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  1. #1
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    Cessna Replacement - The Options

    With the Helicopter purchase programme underway, the next aircraft to be replaced in Air Corps service is the Cessnas. Strikes me that there are number of main options.

    1. Replace the 172 with a similar number of similar aircraft.
    2. Replace them with a smaller number of more capable aircraft
    3. Replace them, and the Beechcraft, with a smaller number of twin engined aircraft
    4. Replace them, and the Beechcraft, with a smaller number of twin engined aircraft but consider purchasing more than one type, factoring in the ongoing requirement for some cargo capacity.

    There is also an option 5 of course, either retire them without replacement or expand the numbers of helicopters purchased.

    Leaving that aside for the moment, and assuming that a replacement fixed wing type is in the offing, there are a number of other considerations. The first is that the Gardai now have their own capacity which (in theory) should remove the need for the Cessna to fulfill some of its original roles. Also, the new helicopters also offer capabilities previously only delivered by the 172s. Additionally, some of the state agencies that previously required support from the AC now rely on commercial contractors, primarily because of the need for ever more expensive sensor equipment. So I think that Option 1 can be removed as a practical suggestion. That leaves the other 3.

    What do people think?

  2. #2
    Closed Account ZULU's Avatar
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    Specifications (172R)
    Data from Wikipedia

    General characteristics

    Crew: 1
    Capacity: 3 passengers
    Length: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
    Wingspan: 36 ft 1 in (11.0 m)
    Height: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
    Wing area: 174 ft² (16.2 m²)
    Empty weight: 1,620 lb (743 kg)
    Max takeoff weight: 2,450 lb (1,110 kg)
    Powerplant: 1× Lycoming IO-360-L2A flat-4 engine, 160 hp (120 kW) at 2,400 rpm

    Performance
    Never exceed speed: 163 knots (185 mph, 302 km/h)
    Maximum speed: 123 knots (141 mph, 228 km/h) at sea level
    Range: 790 mi (687 nm, 1,272 km) at 60% power at 10,000 ft (3,040 m)
    Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,120 m)
    Rate of climb: 720 ft/min (3.7 m/s)
    Max wing loading: 14.1 lb/ft² (68.8 kg/m²)
    Whats the general price of a 172 these days?

  3. #3
    Potential Liability yellowjacket's Avatar
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    http://skyhawk.cessna.com/pricelist.chtml

    Though other models like the Stationair (206) might be more appropriate.
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  4. #4
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    Very good topic touching on this discussion on Franks board:
    http://www.irishairpics.com/cgi-bin/...=ST;f=1;t=1412

    SousaTeuszii moots the Diamond DA42, a small twin engined aircraft in the observation role. Part of his point being - what makes a good utility aircraft, may not make a good observation aircraft, due to fuel burn rates etc.

    I don't know if he posts here, but he seems to have a very well thought out rationale behind his suggestion.

    There does seem to be a grey area when it comes to the Cessna roles. CIT/observation is still a requirement certainly, but how much of a requirement is Para training? The non cheapskate option would be to order dedicated aircraft for the different roles, but that's more than likely a non starter.

  5. #5
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    hi there
    The Diamond DA-42 has a problem..it's underpowered in it's current role as a trainer/general tourer and has a good cruise speed only by virtue of clever aerodynamics. I was talking to several instructors who fly it in the UK and, whilst they liked it's speed and handling and modern avionics, they disliked the lack of power and positively hated it's single-engine behaviour.
    regards
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  6. #6
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    Should've checked Franks board really, shouldn't I ...

    Information that strikes me is that the Caravan 208 is going to be expensive, but still not useable in the real world in anything less than ideal circumstances. Its too much plane, no matter how you define the role*. Thats money and support cash that could be better spent on a C-295 or whatever.

    The suggestion that immediately appeals to me would be to purchase 4 PC-6 Turbo Porters in a reasonable spec. Well proven airframe and not overly expensive to run and maintain, if a little low on capacity. Good endurance though, and they would be deployable abroad as observation/liason aircraft with very good rough field abilities. Then, in good time(4-6 years later), make an investment in the transport area proper, with 2 aircraft in the CN-295/C-27J sector.

    The issue of the role is critical though. Not going to go into the CIT element of the role for obvious reasons, save to say that it seems likely that the requirement for Air Corps involvement should decrease over time. The obvious main roles for a replacement would have to include target towing, para training, general observation duties and just possibly some deployment abroad. However the more I think about it, the more it seems that most of these tasks are better done by helicopters (transport, observation) or UAVs (artillery spotting or recce proper). The only tasks that really need what a small fixed wing has to offer are transport over longer distances or roles that require endurance (hence the Garda Defender instead of an additional heli).

