Libya mission 'may curtail RAF's role'

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The Independent Online

The RAF's ability to respond to future emergencies will be curtailed if the mission in Libya continues beyond the summer, its second in command has warned.

In a briefing paper for politicians, Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant said operations in Afghanistan and Libya were together placing a "huge" demand on resources. The Air Force's head of combat operations also described morale as "fragile", with many areas "running hot", as the Coalition's defence cuts appear to undermine the efforts of air crews.

The paper, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, was given to MPs last month, before the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, questioned the sustainability of current operations.

The First Sea Lord, who suggested the Government would have to make "challenging decisions" on force levels if the Libya mission lasted more than six months, was subsequently given a dressing down by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.