look good to the accountants but they ignore the benefits to the overall economy of supporting the UK industrial and R+D base. In the long term a larger economy can support defence more significantly than saving a couple of quid on trucks or supply ships. A history of incompetent oversight for project management, contract negotiation or company profiteering can be corrected.

    I think everybody who visits this site will agree the world has become a much more dangerous place in the past 20 years. The threat is growing while our ability to respond is being corroded from within.

  10. The above comment about Corbyn getting rid of the nuclear deterrent, don’t think that would happen under Labour.. even a left wing led Labour government, because a majority of Labour MP’s wish to keep the nuclear deterrent.. I do have a horrible feeling the conventional forces would suffer under a Labour government though just to add to the cut’s that have happened under the Tories..

    My feeling is bad for the future of the UK currently.. I wish i could be more confident and i hope i’m wrong i really do, but what with the weak Tory government plus a potential left wing led Labour government that would within a few years completely wreck the UK economy and damage our relations with our closest allies quite probably, well, my vibes are not good at the moment. we’ll see.. just hope i’m wrong that’s all.

  11. I do apologise for my gloomy comments above .. For me it’s just reached a time now where im finding it really difficult to find some positives.. Can somebody try and find something to cheer me up !!! plz lol

    • You are not alone John; unfortunately there is precious little to be cheerful about when our Armed Forces are squeezed and squeezed relentlessly and we’re lied to by our politicians to the contrary. Yet I fear more needless and irresponsible cuts will be forthcoming making it as bleak a picture as can be… silver lining anyone???

    • Two new carriers, refurbishment for the T 45, the T 26, the T 31, more Astutes, Dreadnought and co, F 35’s, largest air force in Europe, army re equipping across the board……..Yeah, I know but you did ask!

      • Just the tip of the Iceberg actually, as Geoff well knows. Too many are only interested in “how many” and should take a look at other countries to compare.

        That in no way excuses cuts which depress me as much as anyone. But I look beyond mere numbers.

        I think we are flogging a dead horse though Geoff.

  12. I just don’t get the strength of negativity towards Us getting a Corbyn Government. Everyone seems to agree that the conservatives are weak and responsible for the criminal removal of wealth from the country to the super rich. In Corbyn you have someone who will stand up for us, our living standards and our services. He wants those that can pay to actually bloody pay their bits. That is where the extra money will come from to fund stuff, and I’m hopeful, that while defence might not be the top priority for any government we might get some improvements in funding. Corbyn is the fairest most honest politician within living memory and he’s on our side, and yet he gets called a jihadi, a Stalinist etc etc. The Tory backed press have done their job I see and brainwashed many by sensationalising innocent handshakes, meetings etc into something they are not. You are questioning Corbyn integrity when the Torys are blatant lyers cheats and sleazbags. It’s beyond my comprehension. FYI I am a lefty who is pro defence spending before I get shouted down. I’m on side with the foreign aid budget being massively reduced and some of it funding a bigger RFA that can be reassigned to disaster or war duties as necessary. I want to see decent levels of equipment for our guys, bigger navy, more subs more planes and more lethality!

    • ….and you won’t get any of the things you desire, Tim, under a Corbyn led government. There is no more money so he can’t spend it. Interestingly, you blame the Tories for sucking the country dry and yet the whole financial collapse happened under Gordon Brown.

      Before anybody decides I’m a reactionary, right winger I’ll say that I’ve voted Tory and Labour over the years and I was a union branch secretary. I consider myself very middle of the road but I have seen a semi-left Labour government and the worst of the unions in power so I certainly have no desire to go where J C would lead us.

      He is or has been (he changes his mind regularly) anti NATO; blames the west for the invasion of the Ukraine by the Russians; was against the former Warsaw pact countries joining NATO; has supported the likes of Cuba, the IRA, the PLO, Libya and Venezuela and didn’t back the retaking of the Falklands and I could go on.

      We may not be over the moon with what’s happening now but it can get a whole lot worse.

