Due to ongoing validation of the Joint Personnel Administration System (JPA) all RAF strengths in 2008-09 are provisional and subject to review. All figures in the table below the rank of Group Captain have been rounded to the nearest 10.
RAF personnel numbers have reduced over the period since 1997 in line with strategic reviews. The Strategic Defence Review (published 1998) sought to shift UK defence forces away from a largely cold war defence posture based on maintaining heavily equipped forces in Western Europe towards lighter, expeditionary forces capable of deploying across the world. It also marked a shift towards 'joint' defence forces and a greater use of advanced technology. Subsequent strategic reviews have continued these trends.
Moreover, as the 2004 Defence White Paper "Delivering Security in a Changing World" made clear,
'the effectiveness of modern precision weapons and sensors, which can be used in all weathers, day and night, mean that highly accurate air delivered offensive effects can be achieved with fewer 23 Feb 2010 : Column 410W
fast jets than before. Similarly the air threat to deployed forces has greatly reduced and the capability of our air superiority aircraft and other air defence assets is continuing to improve. So we need fewer aircraft and fewer ground-based air defence systems to meet the threat'.
The bulk of the RAF's manpower reductions has been at lower level ranks (Senior Aircraftsman and Corporal). These were mainly achieved through efficiency improvements including multi-skilling of engineering personnel and contractorisation of posts in service trades where these ranks are prevalent.
Armed Forces: Injuries
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many triple amputees are in the armed forces; 
(2) how many amputees in the armed forces have been sent to the US for medical treatment in the last three years; 
(3) how much his Department spent on sending armed forces amputees to the US for medical treatment in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Kevan Jones:
The Ministry of Defence has committed to publishing on a quarterly basis the numbers of service personnel who have suffered limb amputations as a result of injuries sustained while on operational deployment, and Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) published figures up to the end of 2009 on 12 February 2010, available on its website at: