"smart procurement" of helicopters

Discussion in 'Tanks, planes & ships' started by codbutt, Jul 19, 2009.

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  1. From the Guardian, 16/07

    The first of Sikorsky's three offers to the MoD, defence industry sources reveal, came in 2007. Sixty Black Hawk UH60 "L model" aircraft were offered. Under the deal, which included the training of British aircrews, nearly half would have been delivered "straight off the assembly line" during 2008, with the remainder by the end of this year. The total cost, at the then-favourable pound-dollar exchange rate, would have been roughly £480m.

    A second Sikorsky offer was lodged last year following an approach by the government. This would have involved delivery of 12 Black Hawk S70Is with six to have been delivered in 2011 and the remainder in 2012.

    Last month, after Davies revealed the government was engaged in an "11th-hour" reassessment of whether to go ahead with refitting the Puma, MoD officials asked Sikorsky for a further bid. It proposed supplying 60 of the latest M-model Black Hawks, the first five of them next year, a further 13 in 2011 and the remainder in "staggered deliveries" by the end of 2013. The firm received the rejection letter from Davies last week.

    The MoD said last night that rejecting the Puma refit for a new aircraft would have worsened the helicopter shortage in Helmand. A spokesman said cancelling Puma would lead "to a capability gap placing unacceptable risk on operational commitments". In response to Sikorsky's 2007 offer, he said that the MoD was already signed up to buying 62 new "Future Lynx" helicopters, from the UK-Italian company AgustaWestland. They are not due to enter service until 2014 and will cost around £1bn.

    American - proven product - 8 mill a pop. New Mi-17, about the same. British, 17 mil a pop. Who are we kidding? And they spent over 300 mill patching up the f*cking Pumas!!!!

    I can't believe we're going through this, after all the history of SABR and FASH. So what's smart procurement all about if this is the way we buy kit?
  2. Smart for Somerset, who have always had their willy up governments' bums, which give the cheques to the MoD and say "buy whatever you want, get whatever is needed [to be sold], as long as its from Somerset". With competition like that Somerset really have no choice but to provide such value have they?
  3. Westlands, like BAeS, have far too much influence over UK Defence procurement...and by implication, servicemen's lives.

    Such a purchase from Sikorsky could also have been used as leverage to procure the new CH-53K variant as a replacement for the Chinook from 2015 at more favourable rates. With a greater payload than the Chinook, excellent hot and high performance and folding blades, these would arguably be ideal for UK heavy lift requirements whilst also offering compatibility with CVF.

    Aside from H-60s, there is also the option of increased numbers of AB412 (a type already familiar to the UK military) or UH-1Ys although I acknowledge these would possibly be less suited to RN small ship tasks.

    What is needed is a long term strategy to consolidate UK rotary assets on a smaller number of types. Perhaps Westlands should have been allowed to build the S-70 under license all those years ago!

  4. Very much agree.

    We need to keep it simple with the types of equipment we field. I've had much insight into Thai military procurement which ipso facto exists primarily to line the pockets of the facilitating top brass, so it is initiated as often as possible by as many different factions as possible, resulting in a bewildering array of barely serviceable kit which survives on cannibalism.

    The UK (and its military) is starting to look more and more like a Banana republic as the emperor's clothes come off.
  5. The total cost, at the then-favourable pound-dollar exchange rate, would have been roughly £480m.

    "In response to Sikorsky's 2007 offer, he said that the MoD was already signed up to buying 62 new "Future Lynx" helicopters, from the UK-Italian company AgustaWestland. They are not due to enter service until 2014 and will cost around £1bn."

    I'm guessing there's a figure missing somewhere, I hope.

    The Future Lynx deal I assume would include spares, etc...

    Did the Blackhawk deal include spares..?

    If it did, then MoD need shooting. £480 Million for 60 Blackhawks that we could do with right now, delivered complete by 2009 against £1 Billion for FLynx's that wouldn't be available till 2014, with it's maiden fllight programmed for this year..?

    The whole FLynx deal smells like a scam. We pay Westland £10 Million in 2002 to identify the Lynx replacement and what do we end up with? Future Lynx....How amazing.

    The whole "Keep it British" con is bollocks, as Westland is now in partnership with an Italian firm, with a much larger product line than just Lynx.

    What's the role of FLynx..? I know the RN model is all bells and whistles for it's job. But what does the green FLynx do?
  6. Hmm, although the gargantuan price gap is deplorable and unreasonable, just two questions:

    Regardless of price, is the Future Lynx a better helicopter (or should be) than the Blackhawk?

