UK Helicopter News

Two stories from Janes

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.janes.com/article/32851/uk-considers-surrogate-helicopters-to-reduce-pilot-training-costs”] [browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.janes.com/article/32844/british-army-wants-ah-64e-apache-before-end-of-decade”]
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Derek
Derek
January 24, 2014 12:44 pm

I know that Gabriele is not popular here but he has written an excellent piece on all the details that came out of the conference where these statements were made. Far better than the IHS write-up.

As far as Apache upgrades go- good. Block III is where its at. It will be interesting to see if they keep the UK engines and whether there is further marinisation.

TED
TED
January 24, 2014 12:49 pm

Pleased to hear about 64E if it is to be a decent buy. Saying we dont need the 64 or whatever we have is bull. We need that to launch decent ops not just a few in a sandbox. Plus you the training. NO pilot will be able to get out of a EC120/130 and take off and fly the apache. They won’t even be able to turn it on. So this is one of those cases where changing the training aircraft wont help.

On the other hand they talk about our training requirements. I don’t get what they are saying abour a surrogate system. The MoD will undoubtebly be looking at glass cockpits as we have seen with even things like the tutor. Wildcat will be glass cockpit so one of the two airframes in the AAC will be glass cockpit whilst the other will be just another world! So that is no real surprise and the fleet does need an upgrade.

But the reason why helicopter training costs acount for 45% of their budget is because helicopters are expensive to run. I doubt the include the figures for feeding and watering the troops here. For an excercise you might want a few troops to stage a dummy attack on some place. Pretty cheap, however for a helicopter training sortie your looking at the cost of the instructor, the fuel, the maintenance and the time. I don’t see what his issue is hes acknowledged that the low incident record is due to the hands on training but he wants to reduce costs. Is he saying less trainging because of costs because that would be a huge no no.

I suspect we will see a new light single with a glass cockpit. (other questions are how much room do you need in the back? can you cope with none or do you need a bit?) And as is the trend at the moment more simulators.

Simon257
Simon257
January 24, 2014 1:35 pm

Is this not the same system that BAE offers in the Hawk? Air forces Monthly had an article on the Hawk last year. Basically if your main aircraft is say the Typhoon, you can get an App, that has the cockpit screen of that aircraft. So making training easier and it is a lot cheaper flying the Hawk than your Typhoon. If you operate a two type fleet, today the Hawk is set for the Typhoon, tomorrow it is set up as the F35 and so on.

But what helicopter out there, is their than offers this.

x
x
January 24, 2014 1:36 pm

Wow 45%. How much of that is attributable to AH? I can’t remember but does Army pick up Chinook costs too?

Apache isn’t worth it on those numbers.

Or you could look at it another way. Look how many Lynx/Wildcat the AAC operate, look how many hulls in the escort fleet, and I would humbly that RN not operating two airframes (of a large size but not Merlin size) per escort is a definite waste.

45% wow. Definitely a number to conjure with before any of you post that moving a footborne section/multiple by air in a vehicle that for the cost could outfit a company with modern APC is the be all and end all mechanized manoeuvre.

EDIT: Back in the olden days didn’t RAF stations often have a “station hack” ?

Rocket Banana
January 24, 2014 2:21 pm

British Army want AH-64E…

Then show a picture of it being operated off a Royal Navy assault ship designed with the Royal Marines in mind, because that’s the only way they get to do anything useful :-)

The Other Chris
January 24, 2014 4:01 pm

With regards APC’s and ilk, even the “airmobile” nature of Vietnam spawned a significant post-mortem rebuke:

“We should have done less flittin’ and more sittin’.”
– LtGen. J. Norton

I’m sure there’s a happy medium somewhere.

As for Block III and marinisation… if you’re trying to shoehorn the AH1 into marine operations, would the AH-1Z Viper be a better fit (from a capability angle) for the UK going forward? Or does the existing helicopter fleet roster work for us?

Ace Rimmer
January 24, 2014 5:16 pm

Looking at cheaper helicopters, there’s always smaller piston types from the likes of Enstrom and Schweizer. I believe there’s an element of snobbery in having something Gucci looking on the flight line, “Enstrom? Urggh, where’s my EC135?” I’m sure the Turkish armed forces use the Robinson R44.

I believe its the same with the police, many forces use the EC145 or MD900, which are truly excellent aircraft, however, for just carrying a three man crew for observation and traffic duties seems something like overkill when an AS355 will do. I’m sure the twin engine rating is required just for operating over cities, despite the fact that one engine alone probably lacks the power for sustained flight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocopter_EC145
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MD_Helicopters_MD_Explorer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocopter_AS355

TED
TED
January 24, 2014 5:21 pm

On further reading it says 45% for total army running costs. Not surprising as they rely on helicopters to move troops, utility roles and for close air support.

@TD no but I would have liked to see them using the same number of apaches and seconding an amount to the RM for a dedicated RM AH. But that does require them being some what marinised.

With regard apps for cockpits, that is all very well but you still need training time in the actual aircraft. At best this just removes the conversion to the instruments of the new type. And tbh simulators can do this quite well with a comparatively minute investment.

Is AH1z the way to go? I don’t think so. We currently have apache in service. How often does the MoD say you know what lets not simply upgrade these airframes, lets sell them off to recoup some of the cash and buy another type. Viper has quite narrow skids anyway and you would require hardware on board any of our ships for moving helicopters with skids. Plus we already have the pilots trained to fly the block 1 version of apache so you don’t need to send all your pilots off to learn how to fly a completely new aircraft.

Ace Rimmer
January 24, 2014 5:32 pm

As for the AH-64E, I was surprised that a replacement airframe was mentioned as opposed to just an upgrade of the D variant. Do we have the money for this? Also, given the fact we don’t need a full complement of 66, could we not upgrade a few for export as AW still offer the WAH-64D on their website?

TOC, for dedicated marine ops, I like the idea of the AH-1Z also, although I feel the lack of a radar to be a stepback in capability. Longbow can be fitted to AH-1W apparently, but you also lose a weapons station to achieve it, not an ideal compromise. Alternatively, a Hellfire (or similar) armed MH-60S could offer a stable platform with troop carrying/cargo lift capability in an emergency, as opposed to a dedicated weapons platform.

