It has long been recognised that often it is far easier to prevent the application of air power by attacking it on the ground rather than in the air. Hence, from its early inception the RAF has needed to protect its operations on the ground.
Air power effects are delivered by ever more individually capable but collectively fewer air platforms. They require protection, as do their essential enablers such as personnel, logistics, and information and communications, both at home and when deployed. The loss of even a small number of our combat aircraft or their enablers could significantly impact the successful application of air power, whilst the destruction of a single fully-laden passenger aircraft would have implications of strategic magnitude.
The RAF’s frontline capabilities face a spectrum of threats on the ground ranging from espionage and subversion, through attacks by ground intruders, to stand-off rockets. Moreover, ballistic missile and air attack can never be discounted, plus when aircraft are slow-manoeuvring on approach to or departure from airbases they are vulnerable to surface-to-air fire from missiles or small arms.
The RAF’s FP Force provides a significant proportion of the RAF’s FP capabilities, and is central to the planning of, command and control of, and training for, the Service’s FP, including the integration of other contributors.