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View Poll Results: What is the future for Naval Aircraft In Ireland?

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  • Continue Naval Air Ops with a new Air Corps heli

    18 14.88%
  • Continue Naval Air Ops with New Naval services operated Helis

    66 54.55%
  • Continue with Helideck only on certain ships

    16 13.22%
  • Give up on the whole idea..the CASA does the job fine!

    21 17.36%
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  1. #1
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Naval air ops no more?

    Its a boring sunday,the board has been quiet..so I decided to throw this old one back at ye all.
    Is there a future for Naval air operations?

    Click Photo to enlarge..
    We have all heard the tale of woe that was Naval Aviation in ireland. This is how it worked.
    2 ships were to be built that were capable of Landing and operating a Lynx size helicopter. They were estimated to cost in the region of £12m each. Verolme Cork dockyard were given the contract(do not know if there was a tender process involved,as the yard was struggling for survival at the time). The Vessels which were planned as a P20 type ship with a helipad and hangar soon grew in proportions to an underarmed Frigate design with Helipad and hangar for a 5 tonne Heli,in excess of 72m long. Industrial problems in the yard increased the construction time for these ships,and cost increases followed. The end result was One Fine vessel which took almost 3 years to build,costing about £26m. The second ship of the class was cancelled following the difficulties experienced in the building of the first(though I believe VosperThornycroft did offer to complete construction of Eithne and construct a second vessel to the Original design).
    Eithne was completed,promptly broke down on the way from the Dockyard to the Naval Base(about a mile away).
    No sign of those Helicopters though..The type favoured by the NS was the Navy Lynx as used by the Dutch,French and Royal Navy.
    However the DoD at the time were considering options for a New SAR heli with 24 hour capability. The Puma was the type favoured by the Air Corps.
    Some penpusher went for something in between,and got 5 Aerospatiale SA365Fi Dauphin 2..Shipboard capable,medium range 24 hour helis.
    Eithne Was Comissioned in December 1984,having been launched in December 1983..The first Navalised Dauphin arrived in June 1986..
    So after another delay during work ups and conversion training(and the odd VIP flight) Helis Joined Eithne ..but not for long.
    I believe..and Mr Murphy can correct me on this,That the routine involved the Dauphin Joining the Eithne after Breakfast In Baldonnell. Eithne would meet helo mid patrol..Helo done a few sweeps of the area,Crew Had dinner aboard Eithne,Done another sweep after Dinner and headed back to Baldonell before Tea Time!
    Availability of helis mean that it is near impossible to free up one of the remaining servicable Dauphins to train for Naval ops,never mind Operate as a Naval Heli.
    Naval service wanted to train their own pilots to operate the Dauphins,but just like the present Garda ASU problem,the air corps werent having any of it!
    The Handling gear aboard Eithne is nowdays in almost permanent stowage,and some doubt if it can ever be used again.

    So after all That I ask..is there a need for Naval Helis? Does the CASA Maritime patrol aircraft do as good a task as the Dauphin was intended to do? Should we have Ships with helidecks capable of landing Helos and fuelling them,without the need for a hangar?
    Should we give up on the helideck thing completely?

  2. #2
    Sqdn. Ldr Silver's Avatar
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    Naval Helis

    As I have suggested before, NS personnel should be trained as NS heli pilots as they would be used to "life at sea" and could perform other duties while on board ship.

  3. #3
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    While we are on it..what would be the best Heli for the job? Max 5 tonne.

  4. #4
    Commandant Come-quickly's Avatar
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    The panther as opposed to civvie Dauphin would probablby be fine, although a lot of naval air arms have been buying the A109e, which would allow standardisation with the AC. It's a very limited maritime heli though.
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

  5. #5
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Cool

    The USCG are starting to use the MH-68,which is basically a modified A109 Power. 2 would be plenty....

  6. #6
    BIRDDOG
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    Unhappy

    Unfortunately Naval Aviation in the DF is, at present, dead. This is mostly due to the Air Corps over reliance on Civilian tasks, i.e. SAR, to exist. This squashes the military roles to a minimum. This was not helped by the fact that only two of the five SA365Fi s ordered are capable of ship landings. As an aside to this the SA365Fi in Irish service is a military model based on a Saudi requirement for ASuW aircraft. All four remaining aircraft still retain hard points for the carriage of weapons from gun pods to 4 ASuW missles. The reason the SA365Fi is so under powered is that the kitchen sink was placed up the front.
    As for the future the navy will only have an air arm when it has control of the aircraft. This will mean the spending of some serious dollers, But could change the landscape of Irish naval operations radically.
    Now for a question.
    This year the Air Corps is set to retire the two naval SA365Fi s. They are only fifteen years old with low hours, however they are approching major overhaul.
    Could anybody see the navy paying to overhaul and possibly upgrade these aircraft and take them into full time use?

