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  1. #26
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    I cant understand the attitude that the AC should get rid of the Garda and Air Ambulance roles as besides Maritime Patrol seems to be the only roles of real value and that give some real world experience and the only real valid reasons for having the AC.

    In actual fact it probaly would be more cost effective to civilianise the practice ops with the Army, chances are that the pilots flying with the civilian operator have more military helicopter operations experience

  2. #27
    BQMS Meatbomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie252

    The drive has to come from within...
    To a point I agree but in the end the organisation must go in the direction it's directed. That direction does indeed come from AC management, but also from Defence Forces management, if they directed it, the AC would need to do it.

  3. #28
    Space Lord of Terra morpheus's Avatar
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    Throw them on an ex with a PDF / RDF unit down the glen for a week.

    Park up two or three choppers, tents, fuel, maintenance, etc and armament.

    Stick the GPMGs in the doors, fire blanks whatever but get used to doing it in the field.
    "He is an enemy officer taken in battle and entitled to fair treatment."
    "No, sir. He's a sergeant, and they don't deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They're cunning and artful, if they're any good. I wouldn't mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever."

  4. #29
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meatbomb View Post
    To a point I agree but in the end the organisation must go in the direction it's directed. That direction does indeed come from AC management, but also from Defence Forces management, if they directed it, the AC would need to do it.
    What I have seen, with regards to the NS in recent years is the opposite. If the Air Corps have nothing to offer, the DF management will not ask any more of them. It is up to the AC management to lobby the DF management and say "We can do this". It must be easier now than ever with an Air Corps man in the DCOS job.

  5. #30
    BQMS Meatbomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    What I have seen, with regards to the NS in recent years is the opposite. If the Air Corps have nothing to offer, the DF management will not ask any more of them. It is up to the AC management to lobby the DF management and say "We can do this". It must be easier now than ever with an Air Corps man in the DCOS job.
    Well what needs to change then for AC management to up their game?

  6. #31
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    AC Management to use initiative. Make a few unpopular decisions, with regards to working hours. Get rid of the flying club mentality.

  7. #32
    BQMS Meatbomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    AC Management to use initiative. Make a few unpopular decisions, with regards to working hours. Get rid of the flying club mentality.
    I won't hold my breath!

  8. #33
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie252 View Post
    Guys IMHO this is a valuable and interesting discussion..

    It appears that the AC has made no real progress in Military Heli ops despite the new paint jobs, the Fans who hear a AW on the radio and get a tear in there eye really need to try and assess the current state of Ops in the AC. The odd spin down to the Glen does not cut it.
    Plenty of guys on the forum are more realistic.

    I think some kind of progressive leadership and some near term achievable goals would be a good step.

    So here's my two cents: As a Goal for this year, how about building up to deploying two AW-139's for 48 hrs in the field with an Army Unit on exercise. And not some half hearted effort a full deployment with tech, ATC, Logs, fuel etc deployed with the aircraft. I think given the resources in Bal that this achievable.

    I think that would be a good achievement, and the AC can use the lessons learned, doctrine and SOP's that would be developed to build towards some type of longer term goal.
    With regard to working with troops/under slung loads military ops are firmly established, the only thing missing is overnight/longer deployment.

    And of course overseas but that is the Government's call.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    With regard to working with troops/under slung loads military ops are firmly established, the only thing missing is overnight/longer deployment.

    And of course overseas but that is the Government's call.
    Hi,

    Is it really firmly established, is it a routine mission profile.
    Here are a few questions that might be worth exploring: Have the Manuals been written? are the SOP's part of the Units Doctrine? is there a training programme for the crews? Have the Pilots and Crew currency and qualification criteria? Do the AC have a fuel bowser that deploys to the Curragh/Glen? I am sure there are many more..

    I know you don't have the answers, but, I think IF these types of questions have been addressed then IT is possible to say that "working with troops/underslung Loads" are firmly established.

    Have you any idea where the AC might be when viewed with those types of questions.

  10. #35
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    The AC fuel Bowser has found its way to Haulbowline. I'm sure it could find coolmoney.

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  12. #36
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie252 View Post
    Hi,

    Is it really firmly established, is it a routine mission profile.
    Here are a few questions that might be worth exploring: Have the Manuals been written? are the SOP's part of the Units Doctrine? is there a training programme for the crews? Have the Pilots and Crew currency and qualification criteria? Do the AC have a fuel bowser that deploys to the Curragh/Glen? I am sure there are many more.

    I know you don't have the answers, but, I think IF these types of questions have been addressed then IT is possible to say that "working with troops/underslung Loads" are firmly established.

    Have you any idea where the AC might be when viewed with those types of questions.
    I would assume their are SOPs and people with currency as most major ex's, a lot of courses etc do cover heli insertion/extraction and/or CASEVAC.

  13. #37
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    Just because you didn't see Air Corps aircraft operating on the ground with the army doesn't mean it never happens. There is hardly a day goes by that there isn't an exercise on somewhere but very few get reported in An Cosantoir.
    In 2011 I was on a large exercise in the west which had two AW139s and a EC135 attached for the full duration of the exercise operating on the ground with fuel tanker and ground grew. I don't know how often they carryout such large supporting exercises but it clearly happens.