Phil
January 24, 2014 7:03 pm

What makes Apache such a god bit of kit is that it is useful for almost the entire spectrum of operations the Army engages in. From peace-keeping to COIN to heavy peer-warfare it just keeps on giving. So its not niche kit, its about as versatile a bit of equipment as you can hope for. Well worth it and I think the Army sees it clearly. Yes something lighter might have worked just as well in Afghan but then you don’t get the heavy warfighting capability. You get what you pay for.

Mark
Mark
January 24, 2014 8:45 pm

Sound like an order for the aw169 will be following shortly then. It only really makes sense though if all helicopters used by the military outside of chinook,Merlin, wildcat and puma are replaced by the same machine.

Apache only logical decision.

Obsvr
Obsvr
January 25, 2014 4:01 am

IIRC a year or so ago MoD released Apache flying costs, it may have been in answer to a PQ. Apache was slightly more expensive (approx 10%) per hour than Tornado.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 12:22 pm

‘Then show a picture of it being operated off a Royal Navy assault ship designed with the Royal Marines in mind, because that’s the only way they get to do anything useful :-)’

How come every thread turns into an equipment grab for the navy? ;-)

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
January 25, 2014 2:22 pm

As I understand it AH-64 is significantly better than AH-1, even in the naval role, when the US Army changed over from AH-1 to AH-64 the USMC also wanted to switch aircraft but were denied funding by congress and instead the USMC had to go with an upgrade program instead.

The US doesn’t always have the best kit for the role, so I don’t think we should just assume that as the USMC use AH-1 it is the best, and anyway the naval role is still by far in the minority and even then they are operating against land targets.

If we were able to design in further marinised aspects we could possibly then offer this design as an export option , I could see this being popular among nations which want a single airframe for both their land and sea operations.

Rocket Banana
January 25, 2014 3:37 pm

David Niven,

“Equipment grab”, “equipment grab”, you say…

More like a “please use our overpriced asset so that we can defend its existence in future budget cuts” from the British Army.

:-)

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 25, 2014 4:05 pm

https://paultonspark.co.uk/ride/miss-rabbits-helicopter-flight

That’s the cheap pilot training sorted.

Nothing is certain around UK Apache. The brigadier JHC may want new Apache, but he’s clear that it is only a hope.

Considering those whopping running costs, it will be a tough sell for the Army to get the nod from the treasury. There will be substantial savings to be had from cutting a helicopter type, and I bet that Wildcat with Hellfire and LMM looks pretty good on the chancellor’s spreadsheet.

We won’t see Viper, or any other helicopter, introduced if the government pulls the plug on Apache. Wildcat is what they already have, and I expect the Army could get a few more for its unwilling sacrifice of Apache.

It’s up to the Army to make the case for Apache; but depending on your reading of the UK’s potential threats from 2020 onwards, Apache is either an absolutely essential weapon system for fighting both infantry and armour, or the most extravagantly expensive way possible to blow up 250cc Kawazukis.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 4:34 pm

‘More like a “please use our overpriced asset so that we can defend its existence in future budget cuts” from the British Army.’

See now we’ve got back on to the carriers! I thought this blog tries to deal with defence issues on the whole and is not biased towards one service ;-)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 5:02 pm

Slowly but surely I think your efforts are bearing fruit TD :-)

Brian Black,

I’ve never thought the Wildcat was a good choice for the army, it has no real carrying capacity and to the accountants looks like a cheap gunship. I think as a military utility helicopter its design has been overtaken by requirements/events. We need a Blackhawk/NH 90 size helicopter to replace lynx and Puma in the future, capable of carrying weapons for escort/light gunship roles and a decent enough load to be truly useful.

I fear you may be right and the Wildcat will end up sidelining the Apache.

Mark
Mark
January 25, 2014 5:07 pm

If were building new apache fuselages then the corrosion protection for navy operations can be build in from the beginning. Other modifications could happen at the same time.

Think that would be the aw149 david

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 5:10 pm

‘Think that would be the aw149 david’

Yeah anything in that weight/size range. Two airframe fleet of Apache and …… (insert your choice) after the Pumas are retired.

TED
TED
January 25, 2014 5:56 pm

Ive said before that Wildcat should be a RN helicopter maybe doing a tiny bit of gunship work for the RM but I would prefer even 4 Apache. Add a dipping sonar to the Wildcat and you have your self the perfect frigate/destroyer helicopter.

For the army its crud. Why take a state of the art aircraft and use it to look at tanks and move around small amounts of troops. They could have a cheaper easier to run and probably better aircraft. Sharing the procurement of aircraft looks good on paper its what the airframe turns out as that you have to be scared of.

Schweizer, maybe why don’t we use these for basic training. BUt we need a glass cockpit version. Certainly I think you could have just 2 seats in whatever type you pick.

With regard police ops there is no set need for twin engine but its always nice to have. You would be surprised how much weight they do have to carry (nightsun, flir, operator console, not to mention 3 blokes who spend a lot of their time drinking tea and eating biscuits.) So police ops aren’t always about being gucci i.e. D&C 145 is a good size as it has to pick up lost people on dartmoor/exmoor. So the Police aren’t necessarily guilty of having the Gucci kit, well other than the met.

The Military, well decide for yourselves. It would be nice to have commonality between the training a/c and the operational one like with the gazelle but it depends on costs. My money would be on eurocopter here I don’t even think AW do a single engine.

Peter Elliott
January 25, 2014 6:21 pm

Where are we up to with deliveries of the Army Wildcat? Is there still the opportunity to trade it away for something bigger?

If not then we are probably stuck with it. The RN won’t have the budget to crew an increased rotary fleet, even if they might welcome the flexibility the extra cabs would bring. The ability to put 2 onbard T45, and free up some of the Merlins for a decent sized QE Crowsnest and ASW flight.

Don’t think we would store them either (which is a pity from a RN Contingency point of view) becuase I bet secure warm storage with ongoing light maintenance is not actually that cheap either.

So they would have to be sold off cheap if the Army Armed Medium Utility ‘copter ever comes into being. Not saying it won’t happen. But maybe not to be talked about publically until it actually does…

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 6:34 pm

In all honesty we could take a breath and weigh up our options now Herrick is drawing to close. Maybe combine replacing Lynx and Puma within the same time frame when they come to the end of their life, after all both Lynx and Puma have been upgraded with new engines and I don’t think we really missed not having Lynx always available on Herrick.

But it is no doubt a political as well as a military decision to buy Wildcat, I just hope we don’t lose Apache for it then we will be back to the same Helicopter fleet as the 90’s.

Ref training, I think it’s a sensible move, and if we can contract out to a civvy firm that would be even better.

