The grim Reaper

#4
Extremely innaccurate article. Wrong sqn number. Incorrect endurance. Incorrect assumptions about Nimrod.

However, Reaper is an exceptionally good bit of kit and we will hopefully be getting the funds for a few more.

One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#5
Magic_Mushroom said:
One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
Is that true?

Fuck me; is there a good reason why we shouldn't quit now?

Jeeeezus flipping Christ!
 
#6
Magic_Mushroom said:
Extremely innaccurate article. Wrong sqn number. Incorrect endurance. Incorrect assumptions about Nimrod.

However, Reaper is an exceptionally good bit of kit and we will hopefully be getting the funds for a few more.

One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
Typo on the Squadron - now corrected. Endurance is quoted with 2 x 1000lb auxiliary tanks, in surveillance mode.

See: http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/predator/

As to the assumptions on the Nimrod, accoding to the articles I cited, the Nimrods are fitted with MX-15 electro-optical turrets to provide "real time video feed" to ground commanders. The Reaper is tasked with exactly the same function. Why are the assumptions wrong?
 
#7
Endurance is such a difficult thing to quote and actually get anyone to agree on because it is a function of total fuel load, payload carried, drag if carrying external stores, speeds and altitudes etc

Suffice it to say, its a long time.
 
#8
cpunk said:
Magic_Mushroom said:
One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
Is that true?

Fuck me; is there a good reason why we shouldn't quit now?

Jeeeezus flipping Christ!
CP amigo - one of many reasons why some of us have quit ..........
 
#9
Magic_Mushroom said:
Extremely innaccurate article. Wrong sqn number. Incorrect endurance. Incorrect assumptions about Nimrod.

However, Reaper is an exceptionally good bit of kit and we will hopefully be getting the funds for a few more.

One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
Why doesn't that surprise me? Well done to the bugger who worked out that scam! I hope they paid at $2.10/£ as well!

Litotes
 
#10
Litotes said:
Magic_Mushroom said:
Extremely innaccurate article. Wrong sqn number. Incorrect endurance. Incorrect assumptions about Nimrod.

However, Reaper is an exceptionally good bit of kit and we will hopefully be getting the funds for a few more.

One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
Why doesn't that surprise me? Well done to the bugger who worked out that scam! I hope they paid at $2.10/£ as well!

Litotes
Good effort i say! In these days of penny pinching then every little thing helps!
 
#11
cpunk said:
Magic_Mushroom said:
One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

You couldn't make it up!

Regards,
MM
Is that true?

Fuck me; is there a good reason why we shouldn't quit now?

Jeeeezus flipping Christ!
Absolutely true I'm afraid. HM Treasury seems to relish making everything as difficult as possible for HM Forces.

Endurance is quoted with 2 x 1000lb auxiliary tanks, in surveillance mode.
Ah, it's on a website, so it must be true! :roll:

As to the assumptions on the Nimrod, accoding to the articles I cited, the Nimrods are fitted with MX-15 electro-optical turrets to provide "real time video feed" to ground commanders. The Reaper is tasked with exactly the same function. Why are the assumptions wrong?
Without wishing to sound patronising, I'm afraid if you don't know the answer to that, you don't need to know. However, as a basic point of physics, a Reaper transits at about 200kts. An MR2 can transit considerably faster. Afghanistan meanwhile is a big country. Think about it. Reaper can most certainly not take 'most' of the load from the MR2s.

While we're at it, ISTAR has been an accepted acronym now for well over 10 years. Oh and an MQ-9 does a very different role to a Canberra PR9. Other than that, a top article! :tp:



Regards,
MM
 
#12
Is this website run by Air Cadets or something?!!! There are some priceless gems in there. I especially like their suggestion that a defender can do the job of an MR2 over Afghanistan! :toilet:

Unbelievable!
 
#14
Magic_Mushroom said:
Without wishing to sound patronising...
Why stop when you're on a roll?

Magic_Mushroom said:
I'm afraid if you don't know the answer to that, you don't need to know. However, as a basic point of physics, a Reaper transits at about 200kts. An MR2 can transit considerably faster. Afghanistan meanwhile is a big country. Think about it. Reaper can most certainly not take 'most' of the load from the MR2s.

While we're at it, ISTAR has been an accepted acronym now for well over 10 years. Oh and an MQ-9 does a very different role to a Canberra PR9. Other than that, a top article!
There is another law of physics you may have heard of - that a material object cannot be in two places at the same time. Thus, if the requirement is to provide real time video feed to support ground operations, then it can only do so when it is actually orbiting that area. Endurance, rather than speed of transit then may be the more important issue.

