Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, yesterday confirmed the purchase of 22 Chinook helicopters and another C17 Globemaster transport aircraft for the RAF.
On 10th November the Telegraph reported the government would be making a purchase of up to 30 Chinooks but today he gives the figure as 22, a reduction of 27%.
As part of his cuts to fund the war in Afghanistan:
RAF Cottesmore in Leicestershire, with 3500 staff, will close
A proportion of 1600 personnel at RAF Kinloss, home of the Nimrod, will be reassigned
A fleet of 11 Nimrod Mars 2s will be scrapped by the end of next March
The Nimrod MRA4s will be delayed
One of five Harrier squadrons is to be axed
One of seven Tornado GR4 squadrons may also be scrapped
The Royal Navy is to lose one minehunter
One survey ship is also to go
There will be a reduction in some army training
7,500 civil servants will lose their jobs
The majority of the losses are to the RAF and Navy although why a minehunter is being scrapped seems a bad decision.
The Chinooks will not be ready for operation service for three or four years, by which time we have been led to believe the British combat mission in Afghanistan could be winding down. Last night on the news Bob Ainsworth rejected claims that any mention of troop withdrawal had ever been made.
Professor Michael Clarke, the director of the Royal United Services Institute, said that for the first time in the modern era the country was "paying for a war out of current expenditure". He told the Daily Telegraph: "The assumption has been for the last 30 years that wars are paid for out of central funds."
Why don't the government scrap Trident, which will never be used, and put the billions saved towards making our defence forces better equipped.
Oldrightie has paid his respects to the two soldiers killed in Sangin, Helmand yesterday. I would like to add mine.
More than 1,000 members of the armed forces have been wounded in action in Afghanistan since 2001, the vast majority of them since 2006 when the war started in Helmand province.
The casualty toll up to the end of last month was released by the MoD yesterday. It disclosed that a third of the wounded suffered serious or very serious injuries.