Mark
Mark
January 25, 2014 6:58 pm

Eurocopter don’t exist anymore its airbus helicopters now! :)

Only one snag there ted the requirement for rear crew training and air door gunnery training so I don’t think you could do that in a single engine type. I think its unlikely that we will buy from someone other than aw. Though I think the aw139 has changed the philosophy of aw for the better in there helicopter line up and future development trends. Though the bell griffin we use probably fits the bill if old.

If thru life costs are areas of concern with helicopter operations then future requirement setters will have to look to leverage civil designs and temper there demand for bespoke requirements along with type reduction.

dave haine
dave haine
January 25, 2014 7:30 pm

@ TED

With regard to police operations, there is a set need for twin engines:

According to the Air Navigation Order 2005, the “congested area” in relation to a city, town or settlement, means any area which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes. While most of that may be obvious, it is often forgotten that an area within the boundaries of any such city, town or settlement which is used for recreational purposes forms part of the congested area. The pilot of any aircraft (except helicopters which have their own rules) must be able to alight clear of the whole congested area in the event of failure of a power unit. What might appear from above to be a possible suitable emergency landing field in the middle of a town will almost certainly be substantially used for recreational purposes, as will stretches of water. Which basically forbids dropping onto a public park.

Helicopters are only allowed on certain prescriptive routes, from which twin-engined aircraft are allowed to depart, at certain heights. So as well as having the weight, it also means that they can clatter about all over a conurbation, without asking the CAA for an exemption every time.

TED
TED
January 25, 2014 8:55 pm

@Mark I know. What do we call an EC135 then?
Yes I did think about crew training but why have squirrel and griifin when you could have a small twin seat single (not a robinson for christ sakes.)

@Dave Haine Apologies managed to get confused between twin engine and twin pilot (impressive really.) But the rest still stands :)

@David Niven We didn’t miss the lynx on herrick originally as it could not fly in the day. If we lost Apache for Wildcat it would be absolutely criminal.

@All as someone pointed out on another thread, loads of nations use lynx in its naval role but only we use it in a ‘gunship’ role. An AW109 LUH can carry the same amount of passengers as wildcat. So if you want a light battlefield utility helicopter and reconnaissance helicopter heres your man. Personally I would get the A139M to replace as someone said lynx and puma in the AC role at the same time.

The brochure for the wildcat states it has dipping sonar do we not get this?

TAS
TAS
January 25, 2014 10:32 pm

There must have been some justification for the acquisition of Wildcat for the Army. My understanding from our affiliated RAF Squadron is that the life extension of the Puma was a stroke of genius – the right sized airframe given a thorough overhaul and increase in service life for a relative pittance. Lynx has always been a small helicopter and must surely fulfil a valid battlefield role. There is much opposition to it here – but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice.

The AW149 is a new one to me but looks promising as a possible Puma replacement in due course. As always though, the replacement will be an order of magnitude (or more) more complex and thus more expensive. So far as possible the new medium lift aircraft needs to be affordable – which doesn’t leave many options.

TED
TED
January 25, 2014 10:45 pm

@TAS “There must have been some justification for the acquisition of Wildcat for the Army.” I truly hope so. Puma HC2 works for me but only for sort of 10 years!

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 10:57 pm

‘There must have been some justification for the acquisition of Wildcat for the Army’

From Wiki:The Future Lynx project originated in two studies in 2002 to determine the suitability of a derivative of the Super Lynx 300 to replace the existing Lynx helicopters of the Royal Navy and British Army. These requirements were known as the Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft (SCMR) and Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH) programmes, respectively.[3] The utility transport aspect of the BLUH requirement was subsequently de-emphasised and the programme renamed Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter (BRH)

The problems of Herrick were not known when the acquisition started, although after the lessons learned were that we did not really miss Lynx, due to being able to do the role with other assets but we needed to scavenge aircraft from other countries and find ways of getting more availability from the support helicopter fleet I thought that the Army would have reassessed its requirement. They are due to enter service this year with the Army so there’s no hope of changing the situation.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
January 25, 2014 11:25 pm

If the Army goes for the full Block III update then we will lose the Longbow radar as it will be replaced by a data link allowing it to communicate and control UAVs and UCAVs as that is where the US Army is heading. As for replacing the fuselage, this is a really good idea as we have been working our Apache fleet to death over the last decade and the improvements are needed and based on feedback from the operators. The replacement is one of the central part of the upgrade with the new fuselages being built in South Korea. Given the usefullness of the Apache I would put the Block III upgrade near if not at the top of the Army’s procurement plans even at the expense of other programmes such as FRES(SV) or the Warrior upgrade.

Turning to maritime Ops, rather than marinise the Apache I would prefer to see the capabilities of the Navy’s Wildcats expanded to include Hellfire, CVR-7 and Gunpods. This expansion shouldn’t be too complicated and would give a rotary support capability up to the job at substantially less cost, and with more flexibility. In fact I would go as far as to recommend that the Army’s Wildcats are also marinised so that both varieties can operate off ships so a T-26 could carry both an armed and a utility Wildcat as an option.

TAS
TAS
January 25, 2014 11:30 pm

David, thanks although I was already well aware of the origin programmes and frankly I wouldn’t want to change the requirement. Wildcat is a good aircraft, better engines, decent EOD, lower maintenance requirements and a capable weapons fit in the offing. Surely this must have some value – after all, there is a huge range of tasking that ground forces are asked to undertake and there must be a place for Wildcat, Apache and the support helicopters? I refuse to believe it is a wasted acquisition.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 11:39 pm

It’s not wasted entirely we could keep them with the reaction Bde’s but wether the RM and Paras will agree is a different matter. Time has moved on and we found ourselves needing different requirements after some experience in a shooting war where helicopters were fundamental to the campaign. But now the money has been spent so will the money be forthcoming to upgrade Apache, I fear it won’t and we will be forced to use Wildcat in the role.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 25, 2014 11:46 pm

You’re not wrong TD and might I add some job creation for ex ministers/civil servants and generals in this country too :-)

Mark
Mark
January 25, 2014 11:56 pm

TED

I don’t think there’s room for a single engined helicopter any more small twin engine aircraft should be the training fleet and for this “new” cheap training aircraft.

TAS

Puma yes you can transport it round easily (minimal dismantling for c17 transport ect) and the new upgrade has learned lessons from afghan for hot and high performance requirements and it was cheap to do. Should never have happened though not a fan of the puma, its a helicopter that is quite susceptible to dynamic roll over. Should have been replaced by a modern equivalent.

