Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Not Everyone is Eligible for Operational Allowance

The Sun reports that fewer than one in three Armed Forces personnel are eligible for frontline bonuses and that only 45,000 of the UK's 158,000 Service personnel are likely to receive the Operational Allowance before 2015. The MoD said: "That is the number who are expected to deploy. It would be curious for an OA to be made available to personnel who stay in the UK...More information »

Securing the Future of Combat Air Systems

The MoD signed a new £40m contract with BAE Systems to ensure the UK retains a leading edge in the next generation of combat air systems. Dr Nick Joad said: "This is an important step in ensuring the MoD continues to develop its capabilities in this area, and is able to exploit potentially game-changing technologies. We have worked very hard with BAE Systems to ensure that we have a high impact programme...More information »

Ministerial Committee to Uphold Covenant Pledges

A powerful Ministerial Committee to ensure that the Government delivers promises made under the Armed Forces Covenant will be set up as part of a cross-Government effort to keep the interests of Service Personnel at the heart of the nation. The Prime Minister said: "Our Armed Forces do so much to keep us safe. This new Committee is about doing more to make the Covenant work...More information »

The First Annual Report of the Armed Forces Covenant

First First Annual Report on the Armed Forces Covenant has been published (20 Dec). In response to the content, Dawn McCafferty, Chairman of the RAF Families Federation, said: "As an independent member of the Reference Group I urge all RAF family members to take the time to read it... Much of the responsibility for delivery of the many commitments made within the Covenant lies with Other Government Departments and the Devolved Administrations... but it is for us to provide the evidence of disadvantage or, indeed, the need for special treatment in certain circumstances... This Report has been signed off by the Secretary of State for Defence... and will, we hope, stimulate Parliamentary debate as to the progress of the Covenant and its impact on improving the lives of serving personnel, their families...More information »

A Night of Heroes - Wed 21 Dec 11 on ITV1

The fourth annual broadcast of the Sun Military Awards at the Imperial War Museum in London takes place on Wed 21 Dec at 8.30pm on ITV1. The Sun Military Awards are organised by The Sun newspaper in close association with the MoD. The event is hosted by Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden. Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are guests of honour...More information »

PM makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

David Cameron has made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan. His intention was to fly to Bastion but a sandstorm made landing impossible and the C17 was diverted to Kandahar. There he met members of RAF 12(B) Sqn from Lossiemouth. The Christmas trip coincides with the publication of the First Annual Report of the Armed Forces Covenant and the government announcement that it is creating a cabinet committee...More information »

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Tommy This an' Tommy That

In his book 'Tommy This an’ Tommy That' Andrew Murrison uses his perspective as a senior military doctor and frontline politician to set the events of the past ten years in historical context. Murrison, who opposed the Iraq War but found himself serving in Iraq nonetheless, charts the ways societal and political changes have impacted on the wellbeing of uniformed men and women and the nations changing sense...More information »

Santa does his rounds in a Squirrel

Father Christmas has been provided with alternative transport to schools and hospitals courtesy of the Defence Helicopter Flying School at Shawbury. Each flight providing necessary training for the crews who were able to fly and land the helicopter in areas they would not normally be able to. Sgt Steve Wright said: "Our aim is to raise morale amongst the children over Christmas in a way only the RAF can...More information »

Cross of Military Valour from the French Prime Minister

Flt Lt Ian Abson has received the Croix de la Valeur Militaire with bronze star from the Prime Minister of France for actions taken while serving with the French Air Force in Afghanistan. His citation from the French Air Force reads: Flt Lt Abson particularly distinguished himself during a mission to support American troops under heavy fire close to the Pakistan Border, delivering a laser guided bomb on to the enemy...More information »

Monday, 19 December 2011

Marching to the No 1 this Christmas

The choir of Military Wives are hoping to be No 1 this Christmas with their single 'Wherever You Are' released today (19 Dec). Even Simon Cowell has conceded that the wives of Serving Armed Forces personnel have won the day, posting on this Twitter site the words: "..congrats to Military Wives. It's a great cause and a worthy Christmas No 1". Pre-order sales of the single reached six figures...More information »

"We have the Best and Bravest troops in the World"

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has held a special service of thanksgiving for those killed in action or seriously injured in Afghanistan. Dr Sentamu said: "We should not forget our brave servicemen and women, who put their lives on the line on a daily basis. We have the best and bravest troops in the world, and it is important that they know how highly they are thought of by this nation...More information »

