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D-Day 80th Anniversary Commemoration in Turmoil: RAF Aircraft Shortage Forces Scale Back of Parachute Jump



Immediate reassessment after D-Day parachute event is reduced because of RAF aircraft shortage

Plans for hundreds of paratroopers to parachute into Normandy for D-Day commemorations have been curtailed due to a scarcity of available RAF aircraft.

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 11:

Military leaders are urgently">king additional aircraft to facilitate a parachute jump for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, as ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East have overextended the RAF's available planes.

Plans for hundreds of paratroopers to parachute into Normandy on June 5 as a tribute to their World War II predecessors have been reduced because of limited aircraft availability.

The Sunday Mail disclosed that only one aircraft was currently available, though defense insiders expressed optimism that an additional one might be sourced.

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has called for an immediate investigation into the issue and stated that it underscores the necessity for greater military funding.

"I was made aware of this quite recently, and I definitely want to ensure it receives appropriate attention," he said during an interview on BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

"I'm completely confident that we will have more planes arriving there."

"Indeed, the A400 aircraft, which we currently utilize, are actively engaged in operations."

"I've effectively made the case for an additional £75 billion in funding for our military, because I believe we need to intensify our efforts in these areas."

The incursion of Russian forces into Ukraine is intensifying NATO operations, and the Royal Air Force's cargo planes are essential in delivering aid to Gaza.

In an article for the Daily Mail, ex-defense minister Tobias Ellwood expressed that the scaled-down commemorative parachute jump reflects the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) current approach to budget allocation.

"Currently, the paratroopers' ambitions to execute an extensive multi-aircraft parachute jump have been restricted to only one plane and a total of 100 jumpers," he stated.

The situation highlights a disheartening reality: the contemporary Royal Air Force is deficient in significant airlift capabilities, following the decommissioning of the entire Hercules fleet that had reliably served our country for over half a century, a decision made in the interest of cost-cutting.

Explore further on Sky News: Sir Jim Ratcliffe criticizes the Conservative Party. 'Heroes' pursued for £251 million by DWP. Young child gravely sick from mold in military accommodation.

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A representative from the Ministry of Defense stated: "The 80th anniversary of D-Day will feature an extensive array of tributes by current military forces to their predecessors, with numerous events planned across both France and the UK. These will include the participation of thousands of military personnel, aerial displays by the Royal Air Force, and deployments of Royal Navy ships."

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Labour MP and ex-defence minister Kevan Jones urged Mr Shapps to address the problem.

He informed the Daily Mail: "Veterans from the pivotal Normandy landings and the subsequent battles in Nazi-occupied territories will justifiably be outraged that, 80 years later, the Ministry of Defense is unable to supply sufficient aircraft.

"Grant Shapps needs to take action and resolve this issue without delay."

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