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  • ranroz
    Rank 2 Registered User

    RAF say Farewell navigator

    Training of navigators in the RAF ceased forever today as the 3 last students graduated at RAF Cranwell.


    The graduates - Flight Lieutenants Sam Baker, James Lamb and Helena Phillips - were presented with their Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) brevets by the RAF's most senior operational commander, Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, Commander-in-Chief Air Command and the most senior navigator the RAF has seen.

    All 3 will now move to RAF Leeming to finish training on Hawks before moving on to the Tornado GR4 bomber.

    The navigators' 'N' brevet changed to the illustrated 'WSO' one in 2003, when the navigator and air electronic officer branches amalgamated. Prior to 'N' it was the 'O' observers' brevet until 1942.

    The Station Commander explained at the ceremony that, in the very early days, aircrew sewed a sixpenny piece behind their brevets to make them stand out, and in a very nice touch, Flight Lieutenant Harry Hughes DFC DFM - an 89-year-old navigator who survived 76 operations in WWII - presented each of the graduates with a sixpenny (well, actually 5p . .) piece.

    The Institute's Navigation Trophy - for achieving the highest overall standard of air navigation, academic studies and personal qualities - went to Sam Baker. Past-Director, Group Captain David Broughton, represented the Institute at the ceremony and offered a period of Guest membersip to the graduates.

    So 25-year-old Helena Phillips BEng Hons has become the last ever person to graduate as a RAF navigator . . a poignant reminder of changing times . .

    The Institute is hoping to run a half-day event to commemorate the passing of the RAF navigator - provisionally planned for 27 June in the RAF Club. Watch this space for further details.

    http://www.rin.org.uk/news.aspx?ID=6...23&ItemID=1323
  • Fedaykin
    Fueled by Tea

    #2
    This brings up a number of points.

    Considering the RAF intended a 2025ish OSD for GR4 I wonder whats going on?!

    Firstly: do they feel they have enough trained WSO for the next ten to fifteen years, that is a big question mark as it does depend on the good will and future plans of the current WSO.

    Secondly: or do they intend to start using pilots on the back seat role. Not as crazy as it first seems a number of other air forces do that (and the RAF for that matter have done it), its happened before so I don't see why they couldn't do it again. It would also retain more trained pilots in anticipation of a future single seater only fleet.

    Thirdly: or do they intend to start drawing down the GR4 fleet from 2015. In that by offering it as a sacrifice at the next SDSR they get more F35C or a more controlling part of that pie.

    Fourthly: A mix of all of the above...!

    Food for thought.
    Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

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    • JT442
      Senior Member

      #3
      RAF Announce new Navigators' training course:

      Repeat after me:

      "Would you like fries with that, Sir?"

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      • benroethig
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #4
        Originally posted by Fedaykin View Post
        This brings up a number of points.

        Considering the RAF intended a 2025ish OSD for GR4 I wonder whats going on?!

        Firstly: do they feel they have enough trained WSO for the next ten to fifteen years, that is a big question mark as it does depend on the good will and future plans of the current WSO.

        Secondly: or do they intend to start using pilots on the back seat role. Not as crazy as it first seems a number of other air forces do that (and the RAF for that matter have done it), its happened before so I don't see why they couldn't do it again. It would also retain more trained pilots in anticipation of a future single seater only fleet.

        Thirdly: or do they intend to start drawing down the GR4 fleet from 2015. In that by offering it as a sacrifice at the next SDSR they get more F35C or a more controlling part of that pie.

        Fourthly: A mix of all of the above...!

        Food for thought.
        With this Government, I don't think I even want to know. Too heartbreaking to watch HM armed forces dismantled like this.

        Comment

        • djcross
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          In an age where an airplane's navigation system has redundant low drift INSs aided by GPS and/or star tracker, who needs another bag-o-flesh in the aircrew?

          Comment

          • quadbike
            Rank 5 Registered User

            #6
            India ?
            Love Planes, Live Planes

            Comment

            • Fedaykin
              Fueled by Tea

              #7
              Well more on the story:

              http://www.defencemanagement.com/new...y.asp?id=15559

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2...fleet-tornados

              Looks like my point 3!

              Would mean a capability holiday in certain areas, certainly Stormshadow, Brimstone and Raptor pod would get integrated onto Typhoon but SEAD/DEAD capability would probably go as ALARM is getting old. You might see a possible capability return with F35C as the Americans and Italians are paying for AARGM integration making it a quick cheap fit.