      • The financial collapse was caused by the sub prime issues in America as far as I’m aware and was not caused by Labour. Under labour life was a whole lot better for far more people.
        Tories answer to our financial issues is to sell off our public assets to…. tory funding businesses, hammer down on those most vulnerable in society under a faux guise of catching a small minority of benefit fraudsters, all whilst massively increasing our national debt despite the billions saved. How’s this? Because of the massive tax avoidance allowed to the wealthy few who, can you guess, are tory supporters and funders in many cases.
        It’s a strategic long term plan to drain the wealth and power from the masses, control the propaganda using the supporting tory press, and pass the wealth to the all powerful elite who jump on the tory bandwagon to stay rich and powerful. This is why many people are so fearful of Corbyn, it’s the campaign of lies and distorted truth fed to us by them. It’s all about control and many are falling for it. If it’s on a front page it must be true. And while we are all fighting amongst ourselves not making any decisions, the toys get richer we get poorer.
        Tax the rich tory billionaires and all our services could be far better funded and we wouldn’t be here bickering lol. And breath.

    • Unless it was conference at Camp David which even then was pointless there are NO INNOCENT handshakes with the PLO or HAMAS! Likewise South American communists. All while incessantly criticizing the US and it’s other allies particularly Israel and Poland will probably trigger the biggest backlash in America against the UK since the 19th century.

      • Which is exactly what the hard left want, in the form of the inner circle of Corbyn’s henchmen. They hate the “special relationship” and the UK having any world standing whatsoever.
        I doubt many hard working traditional Labour voters feel the same but they will vote Labour nonetheless.

      • I think you will find the handshakes with IRA and Hammas were not in agreement with their actions, but that of someone who has the desire to step in and try to mediate, broker peace and get the sides talking.
        Youve just read the headlines from the tory press and fallen for it. When mediating peace, try doing it by throwing critisism at them. It would be justified and im sure corbyn thought it. But that’s not going to work.
        You have to tread carefully and bite your tongue to get things moving. Trying to do something has got to be better than nothing, like the tories do unless it lines their pockets.

      • Elliot you’re full of S**t as always.

        That’s about 10 times over the last few months you’ve tried to scare us into thinking that if we upset the US or its “allies” there will be a “backlash” and the US will turn on us.

        Let me try spell it out for you, WE DONT CARE!

        Just remember you’re on a British defence website, not Poland, not Israel, not the Middle East, not South America, Britain! We don’t care who it upsets if we call you out on your deplorable foreign policy, we don’t care how much money you have, how big your military is, the majority of this country will never be scared to call out what they see, we did it over Vietnam and Iraq and we will continue to do it, nothing you say on here will stop that. We were influencing world events centuries before your country was an idea, let alone a country.

        You will get the uneducated few agreeing with you on here, the never read a book in their life type but they know world affairs and that Corbyn is bad because murdoch told them so. They think all their and their countries problems is because a single mum gets £150 a week and some poor African kid gets a packet of rice and some beans from the back of an aid truck. And they turn a total blind eye to the thousands of people rinsing the county of millions and sticking it offshore, never a word gets said about them.

        The type to harp on about a special relationship that does f**k all for us, and is heavily stacked in the US favour, they go on about what’s wrong with Britain while championing a relationship where we’re the junior partner, god knows what British leaders of the days of empire would think of these kind of people today, it’s embarassing.

        But the majority of decent people think Trump is a brainless buffoon, The Israeli government are horrendous, most American foreign policy decisions are stupid, and we should never ever bow to anybody, even the US.

        • That paycheck you get from being the final Arbiter human decency must be nice. Top tax bracket even. On another note please curtail the use of profanity, it does not do for the Arbiter of human decency to use such indecent language.

    • Myth. Blowing enemies of the State to atoms in the most efficient, productive, and safe manner possible is what generates arms sales. The Aid budget is used to virtue signal and any excuse is used to make people feel good.

    • The Foreign Aid budget is unsustainable. However, some of it is used to secure overseas arms sales.

      Really, want to name one country where that has worked:
      Pakistan the biggest recipient of British Aid buys Chinese.
      India buys well anybody bar British
      Other examples of British Aid:
      Nigeria
      Sudan
      Afghanistan
      Syria
      China (yes China )
      do not purchase British weapons
      Those countries which do:
      US/France/Estonia/Korea/Gulf States
      do not receive British Foreign Aid.

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