RAF continues to eat their own planes
02 July 2009
The RAF continues to raid spare parts from aircraft in large numbers in order to keep other aircraft operational, new statistics have revealed.
New MoD figures show the cannibalisation of aircraft dropped slightly last year but that the practice has remained consistent over the last few years and has even grown in some prominent types of fast jet aircraft.
Cannibalisation is when engineers take parts from one aircraft to use in another aircraft that is in operations or the forward fleet. When spare parts arrive, the dormant aircraft then has the new part installed, rather than the aircraft originally in need of a replacement part.
The number of incidents of cannibalisation dropped to 5,604 last year, a drop of 380 from 2007. Overall the trend has dropped consistently, albeit in small numbers each year since 2005 when the number of cannibalisations in the RAF hit a record 6, 283.
The year 2008 would not have registered a decline in spare part raids if not for the phasing out of the Tornado F3 fleet which is being replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoons.
Despite the recent declines in cannibalisation incidents, the raiding of spare parts has increased substantially in some high profile types of aircraft as the RAF struggles to maintain an aging forward air fleet.
Harrier cannibalisations have risen by 74 per cent since 2005 to 924. Other fast jet fleets also saw rises in the raiding of parts including the Tornado GR4 fleet which has increased by 8 per cent in the last four years to 2,012 last year. The GR4 fleet consistently had the largest number of cannibalisations, more than doubling the next highest total- the Harrier fleet.
Even the brand new Typhoon fleet was raided for parts on a frequent basis to keep some of the planes operational. As the fleet has grown, cannibalisations have almost tripled to 643 last year.
The high number of cannibalisations on the fast jet fleet is largely due to the growing operational strain the planes are under. This month the Harrier fleet will finally end operations in Afghanistan while the Tornado fleet has been deployed on operations around the world for 18 consecutive years.
Minister for defence equipment and support Quentin Davies argued that cannibalisation is necessary to keep the maximum number of planes operational and that the measure is only temporary.
HAVE YOUR SAY
02 July 2009
"Cannbalisation is necessary" what utter clap trap, Buy the spares needed. yet another case of penny pinching short sightedness.
tim - romsey
05 July 2009
Quentin Davies is one reason that come the revolution this lot should be lined up against the wall and shot.
"Cannibalisation is necessary"....What an utter prat!
James - GB