I had a twenty hour watch yesterday, with four hours overtime, in two feet of water. I have no desire to hang around with a bunch of upper-class delinquents, do twenty minutes work, and then spend the rest of the day loafing about in Paris drinking gallons of champagne and having dozens of moist, pink, highly-experienced young French peasant girls galloping up and down my . . . Hang on!
Helicopter pilots are overpaid and upmarket taxi drivers. Discuss
They need the Apache to dispel this image. Comment
The Apache will replace the tank. Debate
I will start on the last question. Bollox. As an infanteer if I need support, I can always whistle up a tank or four. Could I do the same with an Apache. The answer is 'no' isn't it? So if we reduce the numbers of tanks in order to have Apache, we on the ground will be worse off, won't we?
Apache would be useful against massed targets, but their aren't too many of those around at the moment.
Tanks work in the rain and mist, they don't have to go back miles in the rear to refuel or bomb up, and most importantly they provide CLOSE support to the Infantry. Equally as important, it doesn't take years to train tankies, so with a new tank, the current situation vis a vis trained pilots would not have arisen.
OK, so tankies are a bunch of stay warm nancy boys who like to drive everywhere, but at least they are where we need them.
Bit unfair to give the AAC grief over the lack of pilots for the Apache - blame the morons in the DPA who delayed buying the pilot training until it was too late. Still, they're civil servants so no accountability for them. You've got to be in uniform to get nailed for incompetence after all.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for competition in defence procurement but only when you have more than one credible supplier and enough time to run a competition.
AH should be seen as a complement to, not a replacement for armour, and vice versa. By definition, AH is far less constrained by terrain and geography than tanks, and can also react far more quickly to changing scenarios (eg if land forces react to a decoy attack, helos can redeploy far more quickly when the real enemy thrust becomes evident).
Also, tanks are extremely vulnerable to air attack. Hopefully, you guys won't be in a position where Air Superiority cannot be guaranteed by friendly Air Power, and you won't ever experience hostile air strikes. However, there are some mighty clever and cheap UAVs coming on the market now with some mighty clever and cheap submunitions that can ruin the day of a tankie.
However, as you rightly point out, there will always be weather that will keep air on the deck (although at least Longbow will be able to engage without eyeball, assuming that you have the ROE). Also, only armoured infantry and armour can take and hold ground. Finally, in modern PSO, helos are not much good, I would imagine, for winning the old hearts and minds battle.
In short, you inf need a balanced mix of armour AND AH.
Dang, sensible and accurate posts all over the shop, no opportunity for humour.
Tanks may be vunerable to UAV's with big bombs on but AH's are very vulnerable to 120mm SABOT doing a mile a second...
Out of interest, what else is AH vulnerable to, I know it'll survive something like <= 23mm according to something I read but what else are you likely to be brought down by or are AH's basically flying 'armoured' tanks, but with more weapons and speed.
Regarding how much punishment an AH-64 can take, much has been said regarding the Apache that was 'downed' by the Iraqis (which was actually mechanical failure). However, little has been said regarding the other helos in that formation. They were all engaged by a wide variety of weaponry, and nearly every one was damaged, several extremely severely. However, apart from the one that put down due to mechanical problems, they all recovered safely. So they really can take a lot of punishment. Also, it was arguably poor US Army tactics which led to them being beaten up so much. Certainly, the USMC had more success with its less capable AH-1Ws during the campaign.
However, no matter how good the helo, or how many self sealing fuel tanks etc they have, if it takes damage to the tail rotor, main rotor hub, or the soft pink things flying it, it's probably going down. Something like a 2S6 will therefore cause MAJOR concerns for the helo chappies until it's taken out. Clearly, the ego's of the pilot's are difficult to miss as well!!!
I now walk sideways out of the firing line and await some rotary wing types to correct me...
I was much surprised at the American Rangers attitude to their Black Hawks [going] Down in Somalia (as reported by Mr Bowen and in the movie of the same name).
Now I know that the US has armoured heli's but the fact that their BHD's are armoured was news to me. However, to believe that the heli's would survive RPG7's seemed to me a bit of a wishful thinking, you know the problem - shape charges the size of fists flying at 100's of kts designed to punch through armour... It would seem incredible that the BH could survive that when an M113 and those USMC AFboatV things couldn't....
But anyway all the yanks were surprised when they started dropping out of the sky*, Doh!
Hence my Q. regarding the AH64's survivability.
*I recognise the point was made in the movie that the RPG's hit the tail planes/rotors of the heli's and that is what dropped them... Did it happen that RPG's hit any other part of any of the other heli's?
It would strike me that the floppy's were shooting at the Body's of the Heli's and the rotor hits were 'late' shots just catching a moving target. I note the movie attempted to say the floppy's were aiming at the tail rotors specifically... but Hollywood does as Hollywood is...
I don't have any objection to the Apache as such or our having some, since obviously I am not blind to the circumstances in which they could be extremely useful.
However I do object if they are expected to REPLACE tanks, because to me the tank is a far more useful, because tactical asset, whereas Apache is likely to be used strategically. If Apache is being funded at the expense of tanks then I think we (and by we I mean the Infantry) will live to regret it.
Tanks may be vulnerable to air assets, but if we don't control the air, surely a large formation of Apache helicopters would be a sitting duck to fast air assets, after all, where are they going to hide?
What do you think Magic Mushroom? I stand to be corrected about that. Would the helis have to be escorted by fighters to their targets?
I am a sceptic, not about the use of Apache as such, as I say, I have no doubt they would be a force mutliplier, but just about the loose talk about the obsolescence of the tank which seems to have accompanied their introduction. I think many in the AAC are far too cocky about the utility of these helicopters, and I hope and trust that cooler heads will prevail.
As far as whether Apache will need fast air escort, this would depend very much on the opposition. Escort would have to be detached, else a 4 ship of Typhoon weaving back and forth across the AH route would just draw attention (and hostile fighters) to the area, thereby defeating the object of AH low flying. However, given that friendly Offensive Counter Air (OCA) is given a considerable degree of latitude in where it roams, the AH route could be disguised. However, against oposition with AEW cover, the AH would probably get detected anyway. The problem then becomes one of losing the aspect of surprise, and hostile SAM traps and AAA becomes probably the biggest threat.
However, in the right terrain (and with skilled flying) helos can still be challenging to track from airborne radar. Even when bounced, they can be difficult to engage from fast jets against ground clutter (the Harrier helo kills in the Falklands were not easy).
Therefore, assuming that you are in a position on a battlefield where air superiority cannot be assured, and hostile fast air is still a threat, Helos (IMHO) will still be considerably more survivable than armour. Helos can move quickly, and be rapidly lost visually. Once a fast jet or helo has got eyeball on a tank, the armour is going to die.
As far as your concerns regarding the AH being a more strategic asset, yes it has considerable potential for deep attacks beyond the FSCL (eg the opening shots in GW1). However, when I mentioned this on the Aviation forum, one of your AAC brethren quite correctly reminded me of the limited numbers of AH-64D that you'll be getting. Therefore, they may be too valuable to risk in deep strikes when fast air, TLAM or ATACMs (assuming that we're with the Spams) are available. Hopefully then, you inf will see plenty of AH AND armour support.