    Is there a case for option 5 after all, replace the 172s with 4 more AB139s and wait for more capable transport aircraft?

  7. #7
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    roles

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post

    The issue of the role is critical though. Not going to go into the CIT element of the role for obvious reasons, save to say that it seems likely that the requirement for Air Corps involvement should decrease over time. The obvious main roles for a replacement would have to include target towing, para training, general observation duties and just possibly some deployment abroad. However the more I think about it, the more it seems that most of these tasks are better done by helicopters (transport, observation) or UAVs (artillery spotting or recce proper). The only tasks that really need what a small fixed wing has to offer are transport over longer distances or roles that require endurance (hence the Garda Defender instead of an additional heli).

    Is there a case for option 5 after all, replace the 172s with 4 more AB139s and wait for more capable transport aircraft?
    As you say, it's essential to be clear about the functions to be fulfilled by any proposed new aircraft purchases, especially given that large amounts of public money are involved. It is 30 years since the Cessnas were bought, so the first step, as you suggest, must be to review their missions, roles, tasks... And not just the nature of particular roles, but their frequency.

    For example, how often is target towing carried out? Would it be more efficient to hire a commercial target tug as required? Furthermore, if it is the case that a major expense is required to sustain a particular role, then the feasibility of that role must be reviewed. For example, the only military parachuting carried out in the DF is that done by the Rangers. How many of them are there? How often do they need to jump? Should a number of aircraft be acquired - costing many millions - to facilitate a very limited amount of parachuting? As for deployment of Air Corps aircraft abroad, the current White Paper rules that out.

    So your option 5 (i) - retirement without replacement - would have to be decided upon first, before looking at possible replacement aircraft types.

    As for option 5 (ii) - replacement with 4 more AW139s - that would cost in excess of €50 million. Perhaps a larger number of smaller helicopters, for less than half that sum? And there would have to be a change in Government policy, to allow for overseas deployment.

    UAVs, yes, about time the DF began to make use of these, and it looks like they would be able to handle the general observation role more efficiently.

    Larger transport aircraft? Seem to be ruled out again by the White Paper, but of course Governments can change policy. But again, given the actual Defence Forces air transport requirements, would we not be better served by getting involved in the European Strategic Airlift Agreement?

  8. #8
    Recruit a04bf527's Avatar
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    the replacement of the cessnas will be either cessna caravelles or pc6s wont happen this side of election and until Earley assumes role of CoS

  9. #9
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    Forgive me, I'm about to ask a silly question.

    I've very little understanding about aircraft maintenance, but my inkling would be that a PC-6 would be far easier and cheaper to maintain in the field, compared to say an AW-139. Would this be correct and is this a significant factor?

    My own, admittedly not exactly enlightened opinion, would be that fixed wing aircraft offer advantages of endurance and range compared to helicopters. Which is enough to warrant the operation of a small number of such aircraft alongside helicopters.

    Obviously helicopters have advantages of their own, but with the limited numbers the IAC have, perhaps they are best left to troop transport?

    Silly question number 2: would the PC-9's be of any use in observations roles abroad? I read recently (alas on Wikipedia) that the USAF was looking into the possibility of using their model as Forward Air Controllers

    Of course the PC-9 is another leap up the ladder of complexity compared to the PC-6 and there is the question of how to get them to troublespots...

    On the subject of target towing, I believe the swiss use a limited number of PC-9's in this role.
    Last edited by pym; 11th April 2007 at 16:06.

  10. #10
    King Monkey FMolloy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrington View Post
    For example, the only military parachuting carried out in the DF is that done by the Rangers.
    Incorrect, the parachutist course is open to all.
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  11. #11
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    As you say, it's essential to be clear about the functions to be fulfilled by any proposed new aircraft purchases, especially given that large amounts of public money are involved. It is 30 years since the Cessnas were bought, so the first step, as you suggest, must be to review their missions, roles, tasks... And not just the nature of particular roles, but their frequency.
    All true. The first stage in any formal evaluation of a replacement criteria would be the 'do nothing' or do not replace option.

    That would mean taking the log books of the fleet over a set period (say 5 years) and examining what the aircraft have actually been used for. This may even involve costing these services were they delivered from the private sector. However in a field like the Military, it does not just come down to simple financial (as opposed to economic) benefits or costs - there may be a profound benefit from having an aircraft in service, even if a particular element of its capabilities are seldom explored. Its risk related return, and thats a judgement call.

    Also worth keeping in mind the costs of a servicing contract and parts supply - all of the costs associated with having an additional type in service - this would make the AB-139 seem cheaper as the type is already in service (and yes, I realise that the PC-6 would have engine compatibility with other types in the fleet). So what do people think, worth moving towards a more helicentric fleet?

