Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Cash strapped MoD to sell off the home of the Red Arrows-

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed today that the home of the RAF's premier aerobatic display team, The Red Arrows is to be sold off by 2022.

 RAF Scampton is where the world-famous display team is based, which will be closed in 2022 and sold off as the MoD needs to make savings of at least £3billion by the year 2040.  RAF Scampton has a long and illustrious history, not only being the UK base of the Red Arrows, it was also home to 617 Squadron as they prepared for the daring Dambusters raid during World War II. It was also a home for the famous Vulcan bombers at the height of the cold war. Currently, around six hundred people work at RAF Scampton, however, as that number is made up of service personnel, civilian contractors and civil servants, undoubtedly there will be jobs losses. The MoD has so far refused to say how many jobs would be axed due to the spending cuts. 

The MoD has also confirmed the RAF is already looking for a new home for The Red Arrows, however, the future for the display team beyond 2022 is in doubt. One option that is being considered, we have been told, is relocating the team to its winter practice base in Cyprus on a year-round basis. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, Chief of the Air Staff from 1992 to 1997, told the BBC "Scampton is a very good base. It has an extremely long runway and is situated in a part of the country which is ideal in many ways. I just hope that all of these consequences of closing Scampton are fully understood and appreciated."

Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh, was said to be saddened by the news of the closure for cost cutting purposes, saying on social media "Not the best way to mark the #RAF100: closing the home of the RAF Red Arrows and Dambuster squadron."

Local media is also reporting that Wing Commander Joanne Campbell who took charge at RAF Scampton in April 2016, was only told of the definite closure of the base Yesterday.   

This latest announcement from the MoD is part of a wide-ranging series of closures of MoD bases and sites that will see the axing of more than 90 sites, some have already been announced (RAF closures already announced are listed below). There is no doubt that there will be many more base closures that will affect the security and operational stability and avilability of the RAF.

The MoD also announced today that RAF Linton-on-Ouse would close y 2020 and confirmed the RAF would transfer basic and fast jet training from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire to RAF Valley on Anglesey in 2019 and cease using Linton in 2020, where 300 people are employed.