A useful little example of the problem which plagues every military, everywhere and everywhen. Said military needs to have much more kit that in entirely necessary to run operations in peacetime. Because, you know, they do need to be able to fight wars. This means they have a few rifles in the back of the cupboard to replace those shot out of the hands of gallant Tommies. An extra ship or two tied up at the dock to replace any lost to enemy action. A grouping (in today’s European militaries, perhaps a groupuscule) of tanks to roll out in place of those brewed up.
And, possibly, rather more aircraft to fly peeps around in that are required purely for training purposes:
Three military jets – part of a fleet costing taxpayers an astonishing £10.5 billion – are being used to fly holidaymakers to sun-kissed resorts because the RAF has no use for them.
The aircraft are supposed to transport British troops to military bases around the world and refuel fighters and bombers in mid-air during combat sorties.
But a Mail on Sunday investigation can reveal that while the cash-strapped Ministry of Defence shells out tens of millions of pounds a year for the planes, holiday firms Thomas Cook and Jet2 have been using them to fly thousands of tourists to Majorca, Tenerife, New York and Florida.
So, MoD has enough passenger transport planes to move reasonable numbers of troops. Enough to perhaps gear up to a Gulf War (I or II) type of thing possibly. We’re not in such a Gulf War type of thing at present so there’s capacity going spare. What should we do with that spare capacity? Why not rent it out? Earn a crust towards that capital cost – which is substantial – while we preserve the opportunity to gear up if we need to?
And then the Mail complains about money wasting. When this is actually money saving on a large scale. Which does neatly illustrate that military problem. They’ve got to have the kit to be able to expand from peacetime operations. But then people complain about money wasting when they have it.
From memory, and don’t quote on this, the Americans tend to think of the entire commercial fleet as being on hand in wartime. Both the hulls themselves and the crews – vast numbers of the pilots at least being in the AF Reserve anyway.