    The White Paper issue doesn't particularly complicate matters btw. Any procurement decisions are undoubtedly framed by it, but those who have a key role in deciding the future policy direction also input into other decisions. It would not be surprising to have a procurement decision 'pre-empt' a policy initiative.

  12. #12
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    Clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by FMolloy View Post
    Incorrect, the parachutist course is open to all.
    Sorry, I guess I didn't make that point very clearly. What I meant by 'military parachuting' is parachuting for operational, military purposes. My understanding is that the only parachuting of this nature in the Defence Forces is done by the ARW, who use it as a method of inserting an SF team. Any other parachuting is non-military, for sport or display or adventure training.

  13. #13
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    The role of airborne support for escorts is not just observation (more important jobs than that while it is up there - that is operational info so will not be discussed.

    Parachuting & target towing I would imagine do not take up a large percentage of flying hours, when compared to escorts etc, so it makes more economic sense that if the aircraft is there, available, capable of the job and suitability equipped to use the AC aircraft.

    Helicopters generally do not have the required endurance and loitering capability (it would be too expensive) for the airborne escort role.

  14. #14
    King Monkey FMolloy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrington View Post
    Any other parachuting is non-military, for sport or display or adventure training.
    It's an official DF course, organised & run by DF personnel and successful completion of it results in jump wings being awarded - what about that is not military?
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  15. #15
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    FMolloy,
    I think he means that the course is not military in that it is essentially a sport parachutist's course.Only the Rangers perform anything like an armed drop into a combat situation/role. As for any other kind of DF parachuting, simply place a contract with the IPC in Clonbulloge or SkyDive Ireland at Ernagh to perform x number of drops per year. You could even sit an Air Corps pilot in side the pC-6 to get over that piece of legislative bullshit.
    The PC-9s could easily perform the target-tugging function. A PC-6 could also do it.
    Better still, give the Rangers their own, dedicated aircraft or helicopter for their duties, exclusive to them. It would take the heat off the provision of airborne assets to them.
    regards
    GttC
    Last edited by GoneToTheCanner; 21st February 2008 at 10:23.

  16. #16
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    What about the Defender:

    Sensor options - Radar, FLIR, ESM, laser range finder
    Defensive aids suite option
    EFIS
    Parachuting capable - 10 plus jump master
    Sliding door
    Low maintainance
    Low airframe price
    Service life - 25+ years
    Commonality with GASU aircraft - training & maintainance
    Option for wing hardpoints for fuel tanks / weapons / sensors
    Long range (>1000 nm) and high endurance (up to 8 hours)
    Multi-role (surveillance, environmental monitoring, air ambulance, flight checker, survey, target towing, parachuting, martime surveillance
    High wing to aid observation
    Designed for low level operation in all weather
    Good turning capability
    Low stall speed (50 knots)
    Crew & passengers (up to 10)
    STOL capable (350m on unprepared strips)
    In use with 35 airforces worldwide (including Belgium, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Philippines and UAE)

  17. #17
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    options...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
    The suggestion that immediately appeals to me would be to purchase 4 PC-6 Turbo Porters in a reasonable spec. Well proven airframe and not overly expensive to run and maintain, if a little low on capacity. Good endurance though, and they would be deployable abroad as observation/liason aircraft with very good rough field abilities. Then, in good time(4-6 years later), make an investment in the transport area proper, with 2 aircraft in the CN-295/C-27J sector.
    Any idea of the price of a Turbo Porter?

    As for transport aircraft like the CN-295 and C-27J, what exactly would they be used for? Wouldn't they cost around €30 million each? What I mean is, where would they fly to, how often, what would they carry? We don't need that kind of air transport capability within the country, and they're not really suitable for flying to Liberia or East Timor or wherever....

    Has the CASA C-212 ever been considered as a light transport aircraft? It's a cheap, rugged, STOL aircraft, and you could buy two of them for the cost of an AW139 - just the job for parachuting!

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    more info. on CASA C-212

    Some further info. on the CASA C-212

    http://www.eads-nv.com/xml/content/O.../50/434505.pdf


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pym View Post

    Silly question number 2: would the PC-9's be of any use in observations roles abroad? I read recently (alas on Wikipedia) that the USAF was looking into the possibility of using their model as Forward Air Controllers


    .
    The Australians use their's in a FAC role, and in Angola the PC-7 was more feared then the hind helicopters by the rebels in COIN roles....just sayin
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    The role of airborne support for escorts is not just observation (more important jobs than that while it is up there - that is operational info so will not be discussed.

    snip....