  7. Thanks DeV thanked for this post
  8. #7
    C/S
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    Don't the US coast guard have plans to upgrade their Dolphin/Dauphins under the Deep water project? Speaking as a non-expert, couldn't our be upgraded to the same standard as theirs.

  9. #8
    BIRDDOG
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    Smile

    The us Coast Guard are going down their own road as regards the Dolphin upgrade. This possibily means a lot of work and trouble on their part. However the Irish dauphins could be upgraded to the more advanced and much more powerful Panther N3 model. This model is already tried and tested around the world with civil and military operaters alike.

  10. #9
    BIRDDOG
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    Question

    Same topic different line of attack.

    What roles would you see for a naval air arm (Shipborne + landbased Helis). Remember they need to convince the minister to hand over some of his hard grabbed cash.

  11. #10
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    The Dauphin SA365Fi as used here while still a useful craft requires an avionics refit which will cost about €1.5m per aircraft. The Dauphin has not had the success operationally worldwide as the Allouette 3 or Puma,although is is still effective for its Purpose.
    It must be decided whether it is worth spending this amount at the expense of a "Proper" Heli. The Dauphin are being replaced as they are unsuitable for our requirements. They may even be over complicated for Eithne. Her electronic suite has the ability to guide the Heli back to her deck "blind" . Something which tragically Waterford Airport did not have. For years the RN used Wasp helis,and many countries use Allouette 3.
    The Role devised for the Naval Heli was to extend the eyes of Eithne Beyond Visual range. The SAR equipment,which weighs it down considerably is not a requirement for Naval Helis.It can be carried on the ship and used if required. The Dauphin also lacks FLIR, which with a datalink(which is available to both GASU aircraft) can extent the operational effectiveness considerably. Indeed it is a plausable scenario that Boardings of larger vessels could be carried out by helis. Incidents such as requirments to place a fire fighting crew aboard ship is another area where the Heli is useful.
    As for the HH65-A Dolphin,though similar it uses a different engine (Lycoming LTS-101-750B-2 Gas Turbines) and lacks the radar of the Fi,so possibly the avionics are not the 5 screen EFIS either.
    I notice in AFM that the Moroccans have chosen the AS565MB Panther for their new Naval Air arm. Equipped with Radar,FLIR and "self-contained Navigation systems", they will operate in a similar role to that which our Dauphins should have. Surveillance and SAR.

  12. #11
    Whiskey Section
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    Thumbs down

    I personally think naval service air ops are a thing of the past. Although a fantastic piece of equipment the alouettes for one should have been replaced years ago not to mention the cessnas, gazelles and kingair. Can you see the muppets in power sanctioning any kind of funds for a naval air service which less face It is not that important. The air corps is at present is like a historic flight and what is being done about that? Don't get me wrong I would love to see some helis being used solely for naval purposes but I think at least another naval ship would be more a priority at present.
    P. s. have the Niamh and Roisin not been designed like so because the navy felt that a ship with a heli deck was not needed or should i say the dept of finance.

    Regards

  13. #12
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Sadly whiskey..youre dead right. The people who make the decisions on all equipment that the states agencies get,be they Naval Helis or Maternaty Unit Incubators,neither know nor care why the equipment requested is required. In most cases they dont even know what it is. What they do know is that the lowest bidder gets the deal.
    As for the New NS ships they are designed as a replacement for the P20 Class of ship. Roisin was "extra" but Niamh,and whatever comes next will replace the P20 class as they become too old to be useful,though I think they may last longer in service than Deirdre.
    It was never a plan to have any more Heli deck ships once the P32 was cancelled. However one wonders why there isnt more open deck space to allow winching from deck or the option for VERTREP etc..

  14. #13
    Vague
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    Naval Aviation

    I know the Dauphins are being retired and the navy types don't have much love for the IAC but what do you think about the creation of a Naval air wing to include the CASAs(possibly adding to their number) and a new helicopter type to work off the LE Eithne.Would having a smaller number of larger ships that could work with aircraft be a more efficient way to patrol Irelands area of responsibility.It would also mean you could get some pilots that didn't work office hours:p

  15. #14
    Commander-in-Chief futurepilot's Avatar
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    Firstly we don`t need larger ships. Even frigates would cost too much to run.
    secondly, a naval air wing? we have a tiny air force as it is. why go through all the effort of forming a second air force when all it would achieve would be a doubling of admin costs and would take much needed funds away from the air corps.

  16. #15
    Vague
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    Im only talking big ships by the Navys standards.Also Im only building on the dreams of the other posters for larger vessels.Do the naval types here think that have either a Naval aviation wing or, since futurepilot is against it, a greater mritime patrol capability from the IAC to support the navy be beneficial to the efficiency of the navy or is more ships a better idea? I just wanted to start a discussion on air surveillance vs ships.

