A move is under way in Great Britain to abolish the Royal Navy's air arm. At the moment there is not much to dissolve: the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) currently has two combat squadrons with fixed-wing
aircraft flying Royal Air Force Harrier GR.9 jump-jets-with both Navy and RAF pilots. The GR-series Harriers are ground-attack/reconnaissance aircraft. There are a number of Navy utility and training aircraft, plus some 140 helicopters of various types.1
The Navy also operates three Invincible-class STOVL (short takeoff/vertical landing) carriers, one of which is usually fully operational, but with few aircraft on board.
The RAF Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Tropy, has urged that his service take over all fixed-wing aircraft operations. Realizing that such a move would be controversial, Sir Glenn said that such consolidation of air power was "inevitable," adding: "We have got to kill some sacred cows to make ourselves more efficient."2