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Why I am supporting the extension of military action against ISIL/Daesh to Syria

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In a previous article, I said I would decide whether to support the Government in extending military action against ISIL/Daesh into Syria once I had seen the motion. The motion is here and it is as follows (layout and emphasis my own): That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an ‘unprecedented threat to international peace and security‘ and calls on states to […]

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The capacity of the Royal Air Force

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Much of Friday’s debate took for granted the Royal Air Force’s capacity to deliver substantial air power. We are to understand the operation in Iraq could last for years. In 1991, at the time of our first Gulf War, the RAF had exactly 30 front-line fast jet squadrons. Today, we have seven. Of those seven, four are Typhoon squadrons. They do not yet have the necessary Stormshadow, Brimstone or RAPTOR capabilities. The other three squadrons – II(AC), IX(B) and 31 – are equipped with […]

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Visiting RAF Coningsby and experiencing Typhoon

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As one of just two ex-Royal Air Force officers in Parliament – Jason McCartney is the other – I was delighted this week to visit RAF Coningsby under the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme to witness first-hand a Quick Reaction Alert training sortie. We flew to an area over Wales to rehearse techniques for intercepting, identifying and coercing aircraft which could be a threat to the UK. There is surely no comparison to flying in a Typhoon with a Royal Air Force pilot. I am most grateful to […]

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The astonishing RAF Benevolent Fund

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Back in November, I mentioned the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund in debate and I recently had the pleasure of meeting Paul Hewson, the Fund’s Regional Director for London, Home Counties and South England. As it says on the Fund’s site: We are the RAF’s leading welfare charity providing practical, financial and – in some cases – emotional support to all members of the RAF family, from childhood through to old age. We help with issues from childcare and relationship difficulties […]

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War planes mark 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s Battle of Britain speech – Telegraph

Ex-fighter pilots and relatives of war heroes joined commemorations as Sir Winston Churchill’s stirring ‘so much owed by so many to so few’ speech was read out, prompting tears in the crowd. The actor Robert Hardy began reading out the speech at 3.52pm, exactly 70 years after the wartime prime minister delivered it in Parliament. via War planes mark 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s Battle of Britain speech – Telegraph. You can find the text of the speech here.

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BBC News – Trident costs must come from MoD budget, Osborne says

Could this be a game-changer? The full £20bn cost of renewing the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent must be paid for by the Ministry of Defence, George Osborne has said. Traditionally, the Treasury has always found the money for the submarines. The chancellor’s comments come as Defence Secretary Liam Fox warned it would be “very difficult” to maintain other MoD projects if more than half its budget went on funding Trident. Given that the services, particularly the RAF, are already looking […]

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New Queen’s colours for the RAF and RAF Regiment

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What a parade and what a great deal of rain to round it off. I was delighted to see this young officer:

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