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Our Stories in RAF News - No Urgency from the Local Authority

Periodically in RAF News the Federation uses the evidence someone has provided to illustrate a topic of concern. The cases illustrate where policy is not quite fair or is outdated, or where there is disadvantage purely because that someone is a member of an RAF family. This time we feature a family moving out of the RAF and keen to be allocated Local Authority Housing. Although accepted onto the waiting list after providing the 'Certificate of Cessation to Occupy SFA' issued by DIO, the family are very worried that their impending homelessness doesn't seem to be being considered with any urgency by the Local Authority and think they may have to resort to sleeping in their car until they are allocated a house...More information »

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE from the Secretary of State

"There is no doubt that 2011 has been a very challenging year for Defence, not least for the families who support our uniformed personnel as they deploy worldwide in support of the UK’s interests. I therefore welcome the opportunity to provide a message to the many RAF family members around the world... My thoughts are with those who are serving away and at this time. And to all, wherever you may be, I wish...More information »

Connect via BFBS this Christmas

This Christmas BFBS is connecting you with a whole forces world of entertainment. There are live message programmes, linking troops on operations with their families and friends at home. Speaking from his studio at Bastion, Mark Humphries said: "Our audience doesn't stop working on Christmas Day so neither do we. It’s even more important than ever that BFBS is here in Afghanistan keeping families connected...More information »

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Redundancy Tranche 2 Announcement - 17 Jan 12

Tranche 2 of the Armed Forces Redundancy Programme will be announced on 17 Jan 12. The RAF will publish arrangements at the same time as the RN and Army. Tranche 2 is to be the last tranche of redundancies for the RAF and RN, although a small number of further redundancies may be required. Eligible personnel will have until 28 Feb 12 to submit applications and notifications of redundancies will be issued 12 Jun 12...More information »

Christmas Cheer from HMS Ocean

Mariah Carey is said to be thrilled with the men and women of HMS Ocean when they posted their Christmas music video set, 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. She said on Twitter: "This is the best thing I've ever seen, you guys just made my day! Happy Happy Christmas!!! x0x0 to the troops...More information »

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE from the Chief of the Air Staff

"Christmas is a time to reset our thoughts and focus on those who matter most to us – our families. Young or old, at home or abroad, on base or on operations my thoughts are with you all at this special time...This last year has been demanding, busy and dynamic...I am very grateful for the efforts of all those serving in the Royal Air Force and for the loyal support of all their families...More information »

Service Children sing 'Wherever You Are'

The children’s choir from the Duke of York’s Royal Military School is asking Armed Forces families to support their bid to get a their singing of 'Wherever You Are' played on BBC Radio 2. Their version, includes a message from Jordan Oliver, 15, whose father Sgt Alan Oliver will be on the frontline this Christmas. Director of Music James Robinson said: “The song is really close to our hearts and the ethos of the school...More information »

Monday, 12 December 2011

Official Service Residences are a thing of the Past

The MoD has announced it has changed its policy for senior officer accommodation and provision of domestic assistance which will save the Department £3m a year. Following a comprehensive review, the MoD has disestablished the status of Official Service Residence and is publishing a new tri-Service policy on the provision of domestic assistance and official hospitality...More information »

"Defence is a Very Human Endeavour"

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, has given a speech at the Royal United Services Institute restating the need for reform in Defence. He began by saying the SDSR was 'long overdue, and undeniably necessary'. He spoke on Afghanistan, Libya and the need for a firm foundation but concluding that he had quickly come to understand that Defence is a very human endeavour...More information »

Three and a half tonnes of Turkey on its Way...

Three-and-a-half tonnes of turkey is on its way to Afghanistan, also on the shipment are:Two-and-a-half tonnes of potatoes; A tonne of Brussel sprouts; 100kg of cranberry sauce and 60,000 After Eight mints. Commodore Clive Walker who took initial charge of the operation said: "We can't all go home, in which case we have to try and do something here...More information »

Hawk T1 Flying is Resumed

Following the grounding of the Hawk T1 after Sean Cunningham's accident on 8th of November the RAF have now issued a statement. It says that following safety advice and the issue of a precautionary technical instruction, the RAF chain of command have authorised the resumption all Hawk T1 flying operations without restrictions and that all flying operations are being resumed...See full details

Do you have the Correct Car Insurance to make a Claim?

