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SDSR: The small print


A number of other cuts to the Royal Air Force are included in the White Paper released today.

October 19: Buried in the text of the UK Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) White Paper released today are a number of other cuts to the Royal Air Force that escaped the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons.

Despite the Harrier being axed entirely, the Tornado force will also be reduced by two squadrons and one of the two operating bases, either RAF Lossiemouth in Moray or RAF Marham in Norfolk, will be surplus to requirements.

The C-130J is now to be retired ten years earlier than originally planned, the new out-of-service date being 2022 as the A400M force is expected to be complete.

Most surprisingly, the Sentinel R1 ASTOR system will be withdrawn “once it is no longer required to support operations in Afghanistan”. Sentinel has only been in service for a few years but is now expected to be replaced by the three RC-135W ‘Rivet Joint’ aircraft expected to enter service in 2015.

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