Is a seperate air force viable?

Labour’s abolition of the strike wing of the air force, was one of the things they did I most disagree with. Sadly, it was also one of those decision almost impossible to reverse – the pilots have mainly left, and I doubt one could recuit new ones without a bipartisan commitment to keeping a strike wing.

Stuff reports:

Since the fleets went out of service in 2001, it has cost $34m in maintenance and other costs to keep them to a saleable standard.

The Aermacchis are now partially dismantled and in crates, while the Skyhawks are under plastic wrapping and stored at the Woodbourne base near Blenheim.

As I say, a terrible decision. And here’s what’s left:

The Air Force employs 3195 staff with key equipment, including:

  • Five naval helicopters (Super Seasprite)
  • Six maritime patrol aircraft (Orions)
  • Five Hercules (transport)
  • Two Boeing 757-200s (transport)
  • 13 Iroquois helicopters (transport)
  • Five Sioux helicopters (transport)
  • Five Beech King aircraft (transport – training)
  • 13 CT-4E aircraft (transport – training)

Most of the air force is now transport, and it makes me wonder whether it is justified keeping it as a full service wing. Would it not perhaps be better (and free up money for equipment) if the remaining planes and choppers were divided up between the army and the navy, and integarted into their operations? Do we one day want an Air Vice Marshall, whose only air experience has been flying some Hercules?

How would one divided it up. My initial assumptions would be:

  • Five naval helicopters (Super Seasprite) – Navy
  • Six maritime patrol aircraft (Orions) – Navy
  • Five Hercules (transport) – Army
  • Two Boeing 757-200s (transport) – Army
  • 13 Iroquois helicopters (transport) – Army
  • Five Sioux helicopters (transport) – Army
  • Five Beech King aircraft (transport – training) – Army
  • 13 CT-4E aircraft (transport – training) – Army

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