The downsizing of the Royal Air Force is ramping up.
After the decision to scrap the Harrier and Nimrod MRA4 fleets, the government now has identified 13 Squadron at RAF Marham and 14 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth as two Tornado squadrons to be disbanded as the RAF force structure is trimmed to 136 Tornado GR4s spread over five squadrons.
It is part of a wider package to reduce the size of the armed forces that will also see 11,000 personnel lose their jobs -- around 5,000 in the RAF. The reductions are to be in place by April 2015.
The government says the cuts are being taken with no impact on current operations. In effect, that also means current operations -- a euphemism for having troops in Afghanistan -- will have to wind down by 2015. That is already in the plan, but the latest move removes all flexibility in case conditions on the ground change.
The first round of layoffs is due in September.