Home Business NewsBusinessAviation News MPs warned the new RAF Atlas A400M aircraft is not capable to meet the needs of the SAS and SBS which would cause ‘a major security error’

MPs warned the new RAF Atlas A400M aircraft is not capable to meet the needs of the SAS and SBS which would cause ‘a major security error’

by LLB political Reporter
5th Feb 23 2:53 pm

British Special Forces could be grounded from undertaking Top Secret airborne missions around the globe as the C-130 Hercules is being replaced by the new Atlas A400M which does not meet the needs for the SAS and SBS.

The C-130 needs to remain in service for at least two years until the A400M is able to meet the needs and requirements that the British Special Forces to be able to operate in.

Ministers and defence bosses are being urged to give the C-130 Hercules a stay of execution until its successor is capable of meeting what the SAS and SBS need.

Tobias Ellwood, Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said, “It would be a major security error if the decision to drop the Hercules was not reversed.

“The niche SF [Special Forces] capabilities developed around this proven workhorse cannot be easily replicated with the larger A400M.”

Ministers and defence bosses are being urged to keep the C-130 Hercules in operation for a little whole longer.

Former SAS member Mal Stewart told The Mail on Sunday that the A400M, is “big, noisy and simply not suited to low-level covert operations,” warning this is “a bonkers move.”

Last week RAF chiefs were warned by a former Guards officer and Tory MP Richard Drax, this move is “affecting our military effectiveness.”

The Tory MP is urging RAF chiefs to keep the C-130 Hercules in play for a further two year for the sake of our Spedical Forces members who “risk their lives for us.”

Ministry of Defence sources dismissed fears of any short-term threat to SAS or SBS effectiveness, but RAF chiefs told MPs that “a small number of niche capabilities” are not available with the A400M, which is due to take over the C-130 in June.

Ellwood told the Defence Committee hearing, that his is “to save money” by introducing the A400M into service in June.

Air Marshal Sir Richard Knighton who was at the Committee hearing, warned the Hercules needs “a very significant fatigue modification and upgrade.”

He added that the RAF is “very plain with what those niche capabilities were and what the potential operational impact is.”

Ministers have therefore concluded “that level of operational risk was small enough to be tolerable.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said, “The Atlas A400M is a versatile aircraft, offering the opportunity to approach those tasks carried out by the C-130, including military parachuting, in a different manner, so will not simply replicate how the C-130 currently delivers the mission set.

“The RAF is working at pace to ensure the military effect delivered by the C-130 is either replicated through A400M or delivered in a different way by this more modern and capable aircraft.”

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey warned, “There are growing questions over whether our forces are well enough equipped to carry out their vital work.”

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