British Fighter Plane Numbers to Reach ‘All-Time Low’

RAF Typhoon, May 8, 2014Defence analysis group IHS Jane’s said the RAF could be left with 127 combat jets by the end of the decade as 87 Tornados and the first tranche of 53 Typhoon jets are due to be retired.

It would leave the RAF with its fewest number of fighter planes since 1918.

The Ministry of Defence said the RAF “has and will have” the aircraft it needs to meet its global commitments.

The government also says it is increasing the defence budget and will replace the older Tornados with the F-35B.

It has only bought eight of these so far and the aircraft are not due to be at “full operating capability” until 2023….

Defence chiefs have already warned the RAF is stretched and the analysis says that further loss of UK airpower would seem “perverse.”

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton last week described the RAF as at the “very limits of its fast jet availability.”

Image: RAF Typhoon, May 8, 2014 (photo: UK Ministry of Defense)