Private helicopters for UK forces in Afghanistan

#1
Breaking news..

The desperate shortage of helicopters in Afghanistan has forced the Ministry of Defence to seek the help of a private helicopter company, the government has admitted.


Troops will be ferried around the country in Russian made aircraft, including the biggest helicopter in the world, if the £20 million deal is struck with the British owned company.
Full article Telegraph web site

Edited to remove unwanted photo caption.
 
#2
well keep yer manky boots off the seats and no spitting in the aisles!
 
#3
Quote 'The military was also “doing everything we can” to bring into service eight special forces Chinook helicopters that have never been flown after they were certified unusable following mechanical changes made by engineers.'

These aircraft have been idle for six years, I thought it was the custom avionics package that was specified that didn't work; and still doesn't.
 
#4
"A proposal from Security Support Solutions Ltd to provide four Mi17 Hip and three giant Mi26 Halo transporters was being “seriously considered” by the MoD."

Those'll be the same Mi-17s that seem to fall out of the sky with alarming regularity all over the world and the same ones that the Mujahadeen became experts at shooting down during the Soviet invasion then?

I know we all like to whinge about Crab Air, but frankly, I know who I'd rather fly with!

What a sad, sad state of affairs that it has come to this. Give yourself another gold star, Lord Drayson - I just don't know how you do it....
 
#5
It gets better....

"The Russian-made helicopters are specifically designed for use in Afghanistan’s “hot and high” conditions" - oh, are they now? So the Russians predicted the Afghan conflict all along and then had the good sense to design a helicopter specifically for use there? Crikey, they're clever! They didn't design them for use in Russia then? Oh, right...
He said the military’s decision on the future helicopter programme two years ago had not taken into account the nature of “enduring operations in Afghanistan”.

Article continues with a quote from Drayson:

"That has put pressure on helicopter capability. The question is not how we got here but what we are doing now. We are making robust efforts to improve our helicopter capability.”
- Oh, that's all right then, it's clearly nobody's fault...

Brilliant!
 
#6
I have just listened to File on 4 re. procurement cock ups. Must say the SF Chinook procurement was an especially good effort by the MoD. I don't know why Drayson is messing about with private companies we should be seriously looking at buying Russian helicopters ourselves. They do know a thing or 2 about ops in Afg.
 
#7
The Irish battalion in Liberia has been using Ukrainian Military Mi-17s and Mi-26s with CAS on call from Mi-24s since 2003 without incident.

One of the Ukrainian Mi-17s was lost in a crash but that was without fatalities.

On the other hand, that's on a relatively quiet mission where most of the militia types seem to be unwilling to get in a scrap.

Also, they are military helicopters flown by military crews who by all accounts are willing to provide all the services asked of them.

Not to mention it's not nearly as embarrasing for a country with a population smaller than London's to rely on outside support a bit.

This seems like another ideologically motivated slap dash solution from the UK MOD...all hail consultants and outsourcing.

Although I would presume the commercial crews won't be taking on any of the more dashing frontline roles, there will doubtless be restrictions on the services they can provide by their civilian nature.

I wonder how big a rotary wing fleet expansion you could get for the next ten years consultants fees the MOD will spend on being told things about the future of warfare that just won't happen?
 
#8
Replacement for Puma is being put to tender now - with ISD for aircraft being 2010 on a contract basis - so this is concept is already being considered by MoD, though these are shorter term needs obviously.
 
#9
Is that offer from the Danes to buy their 6 merlins of any use? Obviously its nowhere near a solution to the problem, but it would at least help I should think?
 
#13
Interesting stuff. Now I know how Lord Drayson is planning to replace 120 Lynx with only 46. I wonder if he has shares in any private companies that might be able to bail us out in the future....I wish I did.
 
#14
With Apache coming into service, convert all the Lynx to troop carriers?

Have the Yanks got any spare Huey's since Afghanistan looks like turning into Vietnam anyway!
 
#15
Trevelez said:
Quote 'The military was also “doing everything we can” to bring into service eight special forces Chinook helicopters that have never been flown after they were certified unusable following mechanical changes made by engineers.'

These aircraft have been idle for six years, I thought it was the custom avionics package that was specified that didn't work; and still doesn't.
Ah are these the " can't fly in the fog" special helicopters?
 
#16
In 2003 the CIA, sorry US Embassy Annex("CIA are not out here CH51"!) were flying Mi17 in Afghanistan with upgraded avionics and engines.
 
#18
Production of Mi-26's began in 1984. Indeed, the helicopter was developed bearing in mind Afghanistan in mind (years of Soviet military presence 1979-1989). More than 300 helicopters were built. 40 were exported, including 12 to Canada and 10 to India. There are no analogs and unlikely they would appear in the near future. If the Canadians use them why the British can't?



Civil version



Military version
 
#19
(See the daily Telegraph on this)

I think this is a brilliant idea, and clearly one born of the Dear Leader's promises the other day to give our forces in Afghanistan everything they need (which presumably included a decent NuLabProj basic wage).

Taken to the logical next step, we should see the NuLabProj renting Russian troops to go with the helicopters, and rightly too. Why not simply rent an entire task force from the Russians, and let our chaps come home to their damp and unheated barrack blocks? It's only taxpayers' money, for Tone's sake.
 
#20
I'm sure these bounced on a regular basis in Sierra Leone, not catastrophically every time, but they did

A TA int fatality if I remember from one. Remember it because K coy 42 boys had to watch on/stop on the Freezer container with body in it till it was repatriated
 

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