And, while we're about it, since the Reaper does not have to transit from Oman, it does not have to waste time getting there in the first place.

As to ISTAR - you know that .. I know that. But I'm writing for a general audience, many of whom will not have met the term before. What's the big deal?
 
#15
Mr North,

When I first read the article, I didn't look at the name of the editor, and therefore didn't associate it with yourself. I perhaps therefore would have gone a bit easier on you at first, and I never seek to patronise. However, I will seek to counter such inaccurate articles robustly.

As a serving RAF aircrew officer who's flown operationally over Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I have first hand knowledge of the pros and cons of all of the assets you speak of. Last year, I also deployed as an LO with the Army in Iraq during which I flew on several MR2 trips. Having now trawled through some of you other articles, it is evident that you have a negligible understanding of the operational factors in the types of conflict we currently find ourselves embroiled.

There is another law of physics you may have heard of - that a material object cannot be in two places at the same time. Thus, if the requirement is to provide real time video feed to support ground operations, then it can only do so when it is actually orbiting that area. Endurance, rather than speed of transit then may be the more important issue.
This is true of the object in question, but not necessarily true of the effects which can be applied. The dynamic nature of modern operations dictates that speed of transit and endurance are of similar importance. Afghanistan is a very big country and UAVs such as Predator and Reaper, whilst being supremely useful in specific scenarios, are inflexible due to their very slow transit speed. They are also far more likely to be grounded, or be unable to maintain over the target area, due to weather in comparison to manned assets. Other issues surrounding UAVs are that they are manpower intensive to operate, and use precious bandwidth which is not always available.

Certainly in Iraq, the MR2 and manned FMV assets generally were the most sought after. Fast jet assets such as GR4, F-15E and Typhoon are particularly useful in this respect due to their ability to move around the battlespace rapidly and descend into threat envelopes for SoF or kinetic effects although they lack persistence. They will also often be conducting several tasks other than FMV. This and their agility around the battlespace bring benefits generally lacking with a UAV.

I notice elsewhere you advocate the use of light aircraft and D4K in place of assets such as the MR2. Whilst there will be other assets appearing soon to offset MR2s workload, this suggestion demonstrates a fundamental lack of appreciation regarding aircraft performance in 'hot and high' environments and the roles which such types conduct.

You also suggest we procure UH-1 or Mi-8 helos as a cheaper option to Merlin. Although in this respect an Mi-17 would be more realistic you obviously have no idea of the actual performance (as opposed to load) of such assets when compared with typical tasking in Iraq or Afghanistan. Disingenuously, you also state the cost merely for a basic airframe.

However, may I suggest you go and research the typical costs for such items as a MAWS, DIRCM, IRCM, secure comms and NVG/EO compatibility. These items are absolutely essential for a modern BH. Without them your helos, your helos crews, and the loads and personnel being carried by the helos will be vulnerable to attack or be unable to operate when required. Once you've added those essential systems, the price of an Mi-17 would not be much different to a Merlin, even less so when one considers whole life cycle costs of the more modern rotary assets such as Merlin and NH90.

Sadly Mr North, you appear to be one of those journalists who effectively demonstrate the old adage 'a little knowledge is dangerous'. With all due respect, there are quite literally 14 year old Air Cadets who I've seen demonstrate a better understanding of aircraft performance and modern operations than you do - consistently - in your articles. That is not meant to be a patronising comment. That is fact.

Therefore, it could be argued that you are part of the problem in engendering the very poor appreciation of what our Nation's military are currently engaged in. Your suggestions would reduce the effectiveness of our military. Your suggestions would hamper current Joint campaigns. Most importantly, your suggestions would cost lives.

I believe that you describe yourself as a political journalist in your profile. May I suggest that you therefore do one of 2 things:

a. Focus upon political issues.
b. Be professional enough to conduct research prior to writing on military subjects.

Best wishes,

MM
 
#16
Very well put M_M, theres nothing I can add on UAVs. To suggest COTS purchase of Russian BHs is hideously short-sighted, the costs over and above the initial purchase price would spiral out of control (a bit like buying an Audi TT with every available option). If anything we should have bought more CH47s instead of Merlin, but we need to buoy up Augusta Westland somehow :roll:
 
#17
Concur with the Chinny v Merlin debate. However, I must admit I was won over by Merlin in Iraq. It performed outstandingly and was extremely reliable, and it's probably a more suitable asset for the often forgotten CSAR/JPR task.

