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RAF 1990s

JFC Fuller

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Senior Member
Apr 22, 2012
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So far I have:

220 Tornado IDS; replacing, in order, 7 Squadrons (6 from 1981) of Vulcan B.2 (56 in total), and 5 (4?) squadrons of Jaguar and 2 squadrons of Buccaneer (+1 in the UK?) in Germany: 11 squadrons planned as of 1985 of which 2 were to be recce

165 Tornado ADV; replacing Lightning F.6 in 2 squadrons and Phantoms in 5 squadrons for UK Air Defence: 7 squadrons planned as of 1985

60 Harrier GR5 to replace Harrier GR3 in 3/4 squadrons; a further 36 were ordered later to "maintain the Harrier GR5 force into the 21st Century". Harrier Squadrons seem to have varied between 12 an 18 aircraft with the numbers of squadrons varying accordingly.

42 Buccaneer (60 is a number also used); Upgraded to carry Sea Eagle to serve well into the 90s and almost entirely dedicated to the AShM role- equipped 2 squadrons

4 squadrons of Nimrod


250 MRCA; replacing, in order, 75 Jaguar GR1A/T2A (3/4 squadrons?) in the UK and RAF Germany Phantoms (2 squadrons) and one currently assumes some RAFG Tornados to be displaced from Germany to become Buccaneer (2 squadrons) replacements?

Further reading and research has revealed some additional details, the AD role was to see an expansion from 7 squadrons to 9, this would consist of the 7 previously mentioned Tornado ADV squadrons plus 2 surviving squadrons of F-4M/K in addition to the 2 squadrons in RAFG. So, depending on the number of Jaguar squadrons being planned for the 90s, I am currently assuming 3 plus an OCU/Reserve, the Eurofighter was originally planned to re-equip the following:

3 x Jaguar
4 x Phantom
2 x Tornado IDS (These aircraft would then replace the two surviving Buccaneer squadrons in the Sea Eagle maritime strike role)

For a total of 9 Squadrons, one also assumes an OCU for each type to be replaced by a single Eurofighter OCU and probably and probably some other Tornado squadrons as that force was consolidated. On top of that there were 72 Sidewinder equipped Hawks (90 had been the original target) in how many squadrons?

Alongside the Jaguar question, I am still trying to establish what the long term plan was for the additional squadron that was raised to use the Phantom F-4J(UK) after the Falklands (No74 Squadron)? Although the fact that the RAF was down to 4 Phantom Squadrons by 1991 probably answers my question..?

Excluding that additional Phantom squadron I have a frontline RAF fighter/attack strength of 30 squadrons.
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