Letter from the Secretary of State for
Defence concerning Eurofighter (13 December 1999)
I am writing to let you know that today I am
announcing plans for the basing of Eurofighter at RAF Coningsby
(Lincolnshire), RAF Leeming (North Yorkshire) and RAF Leuchars
As you know, we are planning to procure 232
Eurofighter aircraft which will provide the Royal Air Force with
a multi-role aircraft combining a highly agile air superiority
fighter with ground attack and tactical reconnaissance capabilities.
Ultimately, it will enable us to replace all the Tornado F3 and
Jaguar aircraft currently in service.
To allow the most efficient build-up of availability
of ground equipment, spares and trained manpower in the early
years, we will introduce the Eurofighter Force one base at a time.
The first aircraft will be delivered to the RAF's Operation Evaluation
Unit (OEU) at British Aerospace Warton in 2002. We then expect
to form the Operational Conversion Unit and first two operational
squadrons at RAF Coningsby from 2004, when the OEU will move from
Warton. Coningsby will be the first RAF base to receive Eurofighter
as it already has much of the required infrastructure in place.
RAF Leeming will be the second Eurofighter base
and would also house two operational squadrons, while additionally
retaining the Hawk target facilities aircraft of 100 Squadron.
RAF Leuchars will be the final base to convert to Eurofighter
and would house three operational squadrons. It will be the last
base of the Tornado F3, so the Tornado F3 Operation Conversion
Unit will relocate there from RAF Coningsby in 2004 and remain
until the Tornado F3 is withdrawn from service.
We shall be taking every opportunity to explain
in detail to local representatives, the local press and members
of the public what is planned. We would see this being done through
local press releases and through public presentations, to which
local authority representatives, the press and members of the
public would be invited. The Stations will also take every opportunity
to explain to members of the local communities why these stations
have been selected.
The current establishment at each of the stations
||Service Posts||Civilian Posts
It is too early to be specific about the precise details
of staff changes resulting from the introduction of Eurofighter.
There will, of course, be a transitional period when we draw down
Tornado F3 and Jaguar and introduce Eurofighter. This will lead
to fluctuations in manpower numbers at each of the stations involved.
However, on current evidence, beyond this transitional period,
I do not expect there to be major changes from the current establishments.
We also intend to provide the Trade Unions with background
information on the basing strategy now. Detailed implications
for civilian personnel will be presented to the Trade Unions for
consultation as soon as they are available.