The Families Federation has received a couple of issues concerning the claim of motor mileage for hospital visits. For the Service person these appointments are considered duty, however, in order to submit a successful motor mileage claim the vehicle must be correctly insured for Business Use...More information »

Air Command too are feeling the Pinch

Defence is engaged in a wide-ranging transformation programme that will impact on every aspect of Air and Space capability. Significant changes have already taken place following SDSR but more changes are required. HQ Air Command at High Wycombe must deliver £40M in savings by end of Financial Year 14/15 and part of the restructuring will see the exit from the Service of 11 air rank officers...More information »

MoD Houses are empty for a Reason...

The Sun writes today that a report by the ForceSelect Foundation says 8,000 homes for troops are being left empty at a cost of £54m a year while 'thousands of ex-Service personnel are homeless'. The MoD have advise that: MoD-funded living accommodation within an appropriate distance is a condition of military service. 12.85% is empty at any one time but it is not a static list of properties...More information »

Register your Child and their School will receive £200

Register your child at their school as having a Service parent(s) and the school can claim £200 for each child. This applies to schools in England for children in Reception through to Year 11. This payment is in recognition of the unique challenges and stresses facing Service children and is provided to help support your child - But you need to let the school know before 19 Jan 12...More information »

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Prime Minister thanks those who took part in Ellamy

Service personnel involved in Op Ellamy attended a reception held in their honour at No 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister David Cameron took the opportunity to pay tribute to their professionalism, dedication and bravery in helping to assure the liberty of the Libyan people. He said: "You played a huge part and bore a great burden. But it wasn't just what you did; it was how you did it...More information »

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Defence Committee Session with the Secretary of State

The Secretary of State for Defence has gone before the Defence Committee. The session does not form part of an inquiry, but designed to establish the new Secretary of State’s priorities and to follow up a number of issues of concern. It is likely that a number of the issues raised will feature inquiries at a later stage. The session: Wed 7 Dec 11 at 2.30pm and can be viewed via the link...More information »

Concert at Salisbury Cathedral Tomorrow

This year’s RAF Association Christmas concert is taking place in Salisbury cathedral on Thu 8 Dec 11 beginning at 7.30pm. Tickets are still available, priced £17.50 and £12.50. The concert includes performances from the RAF Central Band, Soprano Joanne Pullen and the Salisbury Cathedral Choir and will include a mix of festive and classical pieces to commemorate all those who have served and continue to serve...More information »

RAF Family Hero Award

Community volunteer at RAF Lossiemouth, Lindsay Nelson, has been named as the 2011 RAF Family Hero. Paul Hughesdon from the RAF Benevolent Fund said: "This award is a great way to recognise people like Lindsay, who do invaluable work behind the scenes to help hard-pressed RAF families. Frankly, without them, the RAF would be less able to sustain its operational effectiveness...More information »

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Your Evidence sent to the AFPRB

Remuneration continues to be a subject of considerable interest to RAF family members and the audiences we heard from were keen to ensure that, when the opportunity, once again, arises for future pay awards to be considered, the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) has the appropriate evidence to hand upon which to base their recommendations. In preparation for the Federation’s evidence session with the AFPRB, the RAF FF team compiled a comprehensive report based on evidence from RAF serving personnel and their family members who responded to the Federation surveys. We hope our evidence influences the debate and we will run further surveys in 2012 to ensure that our evidence base on all AFPRB-related matters is kept up to date despite to continuing suppression of pay...More information »

Lorraine Kelly Launches Christmas Box Campaign

Lorraine Kelly joined service personnel at the Tower of London to launch the annual Christmas Box campaign, run by the charity uk4u Thanks! The campaign sees 22,500 boxes sent to those on ops or in hospital at Christmas. Capt Tom Cardwell said: "Receiving the box while serving far away was a real boost to morale. You can see that the charity thinks hard about what the contents will be...More information »

A Chance to win Christmas Dinner

Red Lion Foods have launched a competition in partnership with BFBS to provide two lucky Service families with Christmas dinner and all the trimmings. The company hope it will make Christmas just that little bit easier. The competition is open to anyone who has a family member serving abroad this Christmas. Last entries must be received on Tue 13 Dec 11...More information »

The Schools Admissions Code - Where are we now?