Repulse
January 26, 2014 9:48 am

TD: “Wildcat, … the finest Anti Submarine helicopter” without a dipping sonar…

Perhaps this enforces the approach of moving the Army Wilcats to the Navy (and integrating a proper ASW package) as part of a SSN / UAV / MPA lite package, freeing up cash for the Apache upgrade…

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 11:03 am

But what would the Navy be willing to sacrifice to take up the running and crewing costs of 30 more Wildcats?

wf
wf
January 26, 2014 12:54 pm

@DavidNiven: obviously all those unnecessary Merlin’s :-)

It does seem a bit silly to have two types of ASW helicopter when everyone else in the world makes do with one H60 sized one. Mark it down to industrial policy and military blindness when it was decided that a) Westlands needed to make a “Sea King replacement” for which thousands of orders would be forthcoming, many from the North Sea oil community who supposedly required three engines for safety reasons and b) the RN decided they needed the same.

If only we had just license produced the H60, just like we did the Wessex, the Sea King….

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 1:44 pm


Yeah if the navy thinks it could live without the merlin, I presume you would still need a few for crowsnest but could we use the folding blades etc to modify the merlins going to the helicopter commando force?

@Td
Has that not been the case since the westland affair? :-)

TAS
TAS
January 26, 2014 1:48 pm

TD, wf, Repulse, David,

Hang on a minute fellas. Suddenly the Navy Wildcat is in the crosshairs? Sorry, no – we got our bid right thank you! Wildcat would not be capable as a dipping helicopter because it doesn’t have the endurance. How many navies operate dipping Lynxes today? The Dutch – and that’s about it. Lynx doesn’t have the mission system or the sonobuoy capacity either. Merlin has at least twice the endurance plus the equipment. They evolved from very different requirements and will always be very different. Lynx is a potent anti-surface aircraft, ideal for force protection, boardings, maritime sniper and maritime attack, as well as being able to conduct weapon carrier duties in ASW. Merlin is a slow, unmanoeuverable bus – but it has the kit, the range and the endurance.

I think we have it right – the specialised ASW aircraft and the small fast multi-purpose attack helo. We can pick and choose what we need. I think reverting to a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none like the Seahawk is a mistake. Does Seahawk have the role flexibility of Lynx? Maybe – but it’s much bigger and much more expensive.

Yes, the Navy could do with a few more airframes – because the introduction of Wildcat has cut Lynx numbers yet again. But we would not sacrifice anything to get them – if the Army failed to update and correct its battlefield helicopter requirements then that’s their problem, not ours.

wf
wf
January 26, 2014 2:11 pm

@TAS: you are of course correct, I was making a joke. My point still holds, however: in an ideal world, there wouldn’t be two different airframe types, and the Merlin is a very expensive way of getting the endurance, which is why it sold sod all outside the home customers.

However, we are where we are, and will have to deal with it. Frankly I see more requirements for the Wildcat in the Army and RM, seeing as it can’t lift much or do much in the way of ASW. A pair of Firescout’s on a frigate doing ASW would be a lot cheaper, while the Army could still use the ability to lift a fire team plus for CASEVAC , liason and patrol. Yes, I know the MERT won’t fit in it, but a pair of Wildcat with their own CRV7 and door gunners seems like a better solution than a single Chinook, like the way the USAF uses pairs of H60.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 2:14 pm

@TAS,

Calm down my exact phrase was ‘Yeah if the navy thinks it could live without the merlin’.If they can’t then fine.

But I will question ‘if the Army failed to update and correct its battlefield helicopter requirements then that’s their problem, not ours’.
The Army are getting Wildcat precisely because the Navy are.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 2:30 pm

Whats the point in just lifting a fireteam? that’s at least 8 airframes for a platoon when Puma can do it with 4.

The reason the Americans use 2 H60 is that they do not have doctors, anethiatist etc on board like our MERT but just a paramedic,they will however enter a hot landing zone with the second H60 providing cover, while the MERT prefers to stand back a bit. The PEDROS do have cutting equipment for vehicle extraction though, and its on the advice of the call sign calling for the extraction that a decision to send whichever of the two is taken. They compliment each other nicely in Afghan.

as
as
January 26, 2014 4:24 pm

Westland did have a license for the Sikorsky/Westland S-70-19 Black Hawk also called the WS-70.
But at that time there was no interest in replacing the Lynx.
It was for sale from 1987-1991 for Middle Eastern customers and the gulf war killed off any chance of production.
http://history.whl.co.uk/ws70_blackhawk.html

There was also an S-70A-16 Black Hawk engine test bed for the Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM 332.

Phil
January 26, 2014 4:47 pm

while the MERT prefers to stand back a bit.

That’s a negative I can say that for certain.

Yes, I know the MERT won’t fit in it, but a pair of Wildcat with their own CRV7 and door gunners seems like a better solution than a single Chinook

Why is a better solution? The MERT is a far more capable CASEVAC unit and can fly faster than its escorts. The thing is a rocket in the sky and can drop into an HLS like a meteor.

PEDRO provides less capability in every sense than a Chinoook MERT and the reason there’s two is so one can cover the other and they are nothing like as effective as an Apache.

If you can afford a decent medical evacuation Chinook / MERT + Apache is gold standard.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 4:51 pm

‘while the MERT prefers to stand back a bit’

They do its their way of working, if you can be stabilised enough for a short trek they prefer it. But if your in real clip then they will land with the ramp at your head, and I can also say that for certain.

Phil
January 26, 2014 4:55 pm

Prefer makes it sound like they won’t. But we seem to agree that they come in.

It depends on how the CASEVAC chain is organised on the ground. Some units would keep their medical personnel relatively central and so casualties were brought back by default to just behind the FLET.

PEDRO would get tasked with Cat Bs and Cs usually or LN casualties. MERT for Cat As.

Mark
Mark
January 26, 2014 5:12 pm

I think the mert and indeed the csar capability is something the uk should look at bring in full time there both similar but different the pave hawks are really for the csar task, I would like to think it could be keep as platform agnostic as possible so it could be used by any of the main helicopter platforms. To be honest puma would probably make the most sense from a deployable aspect you could lump in with a disaster relief tasking but chinook especially with aar capability is without equal.

Is lynx capable of taking a stretcher I always though it wasn’t quite wide enough and you had to do some manhandling to turn the stretcher round?

