So Whats the Light Assault Helicopter Then

#1
The NAO MAjor Projects Report 2011 had this information on Wildcat

Based on the current assumptions within the Rotary Wing Strategy the quantity of Wildcat aircraft to be procured comprises 34 Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopters with a further 8 Light Assault Helicopter role variants of the Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter, together with 28 Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft. The Light Assault Helicopter role requirement will be subject to appropriate requirement approvals. Planning Round 2011 Options introduce funding for the Light Assault Helicopter role equipment as well as descoping the Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter requirement by 4 aircraft, resulting in a total fleet of 66 aircraft. A further Planning Round 2011 Option was run to revise the profile of the resources available for the Wildcat project between financial year 2014/2015 and financial year 2015/2016.​

Ministry of Defence: The Major Projects Report 2011 - National Audit Office


Is it a normal Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter variant with a few clever bits removed and a stores rail for LMM and Hellfire (maybe) or is it something more. or less, exotic like a basic airframe with a GPMG!

Anyone know


ps
The report also pegs the production (not programme) cost of a Wildcat at £13m each
 

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#3
Nope, this requirement is a bit more exotic than that.

The 'Little Bird' UOR didn't make it through the Treasury so its been reinvented as some role equipment for Future Lynx. Or so my mate tells me.
 

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#5
I very much doubt that it will be cheap, especially at this stage of the project.

Options introduce funding for the Light Assault Helicopter role equipment as well as descoping the Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter requirement by 4 aircraft, resulting in a total fleet of 66 aircraft
Lets disect this remark:
  • "Options" implies more than one
  • "introduce funding for the Light Assault Helicopter role equipment" - this must have been an enhancement/transfer
  • "as well as descoping the Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter requirement by 4 aircraft" - this was a saving
So they ran enhancements (successful) for the LAH role but failed to defend the full fleet from savings options or decided to pay for the role equipment. Fairly standard stuff for the PR but no indication whatsoever that it had to be cost neutral ... ...... although that doesn't mean it wasn't. If it was a transfer then it is worth noting that 4 BRH didn't buy 8 LAH, it bought 8 sets of role equipment which is a big difference!
 

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#6
What will 657 be using?
The LAH role equipment of course! So my guess is that they'll be getting 8 cabs (6+2, 7+1?).

As for the rest I'd exect them to be managed in the same way that the RAF & AH do, i.e Sqns don't have dedicated aircraft. Instead they are resourced for a number of crews who are trained/kept current using a central pool of aircraft.
 
#9
thanks VG, bet you are right, can the 9a have a stores rail fitted?

The report says it is a variant of BRH though
No, its not a 9A. We have LAH variants of 9A and they are a completely separate entity to the Wildcat programme. There will be an LAH version of Wildcat AH1. Actual config hasn't been finalised yet.

Meridian. No, 9A cannot have 'stores rail' fitted. Despite us retro-fitting the NATO flange back on to Mk9s, its not able to carry stuff other than MX15. Not only that, 9A does not and probably never will have a SHOL (Ship Helicopter Operating Limitations) so that counts it out of the Lit-M role.

This Tribe; yep, big pool of aircraft as opposed to sqn ownership. One of the original aspirations was to pool all SCMR and BRH and it would be 'lucky dip' which aircraft you went training in (because of the fleet commonality). In reality, the SCMRs tend to have the left hand flying controls fitted only as role kit (Observer isnt clever enough to have sticks ;) ) and very doubtful the FAA would be happy for a pongo to take a radar equipped aircraft away just to do circuits at Merryfield. Good job they'll all be painted two tone grey though. At least the AH1's will have ARMY written in small letters on the side so everyone will know the AAC still operate them....on an RNAS.


'Wildcat. Yet again, the AAC will be flying the worlds best small naval aircraft'
 
#10
Whats the likelyhood of these LAH's being destined for the Navy?
As a practical alternative to embarking Apache
The way things are going, we'll be handing Apache to the Navy as well as getting them to man our Wildcat Sqns....

For the navy, quite a lot hangs on the approval of FASGW.
 
#11
What's the point of a Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopters when we have Apache in the ISTR role is there anything on rotary wing side other than the Sea Kings with AEW capacity
 
#12
What's the point of a Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopters when we have Apache in the ISTR role
Hmm, let me know when you have an answer.....

