Shake-up threatens the Red Arrows
The Red Arrows could be axed after the election no matter which party forms a government.
It follows the disclosure that senior officers have been told to “think the unthinkable” amid a major military shake-up.
Famous units face being axed or merged in a bid to streamline the Armed Forces.
Plans being considered include axing the RAF’s £10million-a-year Red Arrows aerobatic team, the merging of the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines into an elite Army commando unit and the disbanding of the RAF Regiment.
The future of the Guards Division is also in doubt and questions asked about whether 50-ton tanks have a future in warfare.
Every aspect of the Armed Forces will come under scrutiny next year during a defence and security review.
A senior military source said: “What does the military want – the Red Arrows or greater investment in the infantry or the special forces?
“We have been told to be prepared to slay sacred cows and to think the unthinkable.”
David Cameron’s Tory government planned to axe the Red Arrows in 2013 but eventually backed down.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that the department was unaware of any impending cuts or reorganisation but had no idea what the winner of the election would do.
He added: “The MoD will always ensure that our Armed Forces are equipped and resourced to fulfil their role.”
But the Royal A ir Force’s superplanes will not be able to take off from their new permanent Scottish base until 2021 because they won’t have a runway.
Despite the planes being scheduled to arrive in Moray in February, a contract to design an upgrade to RAF Lossiemouth’s runway was only awarded in October.
The Ministry of Defence has insisted that while the project has been delayed, a temporary home for the aircraft at nearby Kinloss was the plan all along.
Work to upgrade the runway there as a short-term measure – the cost of which the MoD has refused to reveal – is not expected to be completed until next month.
The delayed Lossiemouth upgrade has been criticised on an online military aviation forum.
One member said: “Strange timing?
“One would have thought this should have been done and
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