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 5:13 pm

PEDRO would get tasked with Cat Bs and Cs usually or LN casualties. MERT for Cat As.

Yeah plus the PEDRO would get tasked if some poor bastard was trapped in a vehicle. I didn’t mean to make it sound like the MERT wouldn’t come straight in if they needed to, I have got a lot of respect for the crews. What they sometimes risk to get people out is awe inspiring especially considering some of them are reservists. :-)

From what I’ve seen over the years, from different tours I think the Army and RAF have finally got their heads around this jointness stuff, I think the jury is still out with the Navy.

wf
wf
January 26, 2014 5:16 pm

@DavidNiven: when I say fire team plus, I’m talking about recce patrols, FOO teams, etc. If you wanted a company lift, you’d ask for Chinook or Puma.

: Chinook and Apache may well be gold standard, but at the rate things are going gold may well not be available. There won’t be enough of them. BTW, the US use dedicated H60’s for casevac, so the smaller helicopters are still useful…

Phil
January 26, 2014 5:18 pm

Chinook and Apache may well be gold standard, but at the rate things are going gold may well not be available.

They’re the two most numerous helicopter types in service.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 5:21 pm

But that’s the point we have not got enough of them, we have instead got Wildcat.And H60’s are bigger than Wildcat.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 5:28 pm

Why is Chinook and Apache gold standard? why can’t they be just standard?

The MERT is an evolution from the ERT which were used in the Balkans, they were carried by a Sea King and had on board a doctor, paramedic,RE EOD team and dog handler.

So it’s not as if everyone’s got spendthrift for Herrick.

Phil
January 26, 2014 5:41 pm

It’s gold standard because it’s not always the appropriate treatment or evacuation option. It’s the best but resource intensive.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 5:54 pm

Yeah Phil I know what gold standard means. What I meant was you can cut costs on everything but medical facilities, when it comes to trauma care there is no such thing as fitted for but not with.

We both know the MERT does not get crashed for every casualty, but we still need the MERT and the Chinook is the more appropriate airframe to carry it. I would not like to be folding seriously ill blokes into the back of Wildcat where a medic has no room to properly work on them. So as for wf saying that they will do, yes to a very small point they will, but anything more serious or painfull than a gunshot wound to the buttocks you need something bigger.

jed
jed
January 26, 2014 6:10 pm

ref: The Army are getting Wildcat precisely because the Navy are

Rm’ no, not really ! The Army are saddled with Wildcat because the “cold war” era plan was for a Light Battlefield Recce helo to do armed scouting for the Apache, echoing the use of the OH58D in the U.S. Army. This meant the 100 airframe plus anti-tank force of TOW equipped Lynx AH1 (later AH7) would be rebuilt / modernised into a new role to support the newly acquired Apache.

Original versions of Westland art work even had a mast mounted optronics sensor and a chin mounted .50 cal MG. It has been a long and very drawn out program, and yes it may well have just got the chop at some point if were not for the politics of Westland and Yeovil, defence industrial strategy, old boys networks and corruption, but be that as it may, the Army is not “saddled with” Wildcat because of RN requirements, far from it !

By the way Army Wildcat’s don’t need to be “marinerised”, they are pretty much identical to RN Wildcat’s as far as airframe, core avionics, engines and dynamic systems – the differences are largely in the details (e.g. Army version not have radome etc).

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 6:29 pm

So commonality has nothing to do with? the utility part of the specification for the Army was reduced, was that to fit the specs to the airframe rather than finding an airframe that can do the required specifications?

There’s plenty of other options out there that are cheaper if all you want is battlefield recce helicopter.

x
x
January 26, 2014 7:13 pm

@ DavidNiven

Commonality of parts. Apache well more strictly speaking the Lynx attack helicopter replacement programme didn’t begin until 1993/4 when the Cold War was already disappearing into the rear view mirror. Lynx had worked well for both the Army and the RN. Shuffling numbers down due to lack of threat, scrapping Gazelle, but with need still for a liaison, medivac, and observation platform etc, and the logic course of action was to replace Lynx with one type for both services. Low RN numbers due to a much smaller fleet. Imagine RN Wildcat procurement figures if we still had the 50 or so escorts we had in 1990. We are 25 years on nearly from the end of the Cold War.

Phil
January 26, 2014 7:33 pm

@DN

What I mean is it is not and will not always be appropriate to send such specialist medical assets that far forward. The MERT has assets that take 10-15 years to produce and there’s not many more of them than Chinook airframes. Chinooks is gold standard for its ease of loading, speed and space.

In Afghan it’s fine – in an Iraqi invasion again it would be better to bring them back to centralised care using the more traditional medical laydown in a lot of cases. You do the most for the most you can and having a field surgical team in a central place may mean they can do more for more people than flying them into the thick of it.

TAS
TAS
January 26, 2014 7:51 pm

David,

Careful with that assessment of jointness. The RAF and the Army have built up an excellent working partnership as a result of their operations in Afghanistan. Rightly so – what they have failed to do is bring the Navy into their new ways of working. The RN has always been joint. We have a significant presence in PJHQ, embedded troops, a great working relationship with a number of Army regiments and for years have had RAF pilots embedded everywhere, not to mention the tight links between UK Air Defence and our air warfare destroyers, the Nimrod MPA community and the Harrier community. Plus we routinely deploy ships with both RAF and AAC helicopters embarked. So I think you are wrong – the RN does understand jointery – and I would argue we understand it better than the other two Services on average. I’m sure I’m not alone in that assessment.

It’s almost unheard of to find a crab or pongo serving on a ship. But it’s routine to find a matelot in combats in Afghanistan. That to me says it all.

Phil
January 26, 2014 7:54 pm

It’s almost unheard of to find a crab or pongo serving on a ship. But it’s routine to find a matelot in combats in Afghanistan. That to me says it all.

Sure does. It shows where the focus of present day operations are.

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 26, 2014 8:10 pm

Lord Jim, ” If the Army goes for the full Block III update then we will lose the Longbow radar…”

Boeing, and Lockheed (who make Longbow) both think there is an AH-64E Apache Longbow. As do the Koreans, who have paid for some.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 8:13 pm

I understand, what I’m failing to say is, that yes in a large scale invasion you have to use your assets the most effective way you can, but when it comes to equipping those assets you do not scrimp. If it is found that a medic with the forward troops could do with a certain piece of kit you acquire it for them. After all there’s only so much jingoism that will make blokes constantly go out and do the job, but if they know that when it goes pear shaped they will get the best treatment that we can give/offer regardless then that makes a big difference. Like I said save money on tyres, oil etc not trauma care.