              As for navy losing more ships, they have already lost too many. My personal opinion is its the Armys turn to lose a pound of flesh at the next SDSR. They have been talking about a more mobile/flexible type of army, they should see 2015 as an opportunity to create it - not that the army brass will see it that way. I'm just hoping the highly green biased chief of the defence staff General Sir David Richards with the help of the treasury doesn't do too much damage to the other services until his term is up!
              Last edited by Fedaykin; 21st February 2011, 13:36.
              Because sometimes in life we need a bit of fun

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXNAp3mKepc

              Comment

              • benroethig
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                I never thought I would ever see a group that would make Gordon Brown like preferable. These idiots make him look like a genius.

                Comment

                • Hot_Charlie
                  ex tanker mate

                  #9
                  Originally posted by benroethig View Post
                  I never thought I would ever see a group that would make Gordon Brown like preferable. These idiots make him look like a genius.
                  The same Gordon Brown who topped off a decade of poor management within the MOD (which has partly caused the cuts we in the services are dealing with) by seeing fit to make the Secretary of State for Defence's post part-time when he took the reigns in 2007.

                  Can't understand why people are so shocked. IIRC we weren't expecting to produce any WSO/Navigators post 2013 anyway - and as we've seen over the past week, with the cull of those in the pilot flying training system, we're effectively going into a dormant state over the next two years (by slowing the system down to a trickle). As a boss of mine said to me nearly a decade ago, there was no future in being a Nav. When, sometime in the near future, the first tranche of redundancies are announced, he may well find he wasn't far from the truth.

                  Comment

                  • wrightwing
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    #10
                    Maybe I'm reading that wrong, but it sounds like the back seaters will still be trained as WSOs. They just won't be called Navigators.

                    Comment

                    • Hot_Charlie
                      ex tanker mate

                      #11
                      Originally posted by wrightwing View Post
                      Maybe I'm reading that wrong, but it sounds like the back seaters will still be trained as WSOs. They just won't be called Navigators.
                      No, "Navigators" as such haven't existed officially for several years now, and only the generic "RAF" rear crew brevet has been issued. WSO training is gone for good (plenty in the system too, whole fleets worth of Navs ex-Nimrod, soon to be the rest of the F3 force, with the C-130K and VC10 within 2-3 years), and I suspect WSOp training will decrease substantially for a time too, again partially with a large surplus from Kinloss.

                      Comment

                      • 10navigator
                        Registered User

                        #12
                        [QUOTE=ranroz;1707617]Training of navigators in the RAF ceased forever today as the 3 last students graduated at RAF Cranwell.


                        The graduates - Flight Lieutenants Sam Baker, James Lamb and Helena Phillips - were presented with their Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) brevets by the RAF's most senior operational commander, Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, Commander-in-Chief Air Command and the most senior navigator the RAF has seen.

                        The Institute's Navigation Trophy - for achieving the highest overall standard of air navigation, academic studies and personal qualities - went to Sam Baker.


                        My first post:

                        I hosted Simon Bryant's most gracious parents at his graduation from RAF Finningley, 6FTS (circa 1979). He and Air Marshall Sir Stuart Peach were on the same (all graduate) course. Talented bunch eh?

                        The Institute's Navigation Trophy referred to above was called The Sutton Sword of honour in my day. It was won on my course, No140 ANC, by Plt Off R.E.Lee. He was posted to No 10 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton.

                        Comment

                        • 35 AoA
                          Rank 5 Registered User

                          #13
                          Good riddance. We do every single thing in single seat Hornets that our 2 seat Rhino brethren do, aside from FAC(A) on the USN side. I can't think of anything that would be made easier by having one. That said, I know a guy who used to fly Tomcats, who briefed his RIO to tell him over the ICS behind the boat at night "you are a great handsome powerful man, and god's gift to flying" (or something to that effect). So I guess that could be nice........or seriously, having someone else with you out there on a black night at 3 miles behind the boat

                          Comment

                          • RN Phantom
                            Rank 5 Registered User

                            #14
                            Given the developments in technology this day was always inevitable but I do share the concerns that this is something else that could come back to bite us.

                            With increased emphasis on UCAV's some of us may see the day the RAF trains its last pilot.

                            Comment

                            • gaznav
                              Rank 5 Registered User

                              #15
                              All a bit premature now. I hear the WSO pipeline is about to open again as the RAF needs WSOs for P8 Poseidon, E3 Sentry, MQ-9 Reaper/Protector and Rivet Joint until at least 2040.

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