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  15. #38
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    There seems to be a rush to judgement here based on past experiences and hearsay, with a lot of assumptions being made. I have personally heard the AC operating well beyond "flying club" hours.

    Things may not be at the level required yet but its obviously not as bad as the picture being painted here by some.

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  17. #39
    Lt General Bravo20's Avatar
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    And I have seen them operate beyond flying club hours on regular occasions

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  19. #40
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    I know the Air Corps used to do ''away'' deployments in the 70's/80's in Longford with the annual camps that were run there, the A111's would operate from Abbyshrule [the old one] and they are operating frequently outside of the so-called flying club hours.
    But the problem, and since they do not go overseas there is a problem, may well be from inept government rather then an inept air service. Certainly taking the Air Ambulance tasking, while seen to be useful, by the few members of the public that give a damn, was in my opinion a step backwards, because it is not a military task.
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
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  21. #41
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    The Don has always done after-hours operations, certainly since the Alouettes did the border and SAR but the half-four and garrison mentality took a lot to shift. Apart from preparing for security-conscious VIP visits, the Don did not routinely train or equip itself for off-base ops. It ecrtainly did not do "Exercises". Even the prep for the bloody airshows was half-baked. As for sending a fuel bowser out and about, you should have heard the moans when that was started, years ago. In fact, the bowser that used to go on tour was a 4X 2 and couldn't leave the road, nor was there provision for manual refuelling or even jerrycans!! I'm sure things have changed now but one abiding characteristic sound of the 80s/90s was the "Wow! Look at the stuff they've got!", which went up whenever other air forces came a-visiting and brought every thing they needed, including vehicles. We were always embarrassed by what we lacked, rather than what we had. I don't know what's on hand now but they'd need to tool up properly to be able to give the Army a genuine, off-base utility and I mean to the level that they achieve in NATO.

    regards
    GttC

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  23. #42
    Some dodgy geezer Scorpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie252 View Post
    Hi,

    Is it really firmly established, is it a routine mission profile.
    Here are a few questions that might be worth exploring: Have the Manuals been written? are the SOP's part of the Units Doctrine? is there a training programme for the crews? Have the Pilots and Crew currency and qualification criteria? Do the AC have a fuel bowser that deploys to the Curragh/Glen? I am sure there are many more..

    I know you don't have the answers, but, I think IF these types of questions have been addressed then IT is possible to say that "working with troops/underslung Loads" are firmly established.

    Have you any idea where the AC might be when viewed with those types of questions.
    Hi there guys...

    to answer a few of those questions with one general answer... yes. I know because I wrote the orginal army support operations manual after extensive examination of foreign military doctrine and updated it after my stint with the BAAC to reflect all possible roles. Obviously that manual has since been updated with additional detail to cover NVG and armed operations as they were introduced, proven and implemented as core functions. Additionally the integration of helicopters into field roles has been widely progressed by liaison with the JATEU in the UK and extensive training has been carried out to allow helicopter handling teams, rigger marshallers and landing point commanders to be an integral part of combat and CS units. The Air Corps manages this training but does not claim ownership of it as it is aimed at having an integrated element available to company and battalion commanders to deploy as they see fit. I personally have been involved with aircraft deployed to Kilworth for periods up to 72 hours, Collins barracks in Cork and the Naval Base for nearly a week and deployed to ATCP operations for Shannon and for the Queen's visit, all of which involved periods where all refuelling, maintenance and planning was conducted in temporary accommodation and using resources sourced from Baldonnel or with logistical support provided by the supported element.

    One of the main sticking points with deployed operations is that very few of them occur away from the regular military locations used every day. In addition, the appropriate use of the asset would dictate that the risk of it being deployed in a forward position where it is exposed the most during its laager phase would not be outweighed by the benefit of having it close to supported troops, especially considering its speed and immunity from terrain. Therefore it is more appropriate to deploy it to a rear area (such as the bottom field in Kilworth or a local barracks square) where it can be properly supported, protected (both in exercise terms and in real terms) and there is the maximum possibility of the crews having critical flight safety information available to them.

    The other main point I am aware of is flight safety focussed. The regulations regarding crew duty times and rest periods and the standards applied by those regulations when assessing appropriate areas to fulfil the requirements are such that operations with pilots, crews and technicians staying in tented accommodation for extended periods are simply not permitted. This may seem incredible but I know of at least two occasions where an attempt was made to integrate a vehicle and helicopter laager area during a 72 hour exercise with troops and crews sharing tented digs overnight but flight safety stepped in, cited the operations manual and insisted that the aircraft position to an area where the crews could get rest in accordance with the regulations. This happened to be less than 15 minutes flying time from the vehicle staging area and did not impact on the mutual support element of the exercise. An additional flight safety consideration is that for intensive deployed operations, a fire fighting vehicle must be deployed to the area for crash cover.