The Department for Education is overhauling the schools admissions codes which is perceived to be complex, confusing and unfair. The MoD made representation to the DfE to: allow infant classes to exceed the 30 for service children and for local authorities to set out how they intend to remove disadvantage for Service children. Revised regulations will be in force in Feb 12 for those starting school in Sep 13...More information »

Monday, 5 December 2011

Extra time on the Telephone this Christmas

Those serving in Afghanistan this Christmas will receive an extra hour and fifteen minutes talk time on the phones courtesy of Paradigm and the MoD. An additional half an hour will be available from 18 Dec 11 and there will be a further free forty-five minutes on Christmas Day...More information »

"Typhoons ARE NOT scrapped for Spares"

The Sunday Express and Daily Mail have run stories stating that almost half of the RAF's Typhoon jets are unable to fly because they don't have the spares and that aircraft have been scrapped to provide them. The MoD hit back saying: "This is not true. We regularly carry out routine maintenance but that does not mean they are undergoing 'repairs'. The RAF has not 'scrapped' any Typhoon aircraft for spares...More information »

Welsh Government's Commitment

The Minister for Local Government and Communities has announced the Welsh Government's Package of Support for the Armed Forces Community. Minister Carl Sargeant said: "In Wales there are estimated to be a quarter of a million members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, reservists and cadets as well as their families and veterans. We want to ensure they suffer no disadvantage...More information »

Military Wives Choir - Music Score Now Available

Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir were with Chris Evans on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show this morning (2 Dec) are on the One Show this evening and on Strictly Come Dancing. Chris, a staunch advocate of the Military wives, is doing all he can to promote the wives and partners of Forces personnel and alongside Gareth Malone to highlight their stoic fortitude in the difficult role they play in supporting those in uniform...More information »

Worry over Pension Benefits for AFPS 75 and 05

When it comes to Armed Forces pensions the Air Personnel Policy staff are only too aware that information, especially some of the technical issues, can be easily misinterpreted and cause unnecessary concern. The team has therefore issued, in addition to IBN 14/11, notes in response to calls they have received. They also give an update on where the Service is in its negotiations with the Government on pensions...More information »

Thursday, 1 December 2011

British Military Tournament - Earls Court

The British Military Tournament is a show of skills and precision by the British Armed Forces while allowing public appreciation for the country's servicemen and women. This spectacular new tri-service show for 2011 focuses on the story of 'the special relationship' between the United Kingdom and United States. It runs from 2-4 Dec 11 at Earls Court...More information »

Sean Cunningham - 'Charming, Professional and Dedicated'

The family, friends and colleagues of Flt Lt Sean Cunningham gathered at Coventry Cathedral today for his funeral. During the service, Sqn Ldr Jim Turner said: "Sean was a charming, professional and dedicated pilot who always had a smile on his face and touched the lives of many people. His love of the job was obvious to see. His sense of excitement would grow as the time approached to go flying...More information »

Over 12,500 Service Personnel needed for the Olympics!

The Home Office and the Ministry of Defence are now understood to be working on needing 7,500 service personnel for on the ground security duties at the Olympics. This figure is up 25% on original figures and is in addition to the 5,000 specialist military personnel needed for roles in air defence, maritime and other duties...More information »

The Federation is Voicing Your Opinions

The Federation is your voice - so what has it been saying of late? In this latest Federation update we report on the high level activity of: the continuing fall-out from the SDSR; A 'Where are we Now?' on the Armed Forces Covenant and what the Federation is contributing; Our views on the review of CEA and where it is heading; Our input into the Future Accommodation Project Team; The conferences, meetings, briefings we have attended and the units we have visited. We also report on subjects being reported to us and what we are doing with the information and we give an update on our Communications strategy. It is worth having a quick scan and perhaps you too can add to our evidence by giving your opinion, as it all adds weight to the arguments we are putting forward on your behalf.  Those at the top don't want our views, they want yours...More information »

Counterfeit Shopping Vouchers

MHS issue Sodexo Say shopping vouchers to customers as a goodwill gesture for missed appointments. It is understood that there are counterfeit £20 denominations of these vouchers in circulation.MHS have been assured that the vouchers they hold are fine however if customers have any difficulty using the vouchers in retail outletsthe advice is to call the number on the back of the voucher...More information »

Military Wives Choir to Appear with Chris Evans

Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir are to appear with Chris Evans on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show tomorrow morning and on the One Show tomorrow evening. Chris, a staunch advocate of the Military wives, is doing all he can to promote the wives and partners of Forces personnel and alongside Gareth Malone to highlight their stoic fortitude in the difficult role they play in supporting those in uniform...More information »