  17. #16
    Infantry Man
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    Point we dont have an Air FORCE we have an Air CORPS!!For one the word FORCE impies there are Danger and able to fight - the IAC Corps isnt!!I say concentrate on the Air Corp we have without getting another one

  18. #17
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Sadly the idiots got to see this first. The idea of dedicated naval pilots with naval aircraft has been favoured for some time in Haulbowline,considering the disaster that was Dauphin ops(and the old joke was that it was the navy,not the air corpse who went home for their tea).The Pilots had a huge difficulty going to sea,and combined with an unsuitable aircraft,the experiment was a failure. The Casa aircraft operate exclusively with the naval service,pointing them in the direction of suspect vessels,and indeed in some cases securing a prosecution with photographic evidence.
    It has long been my,and other peoples opinion that we may as well give up on the idea of the air corpse,and instead have an Army air Corps(as it was originally) and move maritime squadron to the Naval service. The Aircraft only see the don when they are being fixed in any case.

    What muppet says we dont need larger ships? Why? Would you prefer to patrol the north atlantic in winter in a 21foot rib? It can be arranged...
    When writing off the opinions of somebody else,it often helps to have a clue what you are talking about first.
    The Navy need more ships,capable of spending longer times at sea,shipboard aircraft are optional,but if done properly,could be a valuable asset. Maritime squadron have done excellent work with the 2 Casa,considering one of them is abused occasionally for ministerial jollies. More of this type are needed. The usefulness of the type is apparent in the decision of the USCG,no small fish when it comes to Maritime patrol,who have selected the Casa for part of its Deepwater programme,following a very successful demo of the irish aircraft in the US.

    The Naval service finds new roles being added to its portfolio regularly....meanwhile the Air Corpse looses roles....

  19. #18
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    North Atlantic weather bites at the best of times and you wouldn't catch me in anything smaller than the QM2 there.From what I've read of current Naval operations the Irish Navy does get around the world frequently.I understand the 12 ships navy that some are calling for here but does a smaller number of larger ships and a Naval Air Service with CASAs and shipboard helicopters equal a more efficient navy or a larger number of smaller ships coupled with the 2 planes of IAC Martime Squadron and 5 Coast Guard helicopters equal a more effective and efficient service capable of performing the Irish Navies current roles.Obviously with the way defense is funded in Ireland the navy could only sway to one side or the other if it EVER got money to replace some of the older ships.Aircraft and big ships may also be a way to increase recruitment that some board members indicate to be low as it raises the profile of the navy.

  20. #19
    cueball
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    The Navy dont need an Air Wing this country needs an injection of funds to build up the Aer Corps.

    The Helo ops that occour today with the NS are fraught with danger as the equipment we have for firefighters such as the silver suits for helo ditching on the afterdeck are a ****ing joke.

    Not one of the things reach my ankles anymore if i had to use them for real i'd barbecue my feet.

  21. #20
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    ...when was the last time a dauphin actaully landed on the tennis court on the back of the Eithne.....Did you not get to wear the lovely big blue suede boots that went with the chicken suit.

    It was only when I attended the Civil Aviation Authority Fire school in Teeside did Irealise the futility behind the suits.

    The civil authoritie s have outlawed there use as they are more dangerous than good. The concept of snatch rescue is gone. Firefighting is the job. If the helo is on the deck long enough to warrant wearing the suit..the crew are already dead.......and now the ship is at risk .....remember where the heli fuel tank on the eithne is!
    Time for another break I think......

  22. #21
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    I wore a silver suit once,and wondered how long the plastic helmet would last in the intense heat....or the rubber soled boots for that matter....
    I'll take my chances with Nomex thank you.

  23. #22
    suggs
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    Unlike the Royal Navy the NS doesn't seem to have a problem with non-cooperation with the Air Corps. However if the NS Felt strong enough on this then I think the New Zealand way of doing things is best.

    The RNZN have only 3 Helicopters when at sea sea they are operated by the RNZN for the RNZN, when ashore they go into the RNZAF Support system. It makes alot of sense really as it ensures the Light-Blues dont have to go in one of those Nasty Horrible Ship-things and esures continuity and improvement of docterine concerning Naval Aviation (The RNZN also hold the budget for these aircraft)

    .

  24. #23
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    Sounds unecessarily complicated.If its Navy funding and Navy pilots why put it under AF control just because the helicopter is in port.Just sounds like an unnecessary paper trail.

  25. #24
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Non Cooperation.....down right hostility would be more likely.

    I must stress this was not at crew level but within the powers that be. The last thing the AC wanted to do was embark one of their nice shiny helos on a rusty scruffy pihching tennis court....and found every excuse under the sun not to do so.
    Time for another break I think......

  26. #25
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Time to forget about helicopters on board NS vessels?

    Is it time to forget about the idea of having Helicopter Patrols Vessel(s) in the NS?

    My own though is no, AC helicopters & personnel should go to sea, as they make a vessel more capable & flexible, as well as responsive.

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