As previously announced in July 2004, the role of providing Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) is to be transferred to the Army and the four Royal Air Force GBAD squadrons disbanded.
-- 37 Squadron RAF Regiment, RAF Wittering, to disband by March 2006
-- 16 Squadron, RAF Honington, to disband by March 2007
-- 15 Squadron, along with the GBAD Headquarters, RAF Honington, to disband by March 2008
-- 26 Squadron, RAF Waddington, to disband by March 2008.
This phased programme will allow the Royal Regiment of Artillery to take over the pan-Defence GBAD role in a progressive manner. The RAF Regiment will now focus on its role protecting other elements of the Armed Forces, particularly on deployed operations.
As part of the changes, both 3 Squadron RAF Regiment, based at RAF Aldergrove, and the Queen's Colour Squadron, based at RAF Uxbridge, will be expanded by around 40 personnel each in order to enhance their operational capability to match that of the other four regular RAF Regiment Field Squadrons. This will improve the units’ ability to deploy on operations and so enhance the operational flexibility of the RAF Regiment in its Force Protection role.
Around 340 posts will be lost as a result of these changes. They form part of the 7,500 RAF post reductions also announced last July. As a consequence of that decision, the RAF has conducted an overall review of its structure and basing of the RAF Regiment. As a result, 1 Squadron RAF Regiment will move from RAF St Mawgan to RAF Honington by March 2007.
In addition 2625 (County of Cornwall) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment, based alongside 1 Squadron at RAF St Mawgan, will be disbanded with effect from November 2006. As Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment squadrons need to be based alongside regular units in order to maximise training opportunities and give the auxiliary personnel access to equipment held by the regular unit, with 1 Squadron's relocation, this would not be possible at St Mawgan. Around 75 reservists will be affected. Members of 2625 Squadron will be offered the opportunity to continue their reservist activities with other parts of the Armed Forces reservist organisation or with an alternative RAF unit elsewhere.
Secretary of State John Reid said:
"We are doing everything possible to mitigate the impact on the people affected by these announcements. Our current plans envisage that the majority of reductions will be achieved through a combination of natural wastage and voluntary early release but some compulsory redundancies may prove necessary. Staff and the trade unions are being kept fully informed of developments through meetings, briefings and formal consultation."