The Organic CAS debate

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by PartTimePongo, Jan 17, 2007.

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  1. Following on from the Apache and Marines thread, I've decided to spilt the topic, so the debate for and against 'Organic CAS' , whereby a det of 2 LAH's are maintained at Battalion level, and operated in close proximity to engaged troops, can be argued.

    The favoured Helicopter for such a role so far, is the McDonnel Douglas Defender 500 as operated by 160th SOAR, and the fabled 'little bird' of BHD fame.More nails then a very nailsy thing.

    Though I wonder if there is a case for an inexpensive lightweight utility Heli, still available in large numbers , which can carry a useful warload and still be used for small team insertion or Casevac in a hurry, and be 'organically' operated at Coy level?


    The Hughes H-6/MD500 series...
  2. Your dead right! But, if they can't afford Black Hawks, hpw about these at less than £1 million each?


    Mind you… Lt Gen Graeme Lamb doesn’t seem to have a problem getting a ride.

  3. I'm sure I recommended that very same Gentleman's conveyance previously Dr. North?

    And yes, I think they'd be cheap, available, and can be serviced and turned around at high speed without large investment in support facilities.

    The advantage of this Helo as I understand it, is it's very simplicity and ability to deliver a punch far above it's weight.

    For swift deployment of Fire Teams, and for then providing CAS on the sort of ops we're talking about, this Helo must be worthy of consideration?

    I should think? this Helo could be operated quite easily by Gazz. pilots?

    What say the AAC drivers, is it possible?
  4. [​IMG]

    The thing is that the Hughes/MD 500 is the helicopter equivalent of a Land Rover: cheap, cheerful and good at what it does but when you try to use it as a substitute for something else it won't work. WMIK isn't a substitute for something like LAV III and MD500 isn't a substitute for a WAH64 but you can bet it would get deployed as such because it's cheap.

    We'd end up with it overspecced, overbudget, late and too heavy to do the intended task.

    As shown in the pic it looks good to me though. Used as you probably intend I would have thought it could be useful but I would still see it at Bn level.

  5. We already have Lynx LBH - I guess this is more about what was immediately available at the time plus the factor that Apache has more armour and fire-power than a Lynx.

    I assume that the capability to strap people onto the stub wings was put into rescue downed Apache aircrew - any comments from AAC?
  6. I'm not suggesting it as a substitute for AH64

    I'm suggesting it, as an 'organic' CAS asset, tasked at Coy level, that can operate very closely to the FEBA and be turned around quickly. It can also do something AH64 can't, and that's to insert small fire teams very quickly where they're least expected. Something from reports, the Talib's are rather good at. :(

    I can see this being used in Fast CAS, Insertion, cut offs,and hot pursuit roles, as well as Casevac.

    It's a proven design, small, highly manoueverable, it's armament is nothing terribly exotic or ludicrously expensive, and the there are a lot of airframes about, so the unit cost should be a factor.

    The oft-stated case is, we haven't enough Helo's for the task. So lets get more, that deliver *shudder* value for money , as this seems to be the only phrase they understand in the Puzzle Palace.

    But as I say , I need the AAC lurkers to opine whether a small fast helo would be of use or not?
  7. PTP,

    I'm largely in agreement with you if you re-read what I wrote. My point is that MOD would try to deploy it as a substitute for a WAH64 because it's cheap. (think WMIK instead of a LAVIII type, Scimitar instead of Challenger, FV432 instead of warrior, saxon instead of anything useful etc etc.)
  8. A million each? You are being a little naive given the history of our dumb as fukc government. A decade later (for all the testing of an already tried and tested platform) and 1.4 billion a pop (erm.. just because thats how it works) and maybe we could get some.
  9. Ahhhhhhhh ok, with you now Ex.

    I see this as being parked in the same area as the WMIK's, under the direct control of the OC. MoD would see it as being available to chase all over Afghanistan?

    I really see this as dedicated Air support , as it's so cheap (relativly) to operate.

    Would be nice for the guys to have their WMIK patrols supported by heavily armed eyes-in-the-sky.
  10. Exactly.
  11. I think you are onto something there PTP. The US Military has been using this platform for a bit and i think it might give the UK Armed Forces another tool to bring to bear. It can be used for insertion,CAS, recce,interdiction, extractions and others. BlackHawk Down anybody?
  12. Only problem is HMG would want a 'European' solution rather than buy a tried , tested & proved in theatre piece of kit
  13. I don't know if Hughes 500 can fly at the high altitude and temperatures of AFG. The European market does have a tried and tested airframe, albeit rather old - this being the Allouette III. I believe the Indian army operates them
  14. The 500 is a nice machine for obs and recce, as was the Gazelle, but strapping MGs and free-flight rockets doesn't make it into an attack helicopter. Look at what happened to the two Gazelles lost at the start of the landings in the Falklands. Perspex won't stop small-arms.

    Allocating assets like helicopters down to Coy level is fraught with C&C difficulties, especially when there are so few assets and such high demand. The bean-counters won't give you more than you can justifiably make use of. You'd be spending an awful lot of flight-time shuttling between users.

    From what I can gather the boys on the ground went in with what they had available, and demonstrated commendable flexibilty in how they made use of what they had. I wonder if some staff whizz will write it into SOPs?
  15. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Allouette is an ancient bit of kit but can fly high. The 500's are a very sporty little number and would cost way less than a million each. Running costs are in the region of 350 per flying hour. Good crash survivability because of the egg shaped fusalage - tends to roll and not break up.

    A great idea for cheap and cheerful air support which is why it will never happen.