Army prepares to cut 80 senior positions

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The Independent Online
More than 80 senior Army officers, including major-generals, brigadiers and colonels, are to be axed next month.

Although the Army Board has still to decide who will go, the reduction in senior officers is seen as an essential part of more than 480 redundancies across the ranks.

The redundancies will include about eight major-generals and 32 brigadiers, and up to 48 full colonels. Redundancy terms will give major-generals, who earn £63,500 a year from 1 April, a final pay-off of well over £200,000.

The jobs of the most senior officers - nine lieutenant-generals and six full generals - are thought to be safe.

The redundancy package will include a lump sum of 18- months' pay, a full pension, a "terminal" grant of three times their annual pension and a special capital sum.

The redundancies form part of the Defence Costs Study review under which the Royal Air Force will have 8,600 job losses, and the Royal Navy 2,400.

There is concern about the problems of finding civilian jobs for senior officers, who will be in their late 40s to mid-50s.

A senior rank is no longer a ready passport to a well-paid civilian job. However, the Ministry of Defence's resettlement staff has proved highly successful, helping 60 per cent of former military staff find civilian jobs immediately. Less than 20 per cent are still looking for work after three months.

nTop-secret future aircraft, weapons and military technologies are to be developed at a secure "black" projects complex.

British Aerospace is developing its Warton airfield site, near Preston, Lancashire, to include a network of secure buildings, similar to Lockheed's famous "Skunk Works" in the United States.

According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the centrepiece of the complex is a "black" or classified aircraft hangar, now half-finished. Projects, including full-scale demonstrator aircraft, will be developed in total secrecy with tight security.