    To fully support deliberate or hasty helicopter deployments in the field you need significant logistics. The air corps does have 4 x 4 fuel, fire fighting, comms support, transport and supply capability. For larger operations I think they still have to source a DROPS to transport some of the heavier ground support equipment but the supported unit usually provides. Tentage is available but is deemed unsuitable for deployed ops as above. The problem with deploying these assets away from Bal is that the airfield loses a part of its routine backup support in ground support equipment such as towcars and power units, fire cover and fuel terms and may not be able to legally support routine fixed wing operations. To be able to deploy the equipment without impacting on regular movements in Bal, you have to have vehicles sitting idle and in a condition to go at the drop of a hat. Few units can justify having extra vehicles that only function in one role as specific as fire fighting or crash recovery and the Air Corps is no exception.

    I'm sure that there are plenty of serving flight crews who would take exception to the attitude that they do not wish to deploy with their 'main customer' and simply treat Bal as the tea and medals destination at the end of each day. There is not lack of desire to deploy. The air corps helicopter fraternity recognises and has recognised for many years that their main support is to the combat and CS elements and has proved time and again that they can support operations away from Bal such as the recovery of the PC9 crash, the Croke Patrick Reek walk, ARW exercises, Mission Readiness Exercises all over the country, fire fighting operations in Donegal, security operations for visiting heads of state etc, etc. The helicopter unit has an intense desire to see the work that they have put into adjusting their primary role from SAR to an integration to the All Arms concept into practice where it matters - overseas. Detailed examination has been made of the requirements to achieve this, the logistics required, the training workup, the crew requirements, the regulations and how they apply, indeed all aspects of the task of providing the same level of support to an overseas operation that can be provided domestically. Those reports have been read by senior management and can be implemented if so required.

    Barrier 1. White Paper. Barrier 2. We're broke.

    The main reason I respond is that I know that the guys can't tell their own side of the story and will be spitting fur at some of the implications that have been made that it is a culture of the pilots, crews and techs simply wishing to get home to the mess and corrie. I never had a problem getting guys to volunteer for a deployment, sometimes had to get them to toss for it to see who got left behind.

    The comment is accurate that goals need to be set to solidify all the procedures for the logistics train and the exact equipment that has to be procured but without the overseas role being a dictated government tasking, money will never be spent by DFHQ and the priority will remain on supporting those government assigned tasks that are in force. You can't blame Air Corps management for not showing initiative by deploying to army units that don't want them there, when DFHQ has not assigned it as a priority task. When told, they will go. Simples!

  24. #43
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    If there was a competition for post of the year, as far as I am concerned, Scorpy is in the lead, thank you for clearing a lot of air here.
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
    Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

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  26. #44
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    Excellent post Scorpy. Thank you.

    A lot of assumptions made in this thread. Things seem to have moved in a positive direction. Fairly or unfairly, changing perceptions takes time.

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  28. #45
    Some dodgy geezer Scorpy's Avatar
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    It is one element of the type of operations that we did that I truely miss as the challenge of integrating through planning and application of all the knowledge that the unit compiled after the loss of SAR was thoroughly enjoyable. We regularly deployed as liaison officers to Bn HQs, sleeping rough with the HQ element, attending and delivering orders, camo'd up with the FOOs as part of the fire support element controlling PC9s and co-ordinating the unit helicopter handling teams, marshalling the air insertion element through staging to pickup points, moving a company minus to their drop off and remaining on call for CASEVAC and engineer support. Bloody busy, very entertaining and a break from the norm. Stringing all the timings together could be a nightmare as any element staging late could have a knock on effect for fuel and on station endurance. Over the last few years I think the supported units were genuinely surprised at how far the corporate knowledge had come and how easily integration was achieved on the day, but it wasn't without a huge effort from the unit on all fronts. Everyone enjoyed the end result because it showed that there was a point to what we were doing and the lessons learned were being applied and developed into new techniques and better operations.

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  30. #46
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    Hi there
    Well done, Scorpy, that's cleared up a lot for me. Quite frankly, there must have been a monstrous culture change in the Don to allow off-base ops to happen. I'm glad to hear that the place can actually deploy, with men and equipment, in a meaningful fashion. Sounds like the place suddenly decided to grow up!

    regards
    GttC

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  32. #47
    BQMS Meatbomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    Hi there
    Well done, Scorpy, that's cleared up a lot for me. Quite frankly, there must have been a monstrous culture change in the Don to allow off-base ops to happen. I'm glad to hear that the place can actually deploy, with men and equipment, in a meaningful fashion. Sounds like the place suddenly decided to grow up!

    regards
    GttC
    Yes I second that Scorpy. It's a relief to know that the AC hasn't lost sight of the military picture.

  33. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meatbomb View Post
    Well what needs to change then for AC management to up their game?
    ........................
    Last edited by sofa; 22nd January 2013 at 22:19.

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  35. #49
    BQMS Meatbomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofa View Post
    ........................
    Was there a question there or was it a finger stutter?
    The question still stands.

  36. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meatbomb View Post
    Was there a question there or was it a finger stutter?
    The question still stands.

    No not due to a medical condishion thank god.

    I just withdrew my comment, after reading Scorpy's excellent reply

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