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  1. #51
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    It is quite easy to say good riddance to what in the populist view was a symbol of government excess and everything that was wrong with Irish society in an era of unaccountability. However, the reality is that the asset itself was a good compropise in capability for a country without the financial means to buy and support a larger state aircraft, providing the country with a long range short notice capability for diplomatic purposes, air ambulance, military casevac and evacuation of Irish citizens from trouble areas worldwide. It`s sale is a loss in strategic capability to the State.

    If we are to bemoan the excess and notions of Celtic Tiger extravagence associated with the aircraft a rational analysis must come to the conclusion that it was the relative flippancy with which requests for its use by ministers were signed off on by the Dept of an Taoiseach that should be the target for people here (who should know better) to direct their ire and not the aircraft itself.

    To dispel some misconceptions:

    1. It was not a drain on the Defence budget. It was bought on a multi payment multi year contract. There was no lump sum paid.

    2. Similarly sized and financed countries do not rely solely on commercial air travel for long range VