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RAF C-130 SAFETY

#1
Hi there,

You probably recall the incident in Jan 2005 where an RAF C-130 (XV179) was shot down in Iraq. There is a thread currently running on PPRUNE which is highlighting this and some consequential safety aspects of RAF C-130 operations.

The sister of the RAF ground engineer who died when XV179 was shot down in Iraq, has now raised a petition to try and get the RAF Transport fleet modified so that in similar circumstances, the crew have a better chance of getting the aircraft (and its load) safely back on the ground.

My opinion is that as the RAF's primary customer, we have a vested interest in supporting this. Please check out the thread on PPRUNE and the petition which is here. If you feel you can support the petition, then please do so.

Maybe the MOD here will consider making this a "sticky" for the duration that the petition is running?
 
#2
Hi guys, I am a former Herc pilot who worked with some of the crew killed on XV179 last year. I started a campaign to improve safety on the Herc. Specifically asking for
1. Explosive Suppressant Foam to be fitted on all Hercules ac.
2. Defensive Aids Suite upgrade for all J Hercules.
3. Lightweight kevlar ballistic matting to be fitted to freight bay to protect PASSENGERS

These items are standard on US and AUS Hercules. I firmly believe that my friends would be alive today if MoD had done the same.

Please support our campaign. it is in your interest, it is also helping to humble our leaders.

EVERYONE, PLEASE EMAIL and alert your friends - direct them to the site - and ask them politely to do the same.

http://www.mfaw.org.uk/


Regards,

NG
 
#3
Fleetingly caught sight of Swiss Tony - otherwise known as SofS for Def - sweating like a Para in a spelling contest on the news last evening. Trying to explain that fitting the retadant system was underway but was "technically challenging" and that was why there was a delay in the retrofit. I confess I know nothing about this, but I do have some doubt as to how "challenging" it is to fit a COTTS system to airframes. Perhaps nigegilb can advise?
 
#4
rickshaw said:
Fleetingly caught sight of Swiss Tony - otherwise known as SofS for Def - sweating like a Para in a spelling contest on the news last evening. Trying to explain that fitting the retadant system was underway but was "technically challenging" and that was why there was a delay in the retrofit. I confess I know nothing about this, but I do have some doubt as to how "challenging" it is to fit a COTTS system to airframes. Perhaps nigegilb can advise?
It seems not to have been a challenge for the other countries that have the system fitted.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
rickshaw said:
Fleetingly caught sight of Swiss Tony - otherwise known as SofS for Def - sweating like a Para in a spelling contest on the news last evening. Trying to explain that fitting the retadant system was underway but was "technically challenging" and that was why there was a delay in the retrofit. I confess I know nothing about this, but I do have some doubt as to how "challenging" it is to fit a COTTS system to airframes. Perhaps nigegilb can advise?
Britain has one of the very few non-US companies authorised to locally modify C-130's - Marshalls of Cambridge. IIRC they are the EUROPEAN dealership ?

It would REALLY pay to pass a copy of the Petition to the MP for Cambridge.....not only would this work save British lives but will bring significant and much needed business to his local constituency. Or have Marshall's already said they could not handle the work ?


Good luck with the campaign folks.

Le Chevre
 
#6
Le Chevre, cost when 47 Sqn pilots requested it in late 2001 was $25,000. Cost now is £50,000. However Marshalls are making a mint. Total cost per ac because it was not procured at time of purchase;

£600,000.

I have written to House of Commons Defence Committee 3 times. They are sympathetic. The more interest generated amongst MPs the better. Sarah Chapman, sister of Bob O'Conner, one of the engineers who was killed, lives in Cambridge area. I will sort out the MP through her.

It is going to take months to fit. Until we started the campaign no contracts had been signed and there was a sketchy plan to fit foam to a handful of aircraft. That number has continued to rise. The pressure appears to be having an effect. Defence Ministers have been placed on notice of corporate manslaughter if we lose another Herc due to a lack of protection.

NG
 
#7
Presumably the "retardant system" we're talking about is the foam that gets placed in the fuel tanks. Retrofitting it means inerting the tanks, opening them up and stuffing suitably shaped lumps inside. It's not rocket science but involves cutting holes/removing panels in structurally important bits that were never intended to be opened up. Making sure it gets done properly, no rags or tools left inside, everything re-assembled properly requires detailed and painstaking attention to detail. That takes time and costs money.

The real issue - and one the technically illiterate media has completely failed to address - is why on earth it was not fitted when the aircraft were built, which is what other users do. Why do the MoD pass up effective survivability mods that are a tiny fraction of the new build price ? If this was a car it would be the equivalent of asking the dealer to take the airbags out of your brand new BMW to save a tenner on the purchase price. That's the real scandal.
 
#8
One_of_the_strange said:
why on earth it was not fitted when the aircraft were built.
Probably (and i'm taking an educated guess) the technology wast't around in sufficient maturity when our order was first placed. Lets face it ALL mod kit has to go through retrofitting to keep pace with technology!

IMHO Technology is a dangerous beast. We expect more and more without appreciating the complexity of what we are asking and/or recieving!
 
#9
Just been laid off from DARA due to the lack of work for the fast jet business unit. If they (Govt) really were interested in aircrew safety DARA as an agency of the MoD could have fitted any modifications well within budget, and they even have a huge superhangar to do it in. I shouldn't think many holes would have to be made in the wing structures as there is normally sufficient access to carry out most maintenance work.
 
#10
This is unbelievably simple technology. I served with several US Herc pilots. They have had this protection for 40 years! USAF first started kitting out SF Hercs in the late 1960s. By mid 1970s every single Hercules on the inventory was protected. J model Hercs were only bought by the RAF a few years ago! Someone decided not to have it fitted. The cost of anti missile equipment is much more expensive. Sadly a Hercules can be brought down by a simple weapon system because of this failure to fit foam. It is a terrible mistake.
 
#11
Oneshot said:
One_of_the_strange said:
why on earth it was not fitted when the aircraft were built.
Probably (and i'm taking an educated guess) the technology wast't around in sufficient maturity when our order was first placed. Lets face it ALL mod kit has to go through retrofitting to keep pace with technology!

IMHO Technology is a dangerous beast. We expect more and more without appreciating the complexity of what we are asking and/or recieving!
The foam under discussion was developed by the USAF as a result of experience in Vietnam. It did exist when we bought ours and was deliberately missed off the spec. And it's foam FFS, not electronics.

I'm not surprised you're confused though, the MoD has been at best misleading and at worst deliberately mendacious by trying to equate this simple cheap measure with the missile defence systems that are also needed. Such systems are complex, are developing rapidly and require proper integration.
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#12
One_of_the_strange said:
Oneshot said:
One_of_the_strange said:
why on earth it was not fitted when the aircraft were built.
Probably (and i'm taking an educated guess) the technology wast't around in sufficient maturity when our order was first placed. Lets face it ALL mod kit has to go through retrofitting to keep pace with technology!

IMHO Technology is a dangerous beast. We expect more and more without appreciating the complexity of what we are asking and/or recieving!
The foam under discussion was developed by the USAF as a result of experience in Vietnam. It did exist when we bought ours and was deliberately missed off the spec. And it's foam FFS, not electronics.

I'm not surprised you're confused though, the MoD has been at best misleading and at worst deliberately mendacious by trying to equate this simple cheap measure with the missile defence systems that are also needed. Such systems are complex, are developing rapidly and require proper integration.
British Airways and Air France, fitted Kevlar liners and toughened fuel lines as well as some other modifications to their Concorde Fleet after the Paris Crash. They did this on 30 year old airframes with BAe/Aerospatiale providing PDS. So it can be done.

As you say - this is kit that has been around for years and is tried and tested and on hundreds of Herc airframes, rather than the somewhat bespoke system developed for Concorde.

As people said it should have been fitted from the start - to all the fleet.

(edited for spelling)
 
#13
In case you were wondering if it works. Several US Hercs were hammered with AAA and small arms fire in the opening days of GW2. Even though the Hercs were loaded with troops no ac were shot down and nobody was killed. One ac was hit 19 times several shots in the fuel tanks. We need this stuff for all the Hercs.
 
#16
nigegilb said:
Defence Ministers have been placed on notice of corporate manslaughter if we lose another Herc due to a lack of protection.
Is this really possible? If so, surely it will scare the willies out of any minister looking at MOD budgets as regards body armour/ammunition levels/comms/amost any shortfall etc.

It would mean that the buck really would stop at the top and you can bet that lots of money would suddenly appear from somewhere to meet those shortfalls.
 
#17
One_of_the_strange said:
Presumably the "retardant system" we're talking about is the foam that gets placed in the fuel tanks. Retrofitting it means inerting the tanks, opening them up and stuffing suitably shaped lumps inside. It's not rocket science but involves cutting holes/removing panels in structurally important bits that were never intended to be opened up. Making sure it gets done properly, no rags or tools left inside, everything re-assembled properly requires detailed and painstaking attention to detail. That takes time and costs money.

The real issue - and one the technically illiterate media has completely failed to address - is why on earth it was not fitted when the aircraft were built, which is what other users do. Why do the MoD pass up effective survivability mods that are a tiny fraction of the new build price ? If this was a car it would be the equivalent of asking the dealer to take the airbags out of your brand new BMW to save a tenner on the purchase price. That's the real scandal.
Retrofitting reticulated foam to fuel bladders involves no modification to the airframe and usually no modification to the fuel bladders themselves. The foam is precision cut like a 3d jigsaw and inserted through the bladder access panels one piece at a time ensuring that no foam interferes with any fuel pick ups or sensors. The bladders do not normally reuire removing from the wing for assessment prior to installation. It is a little fiddly to do, it is time consuming but it does not require a complex engineering scheme to install. The weight/volume penalty is generally under 2% of the fuel volume/weight.

This foam could also be fitted as an interim safety improvement fit to airframes such as Lynx, Sea King and Puma that do not have self sealing bladders yet operate in dangerous areas where safety could be viewed as being compromised through false economy or outdated specifications on the aircraft’s area of operation.

Chinook does have self sealing tanks, mainly US ones that don’t work very well, but these again do not have foam in them to reduce the chance of explosion following incendiary penetration.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#18
nigegilb said:
Le Chevre, cost when 47 Sqn pilots requested it in late 2001 was $25,000. Cost now is £50,000. However Marshalls are making a mint. Total cost per ac because it was not procured at time of purchase;

£600,000.

Defence Ministers have been placed on notice of corporate manslaughter if we lose another Herc due to a lack of protection.

NG
Hmmm...I take it we're talking C-130 J here ?...surely the original 'vanilla' Hercs pre-date this stuff ? Damn thing's been in service since the 60's....
 
#19
Mover said:
Hi there,

You probably recall the incident in Jan 2005 where an RAF C-130 (XV179) was shot down in Iraq. There is a thread currently running on PPRUNE which is highlighting this and some consequential safety aspects of RAF C-130 operations.

The sister of the RAF ground engineer who died when XV179 was shot down in Iraq, has now raised a petition to try and get the RAF Transport fleet modified so that in similar circumstances, the crew have a better chance of getting the aircraft (and its load) safely back on the ground.

My opinion is that as the RAF's primary customer, we have a vested interest in supporting this. Please check out the thread on PPRUNE and the petition which is here. If you feel you can support the petition, then please do so.

Maybe the MOD here will consider making this a "sticky" for the duration that the petition is running?
Takes about twenty seconds to fill this in.
 
#20
The corporate manslaughter notice is a bit of a masterstroke really. Done some research, chatted with a very well known human rights lawyer and on good authority I believe ministers are s******g themselves. 2 days after I did Channel 4 News interview a contract was signed for all 25xA400M ( HERC replacement ac) fuel tank inerting kits. I also believe all 25xA400M getting top of range Defensive Aids Suite. Just a few weeks before the notice was delivered, no/zero fuel tank inerting kits were planned and 9x DAS.

I firmly believe we can use this method for the Army. I just do not know enough about what you guys do. I know there are fibre glass landrovers around. I need the help of some of you to turn this into a workable scheme to get you the kit you deserve. In the case of the Hercules, Ministers actually cancelled a state of art DAS kit for the J Herc in 2004/5. All you need to do is request the kit you need for self protection. If it is refused we will do the rest. We do not know if we will win a case but name me a Minister who wants to appear before a Jury. Should also make it much easier to get compensation for families left behind....

Hope this helps.

NG
 

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