It is quite amazing how the subject of Apache brings out the ill informed, sniping simpletons like The HelpfulStacker. The first AH Regt is operational, the first Sqn of the Second Regt will begin its role training by the end of October and the second sqn group of the second Regt will begin conversion training in early October. The stupid comment about having airframes sat around and not having crews of high enough standard to fly them is really on a level with his understanding of the situation... about bottom rung of the intellectual ladder.
The production line at WHL started producing aircraft in mid 2000, the first UK airframe was flown into Middle Wallop by an AAC QHI in June of that year. The first batch of instructors were trained in 1999/2000 (about 12) in the USA. They were not allowed to fly the aircraft in UK until the RTS was signed in Jan 2001. The instructors were refreshed, completed C to I trg and were certified to instruct by CFS by Mar 2001. They then spent the next 14 months converting the remainder of the required QHIs to begin conversion of pilots by 2003 ( due to the delay in the simulators, NOT an AAC created issue but AHIPT/WHL/Boeing). The production line was still making aircraft at the rate of 3 every 2 months. It was always the plan to store the aircraft because that is how the IPT and WHL planned it.
The current pass rate on the AH Conversion is as good, if not better than other aircraft as the students are selected for aptitude before being loaded. There have been failures, but less that expected.
The fielding of Tornado was not exactly a rip roaring success, I wonder how many hours were spent flying around with the bag of cement in the front before the radar made an appearance. How many tens of millions went Nimrod AEWs way and the Merlin is not exactly a bed of roses. However, the main point is that in all these cases (including AH) the AAC and the RAF were ready and fully prepared for the delivery dates promised by IPTs and Industry. The sad thing is that delays in reaching operational status usually rests with the procurement system and the inability of the manufacturer to deliver his promised goods on time and with the full supporting infrastructure required.
The simple fact is that none of the 3 huge projects I mentioned have delivered any operational capability at all. The AH programme has been run on a (relative) shoestring yet has managed to produce the goods. This is something all members of the UK Armed Forces should be proud of.
What they are refering to here is actually an incremental capability release, rather than being fully 'operational' as neodyniumyag rightly points out. The process of incremental capability was always which was planned. The latest release RTS 7.6 was signed last week, with another due towards the end of the year. Each one expanding the operational capability/flight envelope/weapons release. There are many parts of the AAC as well as other organisations working to clear the aircraft to the full, Certificate of Design envelope - but that has always been the plan! Don't forget that there is now significant divergance betten the US AH-64D model and the Apache AH MK1. The release to service process under GARP is very different from the US system, and is aimed as ensuring that the clearances given to the aircraft are as wide as possible, and more importantly the ac and aircrew can operate with that envelope safely. But is does take time, requires testing, costs a significant amount of money and parts of it such as M-TADS are waiting on the US programme for development and manufacture.
Interesting that projects run by Boeing (No 1 defence contractor in the world) and BAe (No 3 Defence contractor in the world) are behind schedule and over budget combined with under performance whilst little old WHL doing a build to print with a ridiculous politically motivated engine change have got the thing in some sort of operational service in a fraction of the time.
MiB (Who worked on all the projects mentioned except Apache and has an idea about what he is talking about for a change)
If you can do nothing other than offer purile sniping on this forum then please don't bother. I'm a Crab. I've worked with US, Dutch and UAE AH-64s operationally. Liewise, I've worked with and alongside the AAC on several occasions.
The Apache AH1 is most definitely with the correct service. It introduces a huge leap in capability for the British Army and it is only correct and natural that incremental capabilities are sought. Even so, I suggest that it'll be deployed operationally within a year. Let the Army master the basics of purist AH. The more esoteric roles such as DEAD, CSAR, SF etc will come in due course, as will enhanced capabilities such as Arrowhead etc. Like any new project, it's not perfect. But I guarantee the AAC will be showing the US Army a thing or 2 about how to operate AH and Longbow within a year or 2.
The rest of you gentlemen, may I suggest that you refrain from rising to stackers bait.
Shortage of Pilots ! Hum I think they should reactivate all thoes Good Old Boys they spent millions training and are now sat around the Narf Sea of their jacksees like a bunch of tarts outside the Booty baracks. Yes a spot of motivation for all the slack arrse's get them back, upgrade their skills and oviously as they will be topping out wieght wise a regular spot of BFTs and CFTs say both each morning and afternoon.
john the wise.
Ya'll soon have them back ta standard and if more are required well scouwer out the underworked overpaid Police flights.
Clearly PPrune must be a bit quiet at the moment if the Blue Jobs are in here dealing out bolts of wisdom. At the end of the day we do things the way we do because we are part of the Land environment, something JHC could do with remembering occasionally.