@TAS

I’m only going off my own experience and from what I read on this Blog, if in reality its different then I apologise in advance but I’m yet to be convinced.

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 26, 2014 8:25 pm

TAS,

“Plus we routinely deploy ships with both RAF and AAC helicopters embarked.”

“It’s almost unheard of to find a crab or pongo serving on a ship”

Routine, or unheard of?

x
x
January 26, 2014 8:27 pm

“The RAF and the Army have built up an excellent working partnership as a result of their operations in Afghanistan. ”

Shame they couldn’t manage the same during Op Banner. Remind me again who was the preferred airline in Bandit Country?

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 26, 2014 8:30 pm

Lord Jim, ” If the Army goes for the full Block III update then we will lose the Longbow radar”

There is an AH-64E Apache Longbow according to Boeing, and Lockheed (who make Longbow). The Koreans are buying E Longbow.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 8:31 pm

@x

Shame they couldn’t manage the same during Op Banner. Remind me again who was the preferred airline in Bandit Country?

Yes your right x, but times have changed along with attitudes and both have changed for the better.

TAS
TAS
January 26, 2014 8:44 pm

Phil,

Okay – where is the focus going to be after HERRICK closes down?

David,

Hopefully I and others can convince you of the facts but honestly, we do get it.

Brian,

My point is that we rarely see the other two on anything other than an amphib or aircraft carrier when they are embarked doing their own jobs rather than an exchange. There’s very little evidence of cross-Service exchange into the RN – it always seems to be RN into the other services.

Phil
January 26, 2014 8:58 pm

Okay – where is the focus going to be after HERRICK closes down?

Same places it overwhelmingly has since 1945 – land and air.

Dunservin
Dunservin
January 26, 2014 9:12 pm

“Okay – where is the focus going to be after HERRICK closes down?”

“Same places it overwhelmingly has since 1945 – land and air.”

Ah yes. Barracks and RAF stations dotted around the UK. ;-)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 26, 2014 9:18 pm

‘Ah yes. Barracks and RAF stations dotted around the UK.’

As apposed to floating around the med. ;-)

TED
TED
January 26, 2014 10:18 pm

@TD you hit the nail on the head the AAC will be getting a great anti sub helicopter.

Just read an article on Puma HC2 and it looks brilliant to me. Wildcat may have been justified with the mast mounted optics and chin mounted 50. Now its a over engineered utility helicopter with a FLIR ball (and a naval one at that.)

My point has always been if all you have is a flir ball why have wildcat strapped to it when it could be AW119/109 EC120/130

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 26, 2014 10:20 pm

” we rarely see the other two on anything other than an amphib or aircraft carrier when they are embarked doing their own jobs rather than an exchange.”

When I’ve seen Navy personnel attached to Army units, they have by and large been doing their own Navy jobs.

I had a look on the Navy’s site to see if I could find some reference to sailors on exchanges. There is mention of a handful of sailors, air and ground crew, serving with 653 sqn (Apache); there’s also a story from last month which states that in Afghanistan “there remain more than 200 RN personnel – mostly Fleet Air Arm – with 857 NAS and the air engineers of 1710 NAS”.

There’s undoubtedly sailors knocking about in other jobs too, but still, it’s only a few sailors out of more than 200 in Afghanistan being used out of their specific role (yet still flying and maintaining helicopters). I would suggest, that ratio could also be described as rare; and this is at a time when the main focus of military operation is still in a landlocked country.

If the Navy finds itself a long pointless naval war to suck up our military resources for a decade, then maybe we’d see more Army onboard the Navy’s ships. That only the Navy understands jointery is a daft claim. And your evidence is definitely weak, using the presence of Navy folks in joint headquarters as an example of how well the Navy understands jointinous; it’s joint headquarters, of course the Navy’s there.

Simon257
Simon257
January 26, 2014 10:34 pm

Did anyone see this National Geographic documentry series last year : Inside Combat Rescue
A very insightful look in to the USAF Medevac mission in Afghanistan.

This is the first episode
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UN-6lrIgRMg

One thing that is obvious, once you get two stretchers on board their is not a lot room in the back of a Blackhawk.

Mark
Mark
January 26, 2014 10:45 pm

The puma 2 may indeed be excellent capability wise but it was programmatic given the cost pressures at the time and that should be tempered with

“On the specific question of the Puma LEP, Mr Derek Sharples from Eurocopter told us that the project would “see the aircraft re-engined; new avionics systems; new digital autopilot; it will see new engine control systems; new tail rotor blades; a strengthened tail.”46 These improvements would undoubtedly make Puma a better helicopter, but would not affect the aircraft’s crashworthiness and aspects of survivability. At our second session on 2 June, the Minister said that he “did not like the sound” of using crashworthiness as a factor, as he “would not dream of flying any helicopter that we were not absolutely certain was as safe as it possibly could be”.47 This sounded to us as if the MoD had begun to share our doubts as to whether extending the lives of both Sea King Mk 4 and Puma would really be a sensible course of action to take, taking account of the age of the Sea King and the survivability of passengers in the Puma in the event of an uncontrolled landing. TheMinister admitted that proceeding with the LEP would result in “extended exposure to risk”48.

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/Helicoptercapability072009.pdf

TAS
TAS
January 27, 2014 2:51 am

Phil, I don’t think an overwhelming focus on West Germany is going to help much.

Sea blindness – truly worrying sometimes.

TAS
TAS
January 27, 2014 3:04 am

Brian, how wonderfully you put the Navy down. Are you saying that I am wrong, that the Navy doesn’t understand joint operations? Or merely grinding an axe? Some evidence of your own would be nice rather than simply pooh-poohing the Navy’s history of jointery.

For evidence of the RN involvement in a landlocked ground campaign I suggest Google. Starter for ten: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations/current-operations/afghanistan

BTW ‘I would argue we understand it better than the other two Services on average’ does not equal ‘only the Navy understands jointery is a daft claim’. Grateful if you could avoid mis-quoting.

ADB
ADB
January 27, 2014 7:47 am

At the risk of incurring a great deal of wrath, what would we lose if Wildcat replaced Apache? From posts above, it seems like Wildcat could be fitted with an MMS and chin turret?

