Technician shortfall leaves RAF Lossie jets grounded

Tornadoes grounded due to lack of technicians (c) C Milne

Moray’s MP has attacked the Ministry of Defence over “endless and disproportionate cuts” that has seen many Tornado aircraft grounded because too many RAF technicians have been made redundant.

Angus Robertson spoke out in support of the airmen at RAF Lossiemouth after reading a report that has revealed operations at the Moray base have been severely hampered following the loss of 270 technicians in the MoD redundancy programme.

The MP said that UK Ministers had questions to answer over what he called a ‘shocking’ situation.

Front line effects from the MoD cuts were revealed in a report in the RAF’s own air safety magazine ‘Air Clues’.  An account partly authored by RAF Lossiemouth’s Station Commander, Group Captain Ian Gale, said that the loss of so many technical ranks was “unsustainable”, revealing that 13 aircraft from 12(Bomber) Squadron had been grounded for three days last October.

Further reductions have been felt with a reduction of three aircraft from 617 Squadron and two from XV(Reserve) Squadron.  In manpower terms a gap of 37 technicians had to be filled at the Moray base by drafting in personnel from around the service.

Mr Robertson, who is the SNP spokesman on defence at the UK Parliament, said: “The MoD have questions to answer about these worrying reports and in particular the safety concerns raised.

“As a result of the endless and disproportionate cuts to defence in Scotland, the MoD have now got to a situation where the RAF are grounding aircraft because they have handed out so many p45s to trained technicians they cannot guarantee safety.

“It is shocking that technicians had to be moved to Lossiemouth from other bases – just to fill gaps and ease the pressure on the dedicated and hard working personnel there

“Just last week the MoD confirmed to me that the latest round of redundancies will lead to yet another 520 personnel across Scotland going and also confirmed that 7 out of 38 Army and Navy reserve centres to be closed are in Scotland, which amounts to 18% of the total more than twice Scotland’s population share.

“It is becoming clearer every day that only a Yes vote next September will ensure Scotland gets the defence policies it needs to meet the challenges of the 21st Century instead of cuts , cuts and more cuts from Westminster , with the only exception being the tens of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction they want to dump on the Clyde for the next fifty years.”