16 AA Bde - screaming eagle or paper tiger?

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by napier, Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    What with all the hype about 16 AA Bde and the money that has been/will continue to be poured into it (mostly Apache), do people think it is worth the money in terms of bang for buck?

    It could be said that we don't need such a capable helicopter/weapon system, and we haven't got enough of the one we are buying to use it properly. Is it not arguable that because of our technological (keep up with the US) obsession, we have passed up the chance to equip ourselves with many more, but less capable, airframes (Tpt and AH) that would enable us to move lots of troops and conduct large scale air manoeuvre.

    Could it not be reasoned that, as things stand, 16 Bde is an expensive white elephant that we cannot afford to use as doctrine demands - to the extent that FOBs/FARPs will never be located forward of the FLOT, and the Paras will have to send their laundry forward? :wink:
  2. Witch, witch, Burn the witch.

    Do not under any circumstances tell the emperor that he is not wearing any clothes.

    Hells teeth man keep this up and you'll be criticising all those computer systems that we are spending fortunes on.
  3. Maybe you should rename the thread 'A waste of Apache' rather than having yet another thread devoted to Britains airborne capability or lack there of depending on your opinion.

  4. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Whilst AH64 is a sacred cow, it is a symptom rather than a cause. I merely suggest that by trying to be all things to all people (sound familiar Tony?), we become nothing of any meaning (smoke and mirrors, etc.).
  5. The way I understand it, and it is very limited, we bought the Apache, and what we've basically got is an expensive tankbuster, because we can't use its full capabilities beyond the FEBA.
    There were other models that we could have got to do the same job that the Apache is doing/will do, at a much lower price.
  6. ....but they carried less, or needed lots of work to make them interoperable, etc, etc.

    I suspect the reason that WAH-64 won was the Longbow radar; remember that they decided to buy 67 AH-64D instead of the original proposal of 100 mixed AH-64C (no radar) and AH-64D. Seem to remember it was the result of some serious operational analysis.

    Mangusta, AH-1W, Tiger, Rooivalk, all were lighter. And not integrated with all the shiny whoosh-blam-kerpow stuff that we wanted to buy. And none have radars.

    You also can't criticise MoD(PE) for buying a European collaborative solution in Eurofighter (instead of a proven design), and then claim they should have bought into Tiger along with the Germans and French (which has had many of the same political problems)........
  7. It's not the cost of the Pup, it's the Pupkeep.

    I would doubt that the cheaper airframes would be the real cost driver that would allow us "many more airframes". I suspect it's the cost of the maintainers and crew that really bites in the medium term.

    I don't know how many people it takes to man an AH squadron, but I suspect it would be roughly similar for either WAH-64 or AH-1W. And if you reckon that each filled pair of boots in the squadron costs Her Maj about £100,000 a year to employ, it's easy to see where the money gets spent.

    By way of example (and the PPruners may jump in here) the F-14 of "Top Gun" fame was a maintenance nightmare; and had awful availability. The F-18 which replaced it had better availability, and only needed 250ish people per squadron, compared with 450ish for the Tomcat.

    So, the real costs are not just the headline price, but also the maintenance-man-hour-per-flying-hour. Again, by example, this was 27ish for a Tornado but 9ish for a Eurofighter (open source!).
  8. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Having just spent a few hours at Waddling Millup learning all you never wanted to know about AH 64, the running costs are fecking enourmous, with air and groundcrew training taking place in a purpose built PFI run complex at huge expense. I think its fair to say that if you were to analyse the Whole Life Costs of high tech vs low tech, with the latter requiring fewer, less intensively trained people, we could maintain a larger fleet of - lets say Super Cobra and the latest Huey variant (both fully proven and with little/no R&D required, plus massive spares availability, etc) vs AH64D and Merlin (totally opposite). And while Longbow is great, if you are going to launch from behind your own lines you may as well mount it on a 4-Ton truck (which has been done).
  9. Early to mid 80s 4 Regt (Detmold) had a young pilot (RAEC) attached to a US Apache 'outfit' in the states.
    He came back raving about the capabilities of the aircraft but I remember him saying if the AAC where to operate it then there would have to be a complete change of basic tactics.
    Gone would be the days of a couple of cabs backed up by a pair of rovers deployed in the field.
    Tales where told of massive articulated wagons fitted out with 'electronic workshops' considered to be basic equipment for daily operation of AH 64 in field deployment.
    The spares supply in vechical strength for normal operation in the field was said to be larger then a then a full Regimental deployment and that was a frightening site to us old hands, used to camming up in a farm yard.
    Later I was to see US Aviation troops deploy in the field, Grafenwor, and they where a terriifing site, the monster artic trucks which 'expanded' sideways to occupy an unbilevable space.
    I understand the arguments for use of an older proven design, as used by US Marine Corps, but I will suggest that AH 64 will be around for next 50 years, asuming no major war and just the small scale post Korea type 'police actions' to which western governments seem committed.
  10. You mention above that low-tech would require fewer, less-intensively trained people; but haven't you earlier suggested that low tech means "many more" helicopters? Namely, "many more" pilots, groundies, techs...... anyway, given that the Americans have been operating AH-64 for several years now, including AH-64D, the "not proven" argument doesn't quite hold up so well.

    As for "just use upgraded AH-1 and UH-1", even "proven designs" doesn't mean "development costs under control":

    Someone's written a paper on the subject of "whole life".... For the Americans:
    And for the Brits:

    Anyway, why not analyse the same argument about tanks? After all, a CR2 is a big, complicated beast, we could get a larger number of simpler, more rugged, designs from the Ukrainians or Russians :( Of course, all of those re-employed loaders could make up the crews for the extra (3-man) tanks so purchased :)
  11. Heres my reasoning;
    During WW2 we had schitt loads of shermans, they tried big and nasty tigers.
    We won, they lost, end of story.

  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Good response but we were also at a critical point from Normandy onwards in losing more crews than we could replace. Shermans aka tommy cookers/ronsons tended to go out of order and take most of the crew with them. Most of the Tigers etc were not only recoverable/repairable but also had a higher rate of crew survival. I quote my Greta Uncle Bill Rinder Sgt Canadian Grenadier Guards Armoured WW2 Hang in there Bill.
  13. I just cannot understand anyone questioning the utility of Apache!

    These cynics will be laughing on the other side of their faces when the Soviets come flooding over the Inner German Border, with only a Charlie G to stop them.
  14. StJ

    i think you are forgetting about the awesome stopping power of the 66 mm LAW - more than a match for any soviet armour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. Are you a time traveller? youve set your clock wrong, this is 2005, not 1984.
    If I were you Id go back the extra 11 years, 2005 sucks.