More new equipment

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Richard_North, Dec 12, 2007.

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  1. Announced by Gordon Brown in a Commons statement today, and clothed in more detail by an MoD press release, the MOD plans to order 150 additional specialist, protected vehicles, specifically for Afghanistan.

    The new vehicles will be called Ridgeback and, says the statement, will represent a further spend of over £150M on protection for our forces, fully funded from the Treasury Reserve.

    We are told that work is currently ongoing to identify the vehicle type. "A number of solutions have been looked at, including off-the-shelf products," is all the MoD will say. However, this seems to be the smaller (than the Mastiff) MRAP vehicle, something in the range of the 4x4 Cougar, Bushmaster and Golan category. The 4x4 Cougar, in particular, has already been deployed in Afghanistan by US forces.

    We are also told that the UK will be sending additional Sea King helicopters to Afghanistan, expected to deploy in the spring. However, these are not standard versions. They have been fitted with new, advanced composite rotor blades (the so-called "Carson" blades) which substantially improve "hot and high" performance, also giving additional payload, speed and range on the same fuel capacity. The machines, therefore, will bring much needed and welcome additional capacity.

    Also, Gordon Brown revealed that, through Nato, moves are being made to acquire helicopters from private contractors, to give back-up logistic support, and negotiations are continuing on this. One hopes it they will not get bogged down in the endless bureaucracy for which Nato is notorious.

    Altogether though, this is good news for the Armed Forces and, in that the inventory of protected vehicles is being enlarged, a sign that the Army has finally realised that mine and ambush protection are a vital part of the armoury of any modern counter-insurgency force.

    Pics here, if anyone is interested.
  2. Then in the same breath ( after looking at the bill for that lot ) announces negotiations with the rag-heads! :? Hello.
  3. Your link doesn't work (to the 'clothed statement') Richard;

    I have no idea what this says, perhaps its Polish for "wah";

  4. Curious - didn't know there were any new build Sea King airframes out there to be had. Oh, sorry, they'll be second hand ones with new blades. And where will we get them? From the market, or from recycling some of our old ones? In which case does that not stretch the term "new helicopter" to breaking point?

    Or am I just cynical, bitter and twisted?
  5. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    They did the assessment on the blades about 4 years ago, never saw the results. You'll probably find a lot of the airframes are the Mk6C varients as well (old Mk6's converted to troop carriers) as I'm not sure how many of the Mk4's have gone through the AUP upgrade programme yet.

    Been a while since I played with those old workhorses...great fun they were too.

  6. Who mentioned new-build? The Sea Kings are moving from Iraq permanently, and are heading for Afghanistan as a deployment. They get new blades to help with the hot and high aspect, it's easier than better engines!
  7. Just re-read GB's statement. Ok, knee jerk reaction on my part, and I concede he didn't say new, merely additional.
    And the upgrade sounds like an excellent idea - am certainly not going to knock that.
  8. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)


    Thats sounds like something you would get from Anne Summers, could they not have come up with a better name
  9. Better engines would not help if the blades can't take it. The carson blades give a phenomenal performance increase to the Sea King both in payload and speed.
  10. Very true. The blades were described to me as improving the capability of the Sea King enough to allow it to operate well in Afghanistan. New engines as well as new blades would be lovely though. ;)
  11. I really don't think you would want to say that to its face!

    Note the bit about lions!
  12. Sorry! Now fixed!
  13. Without a doubt Goon but as you know, the money isn't there for both, when you consider that we have new engines for Chinook sat around waiting for the dosh to fit them you will understand the problem.

    I just looked at the article you posted and I'm not sure if I'm at liberty to say actual figures but rest assured the 15kt increase mentioned in your article is MUCH lower than the estimated cruise speed increase for in service SK, as is the 2000lb payload increase, in fairness the figures I am aware of do include the composite tail rotor that goes with the new blades.

    All in all a great move by the MOD but only due to the efforts of military Desk Officers and no thanks at all to the money men who could of had this sorted a year ago.
  14. Quite, and the debacle with those eight chinooks sat at BD boggles the mind.

    That was the only article I could locate which showed some figures, I am aware (due to a recent brief) that the service SK, when fitted with these composite blades, will be better than as quoted.

    I think we're all aware that the money men could sort much if only they loosened the strings, but that, as we all do know, is not about to happen. :x