Britain’s Royal Air Force facing manpower ‘crisis’

April 14th, 2009 - 3:53 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr.14 (ANI): Britain’s Royal Air Force is so short of manpower that some personnel are being forced to spending an entire year way from their home bases, in contravention of the air force’s own guidelines.

According to The Telegraph, RAF pilots, air traffic controllers and weapons officers are supposed be away for no more than 140 days but figures obtained from the Ministry of Defence indicate that the “overstretch crisis” is so severe that the rules are being breached.

It is thought that the strain of continuous operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for six years has meant that hundreds of RAF personnel have resigned fed up with time away from their families.

This has resulted in a number of important trades facing severe manning problems such as weapons systems operators who are 80 personnel short of a required 580, according to the figures obtained by the Tories in a Parliamentary

RAF medical personnel, who provide the majority of doctors and nurses for emergency helicopter evacuations, have also been heavily pressed into service spending on average 161 days on detached duty. Other RAF personnel have spent more than double the recommended time away with the highest number of days for air traffic control personnel at 360 and for a pilot at 315 days in a year.

The Air Force is already struggling with a shortfall of almost 2,000 out of a required total of 41,000 personnel. The shortage of troops for operations has also forced them to mobilise an extra 170 RAF reservists this year up from 120 last year.

The Ministry of Defence has admitted that there were “shortages” in some key trades but it said these were “being addressed” through retention initiatives, such as increased pay and improved welfare packages. (ANI)

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