    Second, although all these American military purchases sound cheap and fast wouldn't we be constricted in how we use them, the US is notorious for keeping its software privy to itself, as the Chinook HC3 has shown, the same goes for Trident. Would it not be better (though more expensive) to buy off the shelf European helicopters which also have proven capability (such as the NH90) which would perform the same missions as the Lynx?

    Although substantially more expensive than the Blackhawk (for 60 it would be about £830m), it might offer greater capability and we would actually own it, not simply have to refer back to Uncle Joe every time we wanted to alter it.
  7. I think the devil is in the detail on this one - and don't forget that Sikorsky were probably behind this leak, and so have alterior motives too!

    I totally agree that Westlands is as much a political as military concern, but buying whole fleets of helicopters from the US isn't just a case of saying "deliver me 20 of these now". The questions that would have been considered would include things like long term supportability, crew training costs, costs of establishing support networks, issues to do with how much UK kit would need to be adapted on to make it compliant with UK equipment and TTPs, and so on. We'd also have to consider access to spares, given the age old problem that US comes first, and everyone else comes a distant second when spare parts are needed for these things. We'd probably have no ability to update them ourselves, so we'd be long term damaging our own helicopter industry, and outsourcing all the support out to the US.

    As always, the devil is in the detail - I suspect that what has been quoted is the upfront costs, but the longer term costs, and the DLOD costs were such as to make it a much less viable package.

  8. FLynx is one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated on the MoD… Take one long past it's sell by date helo that's no longer a commercial prpostition, tart it up and sell it to the MoD at an enormous mark up to replace it's obsolescent brother.

    And what do you get? For the Navy, nothing a SH-60 Seahawk doesn't already do, for the Army? Another too small helo that does nothing a UH-60 Blackhawk doesn't do better and cheaper.

    One of the suppossed great improvements the FLynx is supposed to give us is that it can carry… GASP!!!! 8 Hellfires…

    Look Mum, the Blackhawk could always carry 16!

  9. From what little I can see, the FLynx is the better Heli for the RN, but almost a total waste of space for the Army..

  10. Chinook HC3 was all our own fuckup… we asked for a chimera of a helo without having the gumption to ask for the software…

    Other than that, lets see…

    Whirlwind: Yank, brilliant service record
    Wessex: Yank, brilliant service record
    Sea King: Yank, brilliant service record
    Chinook: Yank, brilliant service record
    Apache: Yank, brilliant service record

    Anyone notice a pattern when we swallow our pride and buy American helo designs?
  11. Some good points there, which did puzzle me. The main bonus of the Blackhawk deal is that the Supplier was offering Heli's off the Producation line within 12 months, complete by 2009. Westland's offer was a group of pretty pictures due for delivery in 2014, as long as nothing goes wrong.

    Given the septic's known generosity I suspect any spares shortfall could have been worked around in Country. By that I mean that if we and the Yanks are flying Blackhawks from various shared locations in Afganistan that any short term spares issues could have been worked through at the "Tiffy" level....

  12. Agreed, the WS-70 made perfect sense but we were being seduced with assorted EuroHelos that we either didn't end up buyng NH90, or Merlin that's proven to be rather too expensive for a battlefield taxi.

    Also agreed, we have FAR too many helo types now, looking at the MODs inventory is like looking at a copy of Janes All The Worlds Helos these days…

    The CH-53K makes perfect sense for the future heavy lift requirement…

    We've got Apache already…

    Standardize on ONE helo for the midrange lift instead of Sea King, Puma, Merlin. The SH-60 and UH-60 fit the bill both for the Navy, Army and RAF.
  13. Completely forgot about the NH90. Just Wikipediad it and it looks just the ticket, in so many ways. FLYNX is a done deal, no doubt about it but we can keep fingers crossed for RN somehow getting them all and the Army persuading Agusta-Westland to arrange for some NH90s, to be license-built and developed further by AW if necessary. That would be a face and possibly bacon saving turn for all.
  14. We could probably save a few bob on spares too, as the AH and Blackhawk have a fair few interchangeable items....

    And our AH has the most advanced avionics suite in the world at the moment, even the Yanks want to buy it from us.
  15. Never mind all the "Smart Procurement" newspeak. Get on the bloody phone to Sikorsky or Bell and buy some! Smart Procurement = Easy Money Making scheme for Civil Servants.