Recruitment freeze on US airbase workers

American military chiefs have imposed a recruitment freeze on British Ministry of Defence workers at its Suffolk bases to rake back money to spend on its ageing airfleet.

American military chiefs have imposed a recruitment freeze on British Ministry of Defence workers at its Suffolk bases to rake back money to spend on its ageing airfleet.

The cost-saving measures are part of the Air Force Smart Operations 21, which is designed to make savings throughout the United States Air Force.

Both RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath will have to shrink their spending by $2million this year. The moves affect the 48th Fighter Wing, the 100th Air Refuelling Wing and the 501st Combat Support Wing.

A spokeswoman for RAF Lakenheath confirmed the changes would mean a recruitment freeze on MoD staff at both RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall.


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However, she said, the moves did not entail any redundancies merely a halt to taking on new MoD staff. She also confirmed hiring other civilians to work on the base would have to be looked at closely before being approved.

It is understood the savings would be used to free up funds to replace ageing aircraft.

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The USAF recently revealed the average of age of its KC-135s in Europe is now 46 years old while the average age of its F15-Cs is currently 21.7 years old and its F-15Es are 12.6 years old.

In a warning to the United States Senate, one of the American military's top officers warned that in-flight break-ups - such as the one involving an F15 in the US late last year - were “merely a symptom” of its ageing fleet.

A spokeswoman for the MoD said: “We are aware that the US are considering options for making financial savings in the cost of their visiting forces. No decisions have been made and any speculation about the impact on specific US bases is premature.

“We will be fully consulted by the US as their plans develop and will inform the trade unions should there be any potential impact on the civilian workforce.”

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