Just interested, given that (IMO) very hard economic restraints will have kicked in by the time the Apaches are due for upgrade. IF Wildcat proves cheaper to run, the cost argument could be compelling.

Phil
January 27, 2014 8:16 am

Phil, I don’t think an overwhelming focus on West Germany is going to help much.

Maybe not. But what about:

Palestine?
Korea?
Malaya?
Borneo?
Aden?
Northern Ireland?
Bosnia?
Kosovo?
Kuwait?
Sierra Leone?
Libya?
Iraq?
Afghanistan?

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 8:41 am

@ADB

At the risk of incurring a great deal of wrath, what would we lose if Wildcat replaced Apache?

Probably in the scheme of things nothing we could not work around, but why would you spend money bastardising an already expensive and newish airframe to fulfill a role that no other country uses the airframe for? when you could upgrade an airframe with a proven track record of very effectively providing.

We have proved we could live without the Lynx on recent operations the same could not be said for attack helicopters.

Phil
January 27, 2014 9:40 am

I know we would be giving an awful lot if we traded in AH for a few pimped out Wildcat (not least the psychological impact on potential enemies) but times are tough

That’s no reason to bin something as powerful and versatile as Apache. Going backwards to a Lynx AH1 set up hiding in the trees from men with AK47s rather than strutting around like a big flying bastard shouldn’t be an option. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to marinise it with the upgrades so they can fly from our two new LHAs?

pete doherty
pete doherty
January 27, 2014 10:21 am

@ all think wildcat would be just as expensive dont forget US are upgrading 650 airframes
http://www.bga-aeroweb.com/Defense/AH-64-Apache-Longbow.html
key point being The total procurement cost of the AH-64E Remanufacture program is $12.20 billion + $1.56 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, therefore each remanufacture aprox £18-£20 m compared to a new wildcat with RN spec radar etc and missile hardpoints would be north of £30m ?

Phil
January 27, 2014 10:23 am

Numbers are a different matter but scrapping altogether seems an horrendous decision. That said they should be able to generate 3 “task streams” as it were: supporting the armoured division, being able to fly from the LHAs and also to back up a lighter ground force in something akin to Mali. As well as conduct training etc

pete doherty
pete doherty
January 27, 2014 10:25 am

oops sorry that would be $18-$20m not pounds therefore £11-£13m …. no brainer for me :-)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 11:05 am

TD if I had to, I would do a study about migrating the Longbow and self protection kit (if not all ready fitted),I would just put the 30mm from the AH into a gun pod, but I would not spend any more money than was economical.

So no gun turrets or anything that changes the airframe, and do what the British armed forces have done for years and live with a bit of kit that is neither fish nor fowl.

I would see how many AH airframes we could realistically cut and bin both Lynx and Wildcat to keep the Apache.
But its been done now so time will tell.

TED
TED
January 27, 2014 11:27 am

Exactly why replace something made for the job doing the job with a naval airframe. Wildact should have soem of this kit available anyway. Paricuarly as the poor old RM will almost undoubtebly end up with 4 wildcat as ‘gunships’.

I would love to see at least 50 Apache. I would like Wildcat to go to the RN. How many ships could take 2-3 wildcat on decl or in hangar? I would like 15-20 A109 LUH 4-5 of which for the RN as plane guard on the QEs. The rest to the Army for recce and light utility.

Puma HC2 in the medium lift, chinook all 60 odd in the heavy lift.

Now the army has a cheaper and arguably more effective rotary fleet and the RN has plenty of ASuW helis to combat FRC.

Simon257
Simon257
January 27, 2014 11:29 am

The very idea of using Wildcat as a Gunship is just plain daft. The French tried that last year in Mali, when they used Gazelles as Gunships. They had a pilot killed and the helicopter was eventually written off. The French had to send Eurocopter Tigre’s to Mali. Go back to the Falklands War. Two Gazelles were shot down in San Carlos Bay on the same day, due to small arms fire.

What would you rather go into battle with a Flying Tank like the Apache or a Flying Ford Transit Van like the Wildcat?

ADB
ADB
January 27, 2014 11:29 am

I guess one of the reasons I am playing devil’s advocate here is I don’t see what Wildcat is for. It’s too small to transport much around (even Javelin anti-tank teams, if I’m not mistaken) and a very very expensive scout whose job can be done by Apache anyway.

Binning brand new Wildcats won’t be an option, so in cash-strapped times, could they replace Apache? Especially if running costs are cheaper (probably too early to tell, but we will know by the time Apache needs upgrading).

Just saw your post Simon. So one of the big plusses for Apache would be armour? And like Phil says, Wildcat would have to hide behind trees? Fair enough. Though I do find it strange that Wildcat doesn’t have similar protection, for the cost. Would it really be as vulnerable as a Gazelle?

Phil
January 27, 2014 11:40 am

Would it really be as vulnerable as a Gazelle?

Apache is vulnerable enough even with its armour and redundancy. Lynx is much more fragile.

Replacing Apache with Lynx completely is just silly as Simon has said above.

ADB
ADB
January 27, 2014 11:46 am

Fair enough Phil.

In the absence of a gunship role, are the Wildcats of much use?

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 11:49 am

The other thing to remember with the running costs is that everything the Apache lifts into the air is required to do its primary job of AH. Wildcat however if its primary use is battlefield recce will be burning fuel and airframe hours to carry a cabin that half of which is enclosing air, then add to that a light gunship role.

It might be cheaper to run but the most economical way of getting firepower to the front by helicopter is via a true AH.

wirralpete
wirralpete
January 27, 2014 12:01 pm

Really cant see why as phil and simon257 says you would want to replace apache with wildcat for the gunship role
With the investment already sunk in training, infrastructure, state of the art MTADS/PNV fire control radar etc
Again look at this http://www.bga-aeroweb.com/Defense/Budget-Data/FY2014/AH-64-REMAN-ARMY-PROC-FY2014.pdf $18.5m per airframe to remanufacture to AH64E standard in financial year 2018 ???
Cant believe anyone would want to purchase more wildcat to provide a lesser capability in its primary tasks???

ADB
ADB
January 27, 2014 12:03 pm

OK, OK, I get it.

Sheesh!

LOL.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 12:09 pm

@ADB
In the absence of a gunship role, are the Wildcats of much use?

If you consider that we have managed to live without a battlefield recce helicopter constantly available, and managed to fulfill that role with other assets like UAV’s etc and that they can’t lift a useful load and are too small in the utility role, then no they are not.