(Industry driving 'requirement and capability'?)


is there anything on rotary wing side other than the Sea Kings with AEW capacity

Yes. RN Wildcat would be an excellent battlefield ISTAR asset. Brilliant SAR. Plus it'll have some good weapons attached to it too. The RN Wildcat will be an awesome battlefield heli!

BTW, Apaches primary role isn't ISTAR. Its sort of been lumbered with it. Not a hugely efficient way of using that asset.
 
#13
Hmm, let me know when you have an answer.....

(Industry driving 'requirement and capability'?)
Ahh commanders and operators have been excluded from the discussions
 
#15
Ahh commanders and operators have been excluded from the discussions
No, Commanders and operators couldnt make their minds up so whilst that was happening, a decision was made anyway. Its not always industry's fault.

Yep, the 'Baggers'. Its a sad state of affairs when we still have to rely on a piece of Fleet hardware to cover the land battlespace. Any idea what will replace the Sea King ASaC7's?....
 
#16
No, Commanders and operators couldnt make their minds up so whilst that was happening, a decision was made anyway. Its not always industry's fault.

Yep, the 'Baggers'. Its a sad state of affairs when we still have to rely on a piece of Fleet hardware to cover the land battlespace. Any idea what will replace the Sea King ASaC7's?....
Probably a Glider Sqn that we will reserrect
 
#18
But won't Watchkeeper bring a rather modern SAR to the land ISTAR space

I wonder how much of the BRH jobs could be done by Watchkeeper, whatever the crabs get to replace Reaper and smaller UAV's like Desert Hawk?

If this is the case, wouldn't a more traditional utility type be better suited to the AAC than Wildcat

And isnt the uber wunder kid Sentinel supposed to provide the kind of SAR/GMTI imagery that the ASAC7's do?

Does any of this actually make sense :thumright:
 
#19
But won't Watchkeeper bring a rather modern SAR to the land ISTAR space

I wonder how much of the BRH jobs could be done by Watchkeeper, whatever the crabs get to replace Reaper and smaller UAV's like Desert Hawk?

If this is the case, wouldn't a more traditional utility type be better suited to the AAC than Wildcat



Does any of this actually make sense :thumright:
You have to remember we are looking at 'A war' and not 'The war'. I.e don't be lulled in to COIN type ops we've been engaging in for the past 10 years. BRH role is to support Apache in the 'conventional' style war or conflict. Thats what it was bought for (10+ years ago was when we started looking at a role). I have to say, as with many things, it's hugely political and a lot of slight of hand has been played purely to give us at least a bit of capability once current Lynx fall to bits and go out of service.

Watchkeeper and a lot of UAVs that we've been playing with for the past 10 years are great in current style ops but I have yet to see a successful low level (<100' agl) tactical UAV able to operate in an environment that would be considered 'conventional'. Man-in-the-loop is still by far the best bet at the moment.

Utility. Again, a highly political viewpoint. Going to the treasury to get a bag of dosh for a bit of capability means one has to justify what you are trying to buy. Chinook - lifts stuff, Apache - kills stuff. Utility? By definition, it's designed to be a flexible platform fulfilling quite a few vague areas. Quite hard to justify a pure utility asset. We know what utility is and what we want to use it for but quantifying a business case for it is very hard.

'What do you want all this money for?'
'Well, we want to be able to lift blokes with it'.
A. 'Use Chinook/Merlin'.

'Err, we want to use it to do recce and stuff'.
A. 'Use a vehicle or a UAV'

Umm, we want to occasionally kill stuff with it in an offensive manner'
A. 'Use Apache'

Of course, we all know that using a Chinook or Merlin to lift a few blokes isn't terribly efficient and we know that using an Apache with a Hellfire isn't the most cost effective way of taking out a rag-head on a Honda C90 and sticking poorly equipped vehicles on the ground in high threat areas aint particularly safe but, why should we actually look at history and make a sound decision based on that?


As I previously said, stick a variant of Seaspray 7000E and a bunch of LMM on Wildcat (Army) and you have quite a good cost effective gap filler that allows the other high value, expensive and scarce assets to crack on with their primary roles. It also means we dont run out of hours on those assets too....


If the RAF had been involved with procuring Wildcat, you can bet your arse their huge PR and Marketing division would have ensured it had every bell and whistle on it. A case in point being how they are still managing to justify Puma LEP!



And isnt the uber wunder kid Sentinel supposed to provide the kind of SAR/GMTI imagery that the ASAC7's do?
Yes.....until 2015 when we will throw it in the bin or sell it all to Ghana....
 

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