What we probably need to do is buy some more marinised HC3/3a to replace the jungly fleet so we can improve commonality both within JHC and with the RN ASW cabs.

Regards,
MM
 
#18
Corporal MM

Whilst I appreciate advice from any quarter, and tend to listen to it and most often act upon it after reflection, I sense the common tendency in your response of seeking to make an artificial distinction between "political" and "operational" issue - as if they were somehow in separate boxes. In the real world, however, the conduct of operations, and the procurement decisions that underpin them are intensely political, and cannot be separated.

One of the major problems, however, is that "disconnect" between the political and the operational animals, which means that political decisions are being made by people with poor understanding of operations, and vice versa. To that extent, your response is very helpful, as it does add something to the wider knowledge base, and gives much food for thought. But that said, I write my own posts on the basis of what I know and can find out, but in an assertive manner, which provokes responses. If I had not written my post, would you have written your response?

On the issues raised, you say you have trawled through some of my articles - but clearly not all of them: why should you? - but you then take me to task on UAVs, not least because of their heavy demand of bandwidth, which is not always available. Yet, I have written on precisely that point - referring to that as a limiting factor on the deployment of UAVs: see here. In being so keen to assert my ignorance, you display your own.

I have also written on the use of light turboprops such as the Super Tucano, which can also be fitted with electro-optical turrets to provide battlefield surveillance and, with their long endurance, they can provide continuous coverage. Plus, with short field, rough strip perfomance, they can often be based more locally, even taking off and landing on roads. Given that they cost considerably less than hig-performance fast jets, you can then build an alternative paradigm to that currently in vogue.

Essentially, you can afford more aircraft, based locally as needed able to spend longer over the battlefield and, in that context, intervene faster and repeatedly as necessary (your "persistence" factor). There are pros and cons to this, and the right answer is probably the availability of a mix of assets, wider than is at present available. But the fact that I am prepared to rehearse these arguments, and challenge the orthodoxy does no make me wrong, or badly researched.

Thus, on the question of Mi-8s (there is no official Mi-17 designation) we are actually talking about the Mi-8MTV which is the modified "hot and high" version, with westernised electronics and systems. It is currently being operated out in Afghanistan, by the military, including that Afghan Air Force, the Poles and others, and by several civilian operators, with whom I have met.

Some of these provide air lift support on contract for US special forces. As to load factors, the Merlin has the edge in some areas except that it has no edge at all at present - because it is not deployed. The Mi-8MTVs have been available and could have been in theatre last year, and could have provided valuable back-up support on logistics for our operations.

Similarly, the UH1s have far better "hot and high" perfomance than the Lynx helicopters, and are operated successfully by Canadians, US forces and, over the border by the Pakistan Air Force. They are not the total answer, but they are an option and one used by the British Army - specifically for the "hot and high" performance, in Belize and Brunei. No one has yet been able to tell me why, if the aircraft is suitable for those operations, why it cannot be used as a stop-gap in Afghanistan.

Thus, if you are going to have a debate, do me the favour of cutting out the rhetoric. You know more than me in some areas, and have easier access to some information than others. But I probably have some wider appreciation of some issue than you do. The need is to progress the argument and understanding. Your post did that, but we don't need the crap about Air Cadets and the dick-measuring.

Best wishes
 
#19
Richard,

TVM for your response. If I may answer your primary points systematically.

In the real world, however, the conduct of operations, and the procurement decisions that underpin them are intensely political, and cannot be separated.
I agree completely. I therefore do not understand quite why you advocate so many procurement options which are unpalatable to HMG. Realistically we will always be forced to purchase UK or European options when they are available (Merlin, Typhoon, MRA4 etc). Other than in small purchases, options such as Mi-8/17 are not going to happen.

My comments about Mi-8/17s (incidentally, the Mil website itself refers to the Mi-17) are that, whilst it may be suited to the tasks which the Poles and Afghans employ it, they are not involved in the meaty engagements sadly now so common for UK SH crews. They’d need considerable expense to bring them up to Merlin/Chinook/MH-60 standards.

You suggest that they could be in service rapidly. How? Where do you get the aircrew from? We have to engage in extensive trials to ensure that the defensive aids and comms and other avionics work as advertised. Just because other nations have ‘westernised’ avionics, does not mean that they are in anyway ready for coalition ops in a UK battlegroup.

