UK Has Just Four Fighter Jets to Respond to Enemy Strike – Ex-RAF Chief

Britain’s Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet. File photo

Oleg BurunovBritish lawmakers warned that the UK’s combat fleet was “alarmingly” low in numbers and would struggle to defend the country in a potential all-out war last year.The UK possesses just four fighter jets ready to scramble immediately in case of a possible enemy attack on its territory, Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, a former Royal Air Force (RAF) commander, has told The Sun.The four Eurofighter Typhoon jets, which can be deployed as part of Britain’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) regime, are based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and at RAF Coningsby in eastern England’s Lincolnshire, according to Bagwell.

QRA is a state of readiness and responsiveness maintained at all times by NATO allies to deter, detect, and counter threats promptly.

MilitaryUK to Change Law to Prevent Ex-RAF Pilots From Being ‘Recruited’ to Train Chinese Military18 October 2022, 13:12 GMTBagwell argued that the rest of the RAF could stand up “relatively quickly” and prepare other warplanes for retaliation against an enemy threat, warning, however, that the relevant resources could soon be exhausted.

"For a relatively limited strike, we have the capabilities to respond but the aircraft and the weapons to do that would run out quite quickly," the ex-RAF chief cautioned. He went further by adding that the UK "doesn’t have the entire air force on alert today, we're not in the Battle of Britain."

“We don’t have planes on alert spread across the country. The aircraft that we do have are not going to defend against a significant attack like we’re seeing in Ukraine every day,” Bagwell stressed, in an apparent nod to Russia’s current offensive.

The ex-RAF commander added that Britain currently has about 130 Typhoons in total, but that that number will reduce to around 100 next year. "Of those, not all will be ready to fly," he warned.

This came after the UK’s Parliamentary Defense Committee earlier warned that the RAF now lacks the capabilities for combat, air transport and early warning aircraft.MilitaryUK Treasury Reportedly Admits ‘No More Money’ for Defense as Army Runs Out of Ammo6 February 2023, 06:02 GMTA Ministry of Defense command paper in 2021 ordered cuts to aircraft numbers that are creating a combat air shortfall in jet numbers that could persist into the 2030s, per the panel.”Combat aircraft numbers are already low. […] This is unacceptable. The [Ministry of Defense] and RAF must consider as a matter of urgency how they can increase combat air mass in the short term,” the lawmakers pointed out.


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