    Helicopters generally do not have the required endurance and loitering capability (it would be too expensive) for the airborne escort role.
    rather general, societal question....

    why on earth does Irish CIT need defence forces support?

    trying very hard indeed to think of any other western country that provides a military ground and air escort for cash vans. and i can't.

    i can understand it, almost, in the bad old days of PIRA, but now?

    a little 'make work' perhaps?

    and as for the uber-secret role of air escorts, come on. it can do two things, observe and report or it can intervene. and seeing how folk were wetting themselves about the great advance of an IAC helicopter actually firing a GMPG while airborn then its somewhat unlikely that in the event of something happening to the CIT that said Cessna would shout 'tally-ho!', dive from the sun and loose off a few AGM-65 Maverick missiles and scatter the debris with Cluster Bombs.

    a little more humility about what really is OPSEC and what is big-timing to make a mundane and unneccesary tasking sound like a thunder-run to Baghdad would do this place the world of good.

  21. #21
    King Monkey FMolloy's Avatar
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    This is the last word I'll allow on the subject of CIT, points will be handed out if people keep bringing it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    rather general, societal question....

    why on earth does Irish CIT need defence forces support?.
    Because the security companies, Gardaí & Defence Forces all think it's necessary in certain circumstances. When security professionals say it's necessary it's a good enough reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    trying very hard indeed to think of any other western country that provides a military ground and air escort for cash vans. and i can't.
    Can you think of another western country that had unarmed police & security companies and a problem with terrorists who had a history of armed robbery?

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    i can understand it, almost, in the bad old days of PIRA, but now?
    It was brought in because of the IRA, and given the increasing brazenness of armed criminal gangs it continues.

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    a little 'make work' perhaps?
    The AC has enough to be doing & does not need to make work for itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    and as for the uber-secret role of air escorts, come on. it can do two things, observe and report or it can intervene. and seeing how folk were wetting themselves about the great advance of an IAC helicopter actually firing a GPMG while airborne then its somewhat unlikely that in the event of something happening to the CIT that said Cessna would shout 'tally-ho!', dive from the sun and loose off a few AGM-65 Maverick missiles and scatter the debris with Cluster Bombs.
    Firstly I don't know where you got the impression that the posters were suggesting that this would happened, given that they all know that the Cessna is unarmed and it's impossible for it to intervene directly.

    The article on the Cessnas in the the Dec-Jan issue of An Cosantóir says that it's role is to provide observation, signals support & to co-ordinate any response to an attack. That's as much as the DF has said about the subject & that's all that will appear on this board.

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    a little more humility about what really is OPSEC and what is big-timing to make a mundane and unneccessary tasking sound like a thunder-run to Baghdad would do this place the world of good.
    If you don't like the board you can always leave. No-one bar yourself has made any fantastical posts on the subject, they've merely stuck to the board's rules & DF regulations and the discussion hasn't suffered any as a result.
    Last edited by FMolloy; 12th April 2007 at 11:38.
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    costs

    As far as I can find out, these are very roughly the costs of some of the possible Cessna replacements mentioned so far....



    aircraft approx. unit cost (€)
    Cessna 172 200,000
    Cessna Turbo Stationair 400,000
    Cessna Caravan 1.2 to 1.5 million
    Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter 1.2 million?
    Britten-Norman Defender 6.5 million
    Casa C-212 6 million
    Agusta-Westland AW139 12 million+
    Last edited by thebig C; 13th April 2007 at 23:33.

  24. #23
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    air support

    The role of the Cessnas in relation to cash escorts is "to provide observation, signals support & to co-ordinate any response to an attack." Should similar air support not be available when troops are engaged in other operational activities, which mainly take place overseas? Which would be better for that purpose, fixed-wing or helicopter?

  25. #24
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    hi there
    The PC-6 is only built to special order and you can guess how much that costs! The Defender/Islander is only built at a very low volume and mostly to special order. i dont know if the 212 is still in production.
    regards
    GttC

  26. #25
    Intelligence Officer The Blue Max's Avatar
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    As far i know the Pilatrus PC-6 turbo Porter is still the favourite in IAC/Army circles for the needs that has been be specified from what i have heard. One of the criteria i have heard being mention alot is that they wont a truely military aircraft instead of civilain one like some mentioned previous they wont an aircraft capable of soft field landing with good STOL and capable of increased Para Operations to go in tandem with the Army plans to increase it operational/ capibility in this area,transportation needs,ATCP commitents and assitance to state agencies.

    The PC-6 is favourite because of the good relationship that has been built over PC-9M purchase and the service provided etc... and the PC-6 track record internationally at military level deployed in domestic security enviroment or in greenfield sites. Thats information i have heard anyways about the subject.

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