25 March 2010

Two obsolete aircraft do their stuff

 The aptly-named Russian 'Backfire' swing-wing bomber and the likewise swing-wing ground-attack-aircraft-converted-to-an-interceptor-while-we-waited-30-years-for-the-Eurofighter 'Tornado' pictured at dusk near the Outer Hebrides.  What's the point? Well, you see, it proves how both 'powers' need independent air forces.

'Our pilots, navigators and indeed all the support personnel at RAF Leuchars work very hard to deliver the UK Quick Reaction Alert Force 24 hours a day, which can be scrambled in minutes, to defend the UK from unidentified aircraft entering our airspace, or aircraft in distress', said Wing Commander Mark Gorringe, commander of 111 Squadron. 'It's a very important job, defending the UK and helping to keep UK citizens safe', he concluded.

'We need a strong RAF to keep our skies safe from Russian bombers', echoes Con Coughlin in the Telegraph. 'Just why Russian bombers find it necessary to violate British air-space is something of a mystery – no one is seriously expecting hostilities to break out between Moscow and London – but it does underline why it is so important that we maintain a properly funded and equipped RAF strike force.'

Does it indeed? The PR offensive couldn't be anything to do with the pending reduction of the swill in the MoD trough, where the most obvious saving would be the abolition of the RAF, with its functions at last returned to the Army and Navy from which they should never have been detached - could it?

No doubt much the same considerations have moved the Russian Air Force to send their piece-of-shit Cold War bombers on utterly pointless intruder missions.

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