Phil
January 27, 2014 12:14 pm

In the absence of a gunship role, are the Wildcats of much use?

Err, how else are Colonels going to get home in good time for a good dinner when their course disperses on a Friday afternoon?

OPTAG in 2010 we were on our last serial on the Friday keen to get on the road home. The last serial was a thrilling demonstration of some Gurkhas walking across a playing field demonstrating the Afghan snake.

Fuck knows how many lives that saved.

But anyway we’re about to start and a Lynx appears over the horizon and without asking plomps itself down in the middle of the field.

It sits there for 2 hours and the demo isn’t allowed to happen so you can imagine the blokes working themselves up into deep psychotic rages as they have mental meltdowns imagining the ever growing tailbacks on the roads. Eventually a wagon pulls up and out steps a scruffy Colonel with a bright blue beret who hops into the cab which then without a moments more delay starts its engine and fucks off to drop him home.

That poor Colonel may not have gotten home for several hours if he hadn’t have had a Lynx as his personal taxi. He may well have had to sit in the traffic along with several frothing and red faced comrades.

Give your head a wobble for thinking such terrible things. A senior officer is not just for Xmas.

Rocket Banana
January 27, 2014 12:26 pm

I fear that people’s analysis of Lynx/Wildcat for AH will also end up being the achilles heel of Apache.

It is simply too fragile to get in the way of modern infantry weapons. Great if you can lord it over an underarmed insurgent, but when it comes to a real war with an enemy armed with MANPADS, it’s history.

Let it sit back, scan the ground and launch Hellfire and Brimstone. If it can get a few rounds of 30mm on target from a couple of km away then all the better.

Wildcat will still be able to do CASEVAC and light lift way after Apache is deemed ineffective and is retired. Perhaps we’ll end up with cheap hovering UAV 30mm cannons.

ADB
ADB
January 27, 2014 12:31 pm

“Wildcat will still be able to do CASEVAC and light lift way after Apache is deemed ineffective and is retired.”

Woah. I fear you have just committed blasphemy around here, Si. Prepare for incoming.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 12:34 pm

@Simon

Lynx and wildcat are not suitable for casevac, if in an absolute necessity they were the only things available then yes, but I would throw someone in a wheelbarrow if I had to in an absolute necessity it does not however make it a suitable ambulance.

Simon257
Simon257
January 27, 2014 12:44 pm

I’m sure TD has an upcoming piece on CSAR. I might be wrong though? For Medevac/Casevac. You are looking at AW149 or Blackhawk as a starting point. Anything else is to small for military purposes.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 12:51 pm

If the sole advantage of Wildcat over Apache is light lift, then bin both Wildcat and puma and invest in these

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaman_K-MAX

Hang a MOTS recce pod underneath for the occasional recce work.

TED
TED
January 27, 2014 12:52 pm

If the Arym had been thinking straight they would have a small lightly armed recce helicopter with decent optics. This may have been able to lift 4 troops or a few ration packs in a secondary light utility role.

If they wanted a BUH they could have something that lifted stuff and was a bit bigger. But not too big cause your getting into crab territory.

The Army’s answer, a Naval helicopter with an EO turret some seats and a hook. I don’t have a huge issue with it being a BUH cause anything can do that and the navy will have to do it. However in a recce role it is p*ss poor. You really need a twin seat heli that can get down in the dirt and folds with a mast mounted camera to stay behind that ridge. And then someway of communicating that intel with the wider world.

I suspect the army just wanted to lower the R&D costs of the buy of these aircraft by teaming up with the navy. Nice plan if you can’t buy off the shelf which in the BUH role you can. 20 bell 412s gives you a nice light-medium lift capability.

Whilst we are discussing helicopters, Puma HC2 may be eaked out o aroun 2030. We have 16 years at best 11 at current predictions to sort out its replacements. The AW139 looks impressive as does the 149. But theres also the EC725. The army and RM seem to lack a LUH or BUH. Wildcat is meant to do this but is it too mcuh?

Phil
January 27, 2014 12:52 pm

CASEVAC etc

It depends on your goal. Any chopper can carry a wounded soldier from A to B. But if you want to give them excellent treatment on the way then you need to add human capability to it in the form of consultants, paramedics and nurses. You need a few people to work on a Cat A casualty so space is a must. So if we want MERT we need Chinook or maybe Merlin / Puma at a squeeze. If we just want a swift evacuation then it can be whatever is closest to the tasking.

Sometimes getting them back in anything is better than getting them back in a MERT.

So yes Lynx could move casualties around. But you’ll never have a MERT in it. Too small.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
January 27, 2014 1:00 pm

Any way it’s all academic Wildcat is meant to be in service this year, will it eventually sideline Apache? only time will tell.

Allan
Allan
January 27, 2014 2:39 pm

“Considering those whopping running costs, it will be a tough sell for the Army to get the nod from the treasury. There will be substantial savings to be had from cutting a helicopter type, and I bet that Wildcat with Hellfire and LMM looks pretty good on the chancellor’s spreadsheet.”

And for HM Treasury, that is all that matters……after all once the Army has withdrawn from major operations the MoD / Treasury will be bombarded with requests / pointed memo’s making it clear that the other services have suffered as the Army has hovered up the budget.

No doubt the Telegraph will be filled with letters from all sides……

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 27, 2014 3:05 pm

Pete Doherty speculated on costs earlier. His estimates of £30m for a new Wildcat, and £11m to £13m for each remanufactured Apache led him to plump for Apache on cost alone – a no brainer.

However, thirty recce Wildcats for the Army are a done deal. The Apache fleet could also be cut to around fifty.

Going for that number of fifty aircraft, spending £11m to £13m on fifty Apache comes out at £550m to £650m. Buying twenty additional Wildcat at £30m each comes out at £600m, with a rationalization of supply, maintenance, and training coming from removing a whole fleet type.

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 27, 2014 3:05 pm

Pete Doherty speculated on costs earlier. His estimates of £30m for a new Wildcat, and £11m to £13m for each remanufactured Apache led him to plump for Apache on cost alone – a no brainer.

However, thirty recce Wildcats for the Army are a done deal. The Apache fleet could also be cut to around fifty.

Going for that number of fifty aircraft, spending £11m to £13m on fifty Apache comes out at £550m to £650m. Buying twenty additional Wildcat at £30m each comes out at £600m, with a rationalization of supply, maintenance, and training coming from removing a whole fleet type.