Hard-up RAF is forced to strip old jets for spare parts

Hard-up RAF is forced to strip old jets for spare parts to keep the rest of the fleet in the air

  • British taxpayers paid £17.6 billion for 160 Typhoons but only 139 are in service 
  • However 17 of the Typhoons are being used as spares to keep the others flying 
  • The cost of the aircraft that have been cannibalised is £1.1 billion to the taxpayer

The RAF has been forced to strip parts from 17 fighter jets to keep the rest of the fleet operational.

An official document released by the cash-strapped Ministry of Defence showed that British taxpayers paid £17.6 billion for 160 Typhoons.

But new figures from this year show that the number of RAF Typhoons in service is only 139.

The RAF has been forced to strip parts from 17 fighter jets to keep the rest of the fleet operational

Four of the aircraft were never in the fleet, with three used for development flying, meaning 17 Typhoons are being used as spares to keep others flying in a project the RAF calls ‘reduce to produce’ in a bid to save money.

The cost of the aircraft that have been cannibalised is £1.1 billion.

An RAF sources said the planes that were stripped were at the ‘end of life’ or obsolete, adding: ‘Each aircraft releases millions of pounds worth of spares back into the supply chain. This represents excellent value for the taxpayer.’

The work is being carried out at RAF Leeming, where a dedicated team of engineers ‘harvest parts’. 

It is understood the first Typhoon was being dismantled before the last Typhoon had been delivered from the production line.

Labour Armed Forces spokesman Stephen Morgan said: ‘These planes were built to fly, not be stripped for parts.

‘This is sadly yet another example of the Government’s decade of decline in funding for the MoD.

Lib Dem defence spokesman Jamie Stone said: ‘Our defences are crucial. For a revelation of this type to emerge is not good.

The work is being carried out at RAF Leeming, where a dedicated team of engineers ‘harvest parts’. It is understood the first Typhoon was being dismantled before the last Typhoon had been delivered from the production line

‘We have the most amazing people in our armed services. They really do not need to be let down like this. We need urgent answers.’

SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald said: ‘It is unacceptable that our service personnel are reduced to foraging for parts because of successive governments’ ineptitude.’

An RAF spokesman said: ‘The Typhoons listed are older aircraft that are no longer in use, so as part of routine fleet management the RAF has recovered spares to use on front-line Typhoons.

‘This saves taxpayers’ money by releasing millions of pounds worth of spare parts to service our fleet of world-class fighters.’

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