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Red Arrows may be axed

The RAF's Red Arrows aerobatics team may be axed because of defence budget cuts, defence sources confirmed yesterday. Also under threat are the Parachute Regiment's Red Devils parachute display team and the Royal Tournament, the annual military extravaganza held at Earls Court in London.

A study team is to decide whether there are sufficient funds to pay for them at a time when pounds 2.28bn of cuts must be found by 1997. In a 'Defence Cost Study' - the word 'review' is avoided - the MoD could also end up buying second-hand military equipment in its efforts to save cash.

Over the next three months, study teams, including representatives from the Treasury, will look at 15 main areas. MoD mandarins and senior officers yesterday were wondering: 'Which sacred cows will have to be shot?'