The UK Royal Air Force is restructuring Strike Command - which controls its front line assets - to reflect changes introduced as part of the 1998 Strategic Defence Review (SDR).

A key to the SDR is the creation of combined-service entities, including the Joint Helicopter Command, Joint Force 2000 and a new Defence Logistics Organisation. The UK Ministry of Defence believes that multiservice "projects" provide greater efficiencies and cost savings. The changes will take effect on 1 April.

Formation of the Joint Force 2000 will place Royal Navy BAE Systems Sea Harrier F/A2s and RAF BAE Harrier GR7s under the same command for the first time and paves the way for the introduction of the Future Carrier Borne Aircraft in the next decade.

Joint Force 2000 will be part of 3 Group, which will also include the RAF's BAE Nimrods and search-and-rescue-dedicated GKN Westland Sea Kings. Uniquely, an RN officer, Rear Admiral Iain Henderson, will command 3 Group.

Although 1 Group loses the Harrier force, it gains air defence-dedicated Panavia Tornado F3s, maritime strike Tornado GR1Bs and a BAE Hawk target facilities squadron from 11/18 Group, which is to disappear. Tornado GR1/4s, Sepecat Jaguars and BAC Canberras stay at 1 Group. No 2 Group will take the transport and tanker elements of 38 Group, which disbands, and Boeing Sentry AEW1s from 11/18 Group.

Source: Flight International