Sunday, 30 September 2007

More defence cutbacks

I know this is old news but it's worth repeating. Members of the Parachute Regiment will not receive parachute training any more. British armed forces will be without parachute trained personnel for the first time since the inception of the parachute regiment in WWII by Churchill as the Govt and MoD attempt to shave more off the cost of Britain's defences.

This 17/12/2006 Telegraph article explains in detail the reasons behind this half arsed idea.

Documents leaked to The Sunday Telegraph reveal that no new recruits or even serving members of the Parachute Regiment or airborne forces will be trained in military parachuting from next year until 2011. It will then take a year to get the Army's 2,500 paratroopers up to scratch.

The cost cutting programme is being launched after defence chiefs warned that spiraling costs of complex equipment and the demands of military operations would create a financial "black hole" in the MoD of £868 million by the end of the next year.

The severity of the crisis prompted one of the Government's most senior civil servants to describe the situation as "an extremely difficult position with no clear way forward".

And this 02/12/2005 article from the Telegraph claims that another reason for the decision is that the RAF is so strapped for cash it can no longer afford the personnel to provide parachute training.

Parachute Regiment commanders have complained that recruits who have passed the tough P Company selection course will be sent to Afghanistan in the spring without gaining their coveted wings.

A company commander said: "The latest batch of recruits will not even have done the basic parachute course."

The Ministry of Defence refused to give the numbers of paratroopers who had passed the two-week course in the past year, suggesting that The Daily Telegraph request them under the Freedom of Information Act.

It is even considering leasing aircraft from the Polish air force to help with the parachuting crisis.

One TA soldier has gone on three courses but each time failed to do the required six jumps. On the latest course, this month, the reservists were promised two sorties at the start of the week but both were canceled.

Interestingly, and the reason I am doing this article is the fact that my old 4 Para have been warned off to provide further support to the regular battalions for operations in Afghanistan in 2008. The MoD announcement states "If you are keen to serve in operations in Afghanistan, then contact The Parachute Regiment at the earliest opportunity.

The MoD is currently trying to attract recruits to the airborne forces by advertising look at life weekends which it now calls in politically correct terms 'weekend insight courses' on the Parachute Regiment's home page. I know for a fact that there are already some seriously keen but highly brassed off crap hats in the TA out there right now who are thinking to themselves 'why the fuck did I bother'.

Pip pip

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