UK Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015

US Navy Boeing P-8A 168434 seen passing through Lajes last week on the way back from the Dubai Airshow (Andre Inacio)

The UK Government today announced the details of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The interesting points that relate to aviation are:-
- the acquistion of 9 Boeing P-8As for maritime patrol with the intention that they be based at RAF Lossiemouth. At least three P-8s are due to be in service by the end of the current parliament.
- one further F-35 squadron and two extra Typhoon squadrons.
- investment in Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA) for the Typhoon and a projected in service date up to 2040 for the type.
- the continuation of the plan to purchase 138 F-35 over the life of the programme.
- upgrade to the Army Air Corps' Apache fleet (not clear whether this will be "off the shelf" Boeing AH-64Es or some kind of Westland built Apache upgrade). A total of four frontline Squadrons in 2025.
- more than 20 new Protector UAVs to replace the Reaper already in service (the Proctector appears to be an upgraded version of the Predator/Reaper).
- the continuation in service of the Beech Shadow R.1s until 2030 and the E-3 Sentry and RC-135 Rivet Joint until 2035 (no word on badly needed upgrades to the E-3 fleet). The Sentinel R.1 fleet will remain until the 2020s.
- a fleet of 8 Shadows to be in serive by 2025, which suggests a further two will be acquired
- 14 upgraded C-130Js to remain in service until 2030 (the other 10 to be retired by 2022).
- one RAF Voyager to be adapted to a VIP transport role for the government and Royal Family.
- 32 Squadron to replace BAe 146s. No details on what the replacement will be.
- three Tornado Squadrons will be maintained until 2018, the final two will be stood down in 2019.

The full document can be found at: