Apache to RAF Control

#1
Any truth to the rumour that the Apaches are being transferred to RAF control in exchange for GBAD. Apparently there are a load of Harrier mates already under training?
 
#2
Sounds like ARRSE to me............... :?

Why would AAC train crew for Apache (and outgun/fly the yanks) and then give way to pilots trained on ground attack jets!
 
#3
The flying club have been trying to get their sticky fingers on Apache for years. It's about time the whole blasted service was closed down and its useful assets distributed between the other two services - air defence, SAR and Nimrods to the RN, support helos and ground attack to the Army and the tankers and trucks to an air version of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
 
#4
Maybe the rumour is towards the JHC control point. As we know, Jointery is rather Air Force top heavy. Apart from that, AH is and always will be operated and supported primarily by the army.

(The RAF have always had a 'shadow' eliment since the begining).

As we have seen, the comparisons to AH and Harrier mates is actually quite a large divide with quite different jobs.
 
#5
As a Crab who's operated with AH-64s from many nations including our own, I firmly believe that the Apaches are going in the correct service. There is a degree of doubt in certain quarters of my own Service (and indeed the RN) that the Army will be able to adequately maintain the beast given that it is such a quantum leap in technology from the Lynx.

However, the AH-64 was designed from the outset to be easily maintained in the field via the replacement of line replaceable units. If a bunch of barely educated Spam grunts from the deep south can keep it flying, I personally have no doubt that the REME will do the biz...assuming of course you buy sufficient numbers of the said black boxes.

I have not heard any rumours that we'll be taking control of AH, and I hope that you keep them. You're good operators and I've no doubt that you'll soon be running tactical rings around the US Army Apache boys.

My only slight reservation is your service's doctrinal concept of how they'll be used. Although the line pilots seem switched on regarding Apache's potential, the AAC's hierarchy seem very fixed in their view of Avn. And the wider awareness in the Army of how Apache should be employed is quite extraordinary. However, as the beast gets more exposure to exercises and ops, hopefully this mindset should improve.

As far as Harrier pilots in trg already, as far as I'm aware there are no plans for this. The RAF Harrier pilots are needed to fill up the FAA side of 'Joint' Force Harrier! If the Jag fleet folds, there may be some scope for light blue CAS experience to filter into the Apache fleet in the same way as the RN have had pilots flying the Harrier GR7 for many years. Apache will have to be far more available to cdrs for joint ops rather than just held as a Div asset. Assuming that it'll get involved in more 'deep' ops beyond the FSCL in comparison to the Lynx (although I acknowledge that it's a scarce asset), it will improve coordination between both services if interoperability is improved via such exchanges. Although it may be difficult to get an AAC pilot in the seat of a Harrier (although a RM guy did it on the Sea Harrier), it would be great to have the odd AAC guy in our AWACS as a controller, just like we'll have Army mission crew on Sentinel.

Walks sideways out of firing line...

Regards,
M2
 
#6
Concur, MM.

This has always been our biggest worry. How we intergrate the kit into the doctrine. Not so much as intergrate but almost a rewrite! We are fairly confident at line level we can use the kit effectiviely but we can only use it within the bounds of the bigger picture as you know.

One of the reasons why we are trying to get senior bods into the thinking and planning picture. Still too many Melchettes around the big bird table. Tanks, blokes and big guns, very 1950's!
 
#7
If we're agreed that Apache's main purpose is to destroy armoured vehicles and shoot up structures with a bit more precision than the RAF can achieve, then surely it flies in the face of what the MOD is telling us about how 'traditional' warfare (ie, large numbers of men and large amounts of armour in combined arms conflict) is a thing of the past and everything is expeditionary now.

Apache is an impressive and powerful yet pointless bit of kit, expensive to procure and operate. It's the Army's own Eurofighter - what was needed 20 years ago, but spectacularly pointless.
 
#8
Tends to go against the grain but agree that AH was a procurement from the end of 'crazy Ivan running across NW German plain. But, we know how procurement works and have to accept its what we have got.

If we could buy now for now and future, a Blackhawk type would be far more flexible and useful. Shoite happens!
 
#9
don't know how long these jungle drums have been beating but i was in middle wallop with the apachie guys only 3 weeks ago talking to them and these are the guys that are teaching bods how to fly the thing!

as far as i know the power puffs are going to have 2 operational sqns up and running by the end of the year, try handing that over to the crabs when it takes a year to train the pilots.
 
#10
OK, guess we can bin that rumour then :)
 
#11
I'm based at the home of the Harrier; all here deny any knowledge of this rumour having any basis in fact. No-one wants to fly AH64, as it seems to spend most of its time on the ground.

There are 2 RM pilots here now, by the way, and Army pers from the MDHU. All very purple and friendly.
 
#12
Oldchap,

If we're agreed that Apache's main purpose is to destroy armoured vehicles and shoot up structures with a bit more precision than the RAF can achieve
I'm intrigued by this comment!! An Apache chain gun, Hellfire or rocket is no more or less accurate than an EPW or Maverick employed by a Harrier or Tornado. One can argue that target discrimination may be easier from AH as opposed to a Fast Jet at 10 000ft, but then again target ranges are considerably less and the AH is (arguably) more susceptible to groundfire. In truth they are complimentary weapons systems. During Op TELIC, I was tasking US ATACMs, RAF Harriers, B-52s, F-15s and AH-64 (to name but a few) against the same target. It's a joint battlefield with joint effects.

It's the Army's own Eurofighter - what was needed 20 years ago, but spectacularly pointless.
Likewise, whilst the RAF would have much preferred to have purchased F-15Es 15 years ago, HMG decided to invest inevitably in BAe. However, Typhoon is a superb ac that is entirely relevant in modern ops. Similarly, AH will provide you guys with a relevant, flexible and powerful asset to be used within or beyond traditional land forces boundaries. In particular, it's data link potential as a C2 platform for joint fires and UAVs/UCAVs is immense. Despite poor publicity in TELIC (largely due to poor US Army tactics in the Eurphrates basin), the success of the Longbow in Western Iraq, and of USMC AH-1Ws elswhere show how useful such an asset will be. So I would take issue with yourself and Lord Flash that AH is 'yesterday's weapon'.

I do believe however that the AAC would gave been better off purchasing more AH-64s at the expense of less Longbow systems. Then again, if you had, Mr Brown would have probably chopped all the non-radar AH in the forthcoming cuts to 'reallign the AAC for the 21st century...vblah...blah'.

Regards,
M2
 
#13
M2,

Quite how effective the Apache turns out to be is, as with any weapon we care to mention, more a function of how it is employed tactically than it is of any technical specification. I certainly take your point about the Apache's vulnerability to ground fire, even small arms fire.

My main point was that the Apache, as it was designed and as it is 'sold' to the public and infantryman alike, is a tank-killer. Pops up, hovers for a bit, fires off a few missiles and pops back down to cheers and party poppers. In modern 'expeditionary' warfare, so the MOD tells us, large numbers of tanks are unlikely to feature - which suggests to me that there is no outstanding need for a helicopter like Apache when what we already have is adequate, proven, reliable and far more easily deployed into theatre than Apache.

In an ideal world with an ideal defence budget, I'd be all for Apache - because you never know when you might need it. Same argument for retaining a credible force of credible MBTs. Just because you think they're needless now doesn't mean that in 5, 10 years' time there won't be a pressing need for them. And the argument that 'the Americans have lots of tanks so we don't need any' is criminally negligent.

But we don't have an ideal defence budget, and the Apache procurement and on-going costs are not justified by what we will gain.

As for Typhoon, I'm more than willing to cede to your superior knowledge - my understanding of this long-running saga is that back in the 70s and 80s, the RAF wanted an air superiority fighter (that being their NATO role), and got the Tornado. And now that they want a new fighter-bomber, they're getting the air superiority fighter they should have got 20 years ago, albeit with some hastily added hard-points for a few extra bombs. Is this right or am I just wrong on this?
 
#14
OldChap said:
M2,

Quite how effective the Apache turns out to be is, as with any weapon we care to mention, more a function of how it is employed tactically than it is of any technical specification. I certainly take your point about the Apache's vulnerability to ground fire, even small arms fire.

My main point was that the Apache, as it was designed and as it is 'sold' to the public and infantryman alike, is a tank-killer. Pops up, hovers for a bit, fires off a few missiles and pops back down to cheers and party poppers. In modern 'expeditionary' warfare, so the MOD tells us, large numbers of tanks are unlikely to feature - which suggests to me that there is no outstanding need for a helicopter like Apache when what we already have is adequate, proven, reliable and far more easily deployed into theatre than Apache.

In an ideal world with an ideal defence budget, I'd be all for Apache - because you never know when you might need it. Same argument for retaining a credible force of credible MBTs. Just because you think they're needless now doesn't mean that in 5, 10 years' time there won't be a pressing need for them. And the argument that 'the Americans have lots of tanks so we don't need any' is criminally negligent.

But we don't have an ideal defence budget, and the Apache procurement and on-going costs are not justified by what we will gain.

As for Typhoon, I'm more than willing to cede to your superior knowledge - my understanding of this long-running saga is that back in the 70s and 80s, the RAF wanted an air superiority fighter (that being their NATO role), and got the Tornado. And now that they want a new fighter-bomber, they're getting the air superiority fighter they should have got 20 years ago, albeit with some hastily added hard-points for a few extra bombs. Is this right or am I just wrong on this?
A pretty fair summary on the Typhoon , I agree with that as well. I preferred the F4's to the Tornados., Value for Money they where. :)
 
#15
and as for the TSR2.....

