“RAF Taking £70M Fighter Jets Apart To Use as Spares” declares the Daily Express in this article.
It isn’t a new story or a new process for the RAF (or any other military air arm). The process dates back to at least the Second World War, maybe further. The process is accepted practice, it controlled and factored in to the purchase of the aircraft.
I blogged about the same thing last year when Air Forces Monthly ran the same story after submitting a Freedom of Information request to the RAF – Typhoon and Spares. I’d recommend you give it a read if you want to know about the process and why it happens.
I’m not sure why the Daily Express has needed to run this story now. Nothing in it is new and the three aircraft they refer to is less than the one per Squadron that is common (Numbers 29(R), 17(R), 3(F) and 11(F) Squadrons operate Typhoons at RAF Coningsby). The total of six aircraft they refer to is correct (as confirmed in the Freedom of Information request made last year) which also means the previous three used for spares have returned to active service.
The reference to “One of the Typhoons is described as “long-term out of action” and will not fly again” is puzzling. No matter how much they take a Typhoon apart you would still be able to put it back together and restored it to active service. The only thing I can think of is this is a reference to the RAF Typhoon FGR4 (serial ZJ943) that crashed landed at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the US. The crash occurred in April 2008 and was deemed to badly damaged for it to be cost effective to repair. The aircraft was shipped back to RAF Coningsby (via RAF Brize Norton) in January 2009 and would have been spares recovered.