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Subject: The 'RAF are utterly, utterly useless' - 3 Para
Forest    9/22/2006 12:55:21 PM
The RAF are "utterly, utterly useless" in protecting troops on the ground in Afghanistan, a major with the main UK battle group said in a leaked e-mail. Major James Loden of 3 Para, based in the north of the southern province of Helmand, said more troops and helicopters were desperately needed. There had been "plenty of tears" following casualties in the intense fighting with the Taleban, he added. The MoD said the RAF played a "critical role" in supporting ground troops. The ministry confirmed the contents of the e-mail as accurate. The "tears" Maj Loden refers to were "not tears of exhaustion or frustration", a spokesman said. "This is a reflection of the fact these men are under daily attack and sadly there are often daily casualties." Describing Maj Loden's e-mail as "moving" and "humbling", the spokesman said it "reflects both how intense the fighting can occasionally be, and the enormous courage, dedication and skill of the British troops" in Helmand. Some were "working to the limits of endurance, but their morale is high and they are winning the fight", he added. Maj Loden's comments about the RAF "do not reflect the view of the vast majority of soldiers", the spokesman said. It had "performed brilliantly in defending coalition forces", he added. But Maj Loden's e-mail gives an example of the RAF's failure to provide air support. "... Harrier pilot 'couldn't identify the target', fired two phosphorous rockets that just missed our own compound so that we thought they were incoming RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], and then strafed our perimeter missing the enemy by 200 metres," it says. BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said Maj Loden's comments reflected what officers were saying privately, but their tone and emphasis were at odds with the MoD's official statements. Other Parachute Regiment officers had told him they prefer to call in American A-10 Tankbusters for air support when under fire because of what they see as the RAF's ineffectiveness, he added. However, in a statement released by the MoD, 3 Para operations officer in Afghanistan Capt Matt Taylor said the RAF had "played a critical part in ensuring the security of the lads on the ground". 'Disturbing comments' "They could not have asked for better support during some very difficult times," he added. British spokesman in Southern Afghanistan Lt Col Dave Reynolds added the RAF was an "enormously effective", "invaluable" and "absolutely essential part of the operations in Afghanistan". Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey called on the government to "provide an urgent statement" in response to Maj Loden's "disturbing comments". His e-mail showed "the need for a reassessment of the full range of capabilities required to accomplish the Nato mission" in Afghanistan, Mr Harvey added. "As our troops face increasing violence, we need to see a clear and achievable strategy and an honest assessment of the challenges ahead." The e-mail, which has been sent to British Army head Sir Richard Dannatt, comes a day after another British commander in Afghanistan said the Army there was sustaining higher casualties than official figures suggested. Writing in the Fusiliers' newsletter, Major John Swift said some had argued many casualties had been treated in the field and, therefore, had been omitted from the official statistics for wounded in action. Casualty numbers were very significant and showed no signs of reducing, he added. Maj Swift also said political rather than military imperatives were driving the operation. He was referring to the Afghan government's demand for British troops to move to isolated fire bases in northern Helmand where they are now under siege by the Taleban.
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interestedamateur       9/22/2006 1:18:08 PM
This is arsse's take on it. You have to be careful of this site since it can be a) virulently anti-government, and b) not always the best informed. However their Afghanistan thread is over 50 sides, and it's clear that the posters there are extremely worried (and angry) about the situation there. 
Back to this subject, most poster's are supportive of the RAF.
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Yimmy       9/22/2006 1:31:57 PM
British soldiers opting for USAF air support makes a change!

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Griffin       9/23/2006 6:24:26 PM
For what it is worth, the Canadians have had some good help from the RAF Harrier's in some major pitched battles this year.  I just wished there were more RAF planes and a contribution from Canada's F-18's, but alas they are so few the government is likely hording the 60 Hornets we have in operational condition.
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Forest       9/24/2006 6:36:49 PM
Don't worry, Britsh and Canadian forces will sleep better after learning the Brit government is sending RAF reinforcements to Afghanistan.
Yes, an extra Harrier is on its way!
All we have to now is find the money to arm and fuel it - perhaps a raffle or pop concert.
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S-2    Cuts Both Ways Sometimes   9/30/2006 2:45:55 AM
I pulled this off of arrse.  Interesting counterpoint by a member of an RAF chinook flightcrew discussing their attempts to medevac out of Sangin-
"How dissapointed am I?
I take it was not this Major's injured troops I was picking up in Sangin whilst being RPGed? Should I call HIS troops utterly useless when they lit up a landing site wit a strobe for the second time because they forgot to switch it off and risk the lives of 4 blokes and 25 million quid plus the life of the other causualty we were trying to pick up? Even though we briefed we would be looking for a different landing site after being RPGed on the previoud landing and take off. This c**t can go and f**k himself. I have not a bad thing to say about AAC and certainly only praises about 3 para's courage. And to be honest nothing less can be said about my colleagues'. How dare he? Maybe its time he should go home if it's all getting to him? He should think about the useless divide he could be causing between 2 services that have never worked as close before."
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Forest       10/3/2006 6:59:11 PM
. . .but it looks like the Major's commments are creating some major changes.
The RAF has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn on its policy of not allowing pilots of the new Eurofighter Typhoon to fire their gun.

The service has decided to issue ammunition to future Typhoon squadrons and train pilots in using the fighter's single German-made 27mm Mauser cannon, reversing its cost-cutting edict.

The decision follows experience in Afghanistan showing that guns are still one of the most effective weapons when supporting ground troops.

In a scathing e-mail, a Parachute Regiment major commanding an isolated outpost described air support from RAF Harriers, which have no guns and rely on rockets, as "utterly, utterly useless".

He contrasted their performance with the support offered by US air force A10 aircraft, which are equipped with a 27mm rotary cannon.

At a conference last week, Air Vice-Marshal David Walker, the officer commanding No 1 Group, which includes the Harrier and the newly-forming Typhoon squadrons, said he had decided to proceed with the Typhoon gun, buying ammunition, spares and maintenance equipment.

Seven years ago, the ministry decided to dispense with the gun on all but the first 55 of the 232 Typhoons planned for RAF service, in contrast to the other nations in the Eurofighter consortium, which kept it on all ordered aircraft.

The experts argued that Typhoon did not need anything as crude as a gun. The plan would have saved the taxpayer about £90 million.

But Typhoon is designed to such fine specifications that the loss of the gun created a weight imbalance and it was finally realised that the cheaper and easier option would be to fit a real cannon.
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Yimmy       10/4/2006 12:50:06 PM
What I dont get, is where the idea that the Harrier can't carry a gun comes from?
The FRS1 and FRS2 have two 30mm cannons bolted on in the position of the two "strakes" (I don't know what to call them), under the aircraft, which aid in causing the upwash from the jets to support the aircraft in vertice landings.
I was under the impression the RAF had cannons in the same position, only of 25mm caliber.
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Yimmy       10/4/2006 12:52:38 PM" width=600 border=0>
Those things -are- cannon right?
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flamingknives       10/4/2006 1:32:24 PM
They might be recce pods. I don't see any cannon listed for the Harrier on the RAF website.
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EW3       10/4/2006 1:48:51 PM

They might be recce pods. I don't see any cannon listed for the Harrier on the RAF website.

Have a hunch he is talking about the pitot tubes
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