Similarly, the UH1s have far better "hot and high" perfomance than the Lynx helicopters, and are operated successfully by Canadians, US forces and, over the border by the Pakistan Air Force. They are not the total answer, but they are an option and one used by the British Army - specifically for the "hot and high" performance, in Belize and Brunei. No one has yet been able to tell me why, if the aircraft is suitable for those operations, why it cannot be used as a stop-gap in Afghanistan.
Yep, Lynx helos are almost useless in Afghanistan. However, we’re not really short of those. What we really need is medium SH. The helos employed in Belize and Brunei are not UH-1s. They are Bell212s which lack defensive systems and have no realistic combat role. It would take considerable cash to bring them up to spec for ‘proper ops’. We don’t even have the cash to add defensive systems to RN Merlin, let alone types where no relevant trials or system design have been conducted. Added to this is the danger of creating an over complicated fleet of differing types. The associated logs/training/engineering issues this brings should not be underestimated. Finally, Merlin is not in Afghanistan because it’s on ops in Iraq.

I have also written on the use of light turboprops such as the Super Tucano, which can also be fitted with electro-optical turrets to provide battlefield surveillance and, with their long endurance, they can provide continuous coverage. Plus, with short field, rough strip perfomance, they can often be based more locally, even taking off and landing on roads. Given that they cost considerably less than hig-performance fast jets, you can then build an alternative paradigm to that currently in vogue.

Essentially, you can afford more aircraft, based locally as needed able to spend longer over the battlefield and, in that context, intervene faster and repeatedly as necessary (your "persistence" factor). There are pros and cons to this, and the right answer is probably the availability of a mix of assets, wider than is at present available. But the fact that I am prepared to rehearse these arguments, and challenge the orthodoxy does no make me wrong, or badly researched.
The purchase of large numbers of ‘cheap and cheerful’ assets such as Tucano or A-10 is regularly mooted but in reality is a false economy. May I ask where you’d propose establishing such ‘rough field’ strips? Quite aside from the fact that the ‘rough field’ performance of such assets actually still realistically requires some sort of metalled surface, how do you protect them? How do you supply them with fuel/spares/weapons? How do you defend them against IDF? How do you manage the C2/J6 factors of launching from ground alert?

You will very quickly find yourself in the self licking lollipop scenario of the majority of ground forces being in theatre to provide force protection and sweeping/reactivation of locations you don’t need. That is an extremely inefficient use of personnel and would fix land forces when they should be free to manoeuvre and not set patterns. That’s why the number of patrol houses in Afghanistan was reduced. That is why we moved out of Al Amarah. That is why we withdrew to the airfield at Basra.

However, let’s look at how we could utilise such assets. Individual battle group control of such assets will result in very inefficient use of Air Power where assets are held locally when they may well be required elsewhere. Even were we to pay for AAR and convert suitable assets to tank the Tucanos, their transit speed will again be a factor were ‘fast’ air to be required by NATO forces in the north. They also carry less ordinance than fast air or AH and would spend more time having to recover to be rearmed (even assuming you can resupply your strip). So you do achieve persistence. But at the cost of fixing large numbers of assets in difficult to defend/supply locations where C2/battlespace management will be complicated and reaction times for fires delayed. Conducting true ‘rough field’ ops by C-130 in such environments is immensely difficult and has resulted in the loss of several valuable aircraft. That is why even AH is rarely deployed down to such dispersed locations for any period.

Please do not think I don’t see utility for such assets as light turbo props. What I primarily took exception to was your assertions regarding light aircraft and D4K. Turbo props would potentially prove useful FAC types although they are arguably less survivable than the fast air and rotary types which currently fill such roles. However, the concept of numerous rough field strips is unsustainable.

By all means challenge orthodoxy. By all means provoke debate. That is healthy. But I think it is incumbent for journalists to do so in a manner where they are accurate and do not misrepresent information, whether by design or otherwise.

If a military officer made the suggestions you are doing, he would be described as wrong, and he would be described as poorly researched. Clearly, you’re not military.

However, if you make such assertive comments on a public forum and then encourage interaction on a website frequented by military professionals, you must expect to be kicked in the gonads of reality. 8)

I have the honour to be, Sir,
your obedient servant,
MM
 
#20
In the past the MoD,and other government deapartments had a special VAT No.I thing it was GD 050 or something similar,which meant that VAT on imports was accounted for,directly between Treasury and the Department concerned.So it was certainly,then,possible for the MoD to avoid VAT,if agreed with Treasury.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Civvy-Ginge Miscellaneous Jokes 0
Civvy-Ginge Miscellaneous Jokes 0
Civvy-Ginge Miscellaneous Jokes 0

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top