Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by whittingston, Mar 27, 2009.
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Interesting that. the yanks deploy a further 116 mixed heli's from one Brigade Formation. Whilst MoD is still struggling to get 8 f**ked up Chinocks back in the air
Interesting, but hardly suprising!
If you have ever been to somewhere like Fort Campbell or Fort Hood in the States,where each of these establishments has over 300 helicopters based,you will understand why Uncle Sam has no problem deploying an extra 116 helicopters.
The MoD are totally useless,spending some half a billion pounds on 8 helicopters that have been gathering dust in some hangar or hardened aircraft shelter at Boscombe Down for nearly the last 8 years.For this fcukup,some civil servants should have been sacked,but I doubt that would happen in Britain.
To quote an LE Captain I worked with a while ago...
'It's easier to get rid of AIDS than to fire a Civil Servant'
I've lost track, how many times has this been promised?
I don't know how much the helicopters that Blackwater have used in Iraq cost ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:OH-6_Cayuse.jpg ) but surely buying some 'off the shelf' wirly birds with some armour and weapon modifications would improve the issue of being bogged down on the ground with IEDs and lack of ground holding ability?
Well, I would've thought we could've hired some Mil-8s with contractor pilots like the canadians as a stop gap until the proper ones were ready- is there a reason other then money they didn't?
Anyone with half a brain tuned to the realities out there would have come up with some effective solution, at much less cost than the Chinooks,,,,,,,
Agree with the sentement of the posts here, but just a small point: in the US Army structure, a 'Combat Aviation Brigade' is a divisional support unit - they don't have 116 helos per ground brigade. It would be closer to 35 per brigade if divided between the four ground brigades the US has in each of its army divisions.
The issue is that we have dug ourselves into a hole in terms of the standard of the equipment we (or more importantly public opinion and the courts ) are prepared to accept. Anything new to the MOD, that is to have widespread use in theatre will have to be modern, meet all current UK military standards and be equiped with appropriate armour and the best available DAS suite. Snatch and Nimrod are lessons that mean only the best will now be acceptable in the court of public opinion. As much as they might be tempted to, I doubt they can cut corners any more.
That still doesn't excuse why we can't just buy a few new large helicopters off the shelf though that does meet any standards.
Jesus H Christ !!!
Don' these bean counters realise that if you want conduct a WAR against insurgency at this level that air mobility, that's HELICOPTERS for the uninitiated out there, is an essential ingredient to the success of operations and the ultimate safety of troops being conveyed to and from the combat area.
It is not a question of whether or not a helicopter fits in to the long-term procurement focus, budget or process of the MOD. Helicopters are as essential in Afghanistan as compo and ammo!!
The conflict in Afghanistan is going to be a long-term, fluid deployment that will be vastly different to Iraq, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Falklands etc There will be heavy contacts every day with arguably the best armed and motivated foe that British forces have faced in a long time?
The guys and girls in theatre deserve the BEST support that can be provided to them. So M.O.D bean counters, earn your bloody pay and beg, borrow, lease, organise or steal some more helicopters. It is simply not acceptable to conduct such a deployment using predominantly land based transport.
The Army Air Corps boys will be more than willing to deploy every regiment in support of the guys in the dust and to fulfill your political desires!!
This would of course be impossible due to the far higher standards the MOD has when it comes to procurementof military equipment than any other country in the world.
Oh for gods sake, as soon as something about helos appear, the same old tired stories come out about bean counters and how nothing ever goes right.
Has it not occurred to anyone that not only are the DECs (who oversee equipt capability) and the Committments people well aware of this problem, but also ministers too? Strange as it may seem, getting helos into theatre is an accepted challenge, and something that we're doing all we can to achieve.
Buying a whole new set of airframes is not the answer though. Lets say we decide to buy a sqn of blackhawks from the US off the shelf. We have to get them over here, buy the spare parts to sustain them, develop a supply chain to get the parts to theatre and so on. We have to train the ground crews in how to maintain them (unsurprisingly there are few if any mechanics trained in blackhawk repair), and make sure they can fix them correctly. This means probably quite long training courses, as a lot of our kit is different from US kit, so it'll take a long time to train them. In the interim of course, you'll be short of mechanics for existing in service kit, so either your cabs here, or in theatre will be U/S more often and the mechanics left will be deployed more often too (retention rearing its ugly head again).
Once we have the frames and supply chain out there, we also need to think about getting the pilots sorted, and finding all the pilots to run a conversion unit, and a front line squadron, and maintain a pool so no one spends their whole life in theatre. This will mean taking pilots from existing fleet types, so we'll run short on pilots there while we learn to fly the thing and develop it. We've got to develop the doctrine required to operate it, as in how will it work, how will we use it, what do we want to do with it etc.
Once we've got crews, and supplies, and mechanics, and doctrine sorted, we also need to go on and integrate it into the UK fleet standards. This means taking the airframe and working out what it needs to operate as part of UK forces - same radios, same equipment and so on. This can be everything from making sure windscreen wipers don't go haywire when a radio is on (not being flippant here) to ensuring that the radios and the ECM and the DASS work and that the UK forces on the ground can work with the thing.
As a case in point, the Merlins we bought off the Danes are great, but we're needing to get them to the same standards as the UK fleet - this will be a seriously expensive business, and this is for a fleet that shares a lot of similarities with an in-service fleet.
In other words, its not a case of Mr Civil Servant going "heres my GPC card, I'd like 20 airframes in theatre next Tuesday". Putting a new airframe into service takes a long time and a lot of effort to get it right. If we take shortcuts and feck up then people will die. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it will take years to get to the stage where we can deploy and sustain a fully worked up blackhawk sqn to theatre without major problems.
So, if thats the problem, whats the solution? Well we're spending a lot of money getting more serviceability out of the existing fleets (T-800s for Lynx) and trying to keep things going as best we can. Of course more helos are good - everyone from the Ministers down know this and accept it. We just need to also accept that you can't just buy it off the shelf and have it in service next week.
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