Air Force Minister Tom Harris has said the Royal Air Force will be “cleaned up” after Brexit.
Speaking to the BBC’s Radio Ulster, Mr Harris said the Air Force would be “the first thing to go” following the referendum result, adding: “It’s the right thing to do.”
The Minister made the comment after a speech at the Royal Irish Regiment’s Airshow in which he called for the UK’s air forces to “stay the course” and work with other allied nations in their defence.
The Minister also confirmed the UK will not be abandoning its “special relationship” with the United States, saying the “special partnership” is “absolutely crucial”.
“What’s more, we’re not going to abandon it. “
“The Royal Air Forces are going to stay the course and continue to fulfil our obligations.” “
Air Force General Sir Tim Clark, who served in the air force for nearly 30 years, told Radio Ulster: “I think we are going into a very difficult period for the air forces. “
The Royal Air Forces are going to stay the course and continue to fulfil our obligations.”
“But it’s a very complex period. “
“I don’t think we’re going into this as the first big change in air force history. “
“There are many things that have to be addressed, but we are not going into that position with the Air Corps and I think that’s good.” “
The minister said the Defence Ministry had also made clear to the RAF the need to continue providing “essential support” to the armed forces. “
There are many things that have to be addressed, but we are not going into that position with the Air Corps and I think that’s good.”
The minister said the Defence Ministry had also made clear to the RAF the need to continue providing “essential support” to the armed forces.
He said the decision to “take a hard look” at the air fleet was a “decision made by the Government, by the government of the day and I am confident that we will make the right decision.”
General Clark said: ‘We are in a challenging time for air forces in Britain’ Minister Tom Fergus has said Britain will not abandon its “legacy of exceptionalism” and has pledged to maintain the “unique” relationship with the US, despite the vote to leave the EU.
Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Defence Matters programme, the Minister said he was confident that “the Royal Air Corps will be able to perform its core role in the future, with a high degree of resilience, because of our close partnership with the USA”.
The Minister said: “[It] was never a decision made by me, but I am absolutely confident that the Royal and Air Corps can continue to perform the core role of the UK Air Force.”
General Craig Smith, the UK defence secretary, said the “long-term relationship” was essential to Britain’s defence, adding the “military alliance” was a cornerstone of British defence.
General Smith said the Government had not given up its “close” and “special” relationship and would continue to engage with the UK.
He told Radio Ireland that the “United Kingdom is going to remain a strong partner for many decades to come”.
The Defence Secretary said that after Brexit, “we will have to decide how we are prepared to do this.”