I remember that GW1 was started by Apache flying nap of the earth and taking out enemy radar installations. Lower signature all round than fast movers, and from wnat I gather ( and I am Inf ) there is the ability for aone aircraft to paint/designate a target, and the other to hit it.

Surely this is Good News.
 
#16
Oldchap,
I feel that you may have hit the nail on the head with:

it is 'sold' to the public and infantryman alike, is a tank-killer
This is exactly how it is sold to joe public and this undersells its potential hugely. Whilst AH is not best suited to loitering over urban areas (as the US Army have found to their cost) it's utility in shaping the battlefield is considerable. In the huge expanses of Western Iraq AH and fast air dominated the battlespace and stopped the Iraqis doing anything worthwhile. Likwise, it was also extremely useful in Afghanistan riding shotgun for ground forces or conducting support for infil/exfil and CSAR. I think that it is worth the procurement, and no modern land forces can be without AH.

In terms of public perception, your comment regarding its similarity to Typhoon is valid. The media consistently describes the Typhoon as a cold war fighter designed to meet Flankers and Fulcrums over central Europe (although the Fulcrum was exactly what we met over Serbia in 1999!). Without wanting to digress too much, the Tornado F3 was developed from the GR1 variant to meet a requirement to police the GIUK gap against Soviet Long Range Aviation. We evaluated the F-16 (too small), F-14 (perfect but too expensive) and F-15A (perfect). However, the govt at the time dictated that we get the F3 for pure AD which for many years lacked the performance, and weapons to be a credible fighter. Only in the last 10 years with the advent of JTIDS, AMRAAM and ASRAAM has it become half decent. In short, turning a bomber into a fighter doesn't work.

Typhoon was originally designed as a swing role fighter to replace the Tornado F3 and Jaguar. The ground attack capability was there from the outset and the hardpoints certainly not hastily added. It's sensor capabilities would allow it to use EPW GPS weapons in an air-ground role even in its current pre-production form. Although we've never expected to get tranche 3, Typhoon will give us an extremely flexible ac that can maintain on station for extended periods with an excellent air-ground AND exceptional air-air capability. I have a good friend who is one of the first pilots on 17 Sqn at Warton flying the Typhoon and (although he concedes it is still immature and has numerous bugs to be sorted) he is exceptionally enthusiastic about it's capabilities. In short, making a bomber out of a fighter works!!

In an ideal world, we could have had 70% or Typhoons capability 15 years ago by buying the F-15E at a fraction of the cost. But I think that we all realise that the forces will never be able to undermine the European defence industry in that way.

Now, back to the Apache...

Regards,
M2
 
#17
OldChap said:
In modern 'expeditionary' warfare, so the MOD tells us, large numbers of tanks are unlikely to feature
Not having a pop, but just to clear up this, even though it is common MoD party line, is what can only be described as bollocks. I could list the reasons, but mainly when did we last fight a modern war against a enemy that emplyees modern warfare tactics?
 
#18
M2,

Thanks for the info on the Typhoon - if those that have to fly it and will one day have to fight it are enthusiastic about it, then that's all for the good. Accepting that it is in fact an effective aircraft, we can only purge about the inordinate expense and tardiness of the whole project.

As for Apache, it is publicised by the MoD in such a way that the most 'glamorous' of its capabilities - making tanks go bang - takes centre stage. Understandably so; the public wasn't particularly interested even in that, let alone the myriad other things Apache can do.

But I think you must agree that the 'huge expanses of Western Iraq' are fairly unique, and that post-Iraq - should that time ever come - the likelihood of the Army being required to fight in a similar environment is quite low.

Apache's proven vulnerability when loitering over urban areas is a problem, because, as anyone who's sat through the company commander's spiel before a good OBUA session knows, more and more of the world's population is becoming urbanised and thus more and more operations will take place in built-up environments. Thus where the Army is becoming more and more likely to fight - and where the PBI is more likely to need some serious fire support - is already effectively a 'no-go' area for Apache.

Like I said - I'm not an Apache hater, I think it's an awesome bit of kit. But I do wonder whether the hundreds of millions of pounds spent on it might not have been better spent elsewhere in the Army, or the Royal Navy, or the RAF.
 
#19
monkey spanker,

I think there's a good case for the latest war in Iraq being a modern war against an enemy employing modern tactics. Iraqi tactical doctrine is all Soviet, like most of their kit. The fact that they weren't very good at it is neither here nor there.

I think the whole expeditionary warfare being new thing is a big fallacy anyway - it's the British way of warfare, as I've said elsewhere, and has been for centuries. The only exceptions are the Raj, where the Indian Army provided the standing army, and BAOR, where the Army was already in-theatre.

Other than that - every major operation the Army has ever fought in has been expeditionary.
 
#20
Earl Grey said:
Any truth to the rumour that the Apaches are being transferred to RAF control in exchange for GBAD. Apparently there are a load of Harrier mates already under training?
NO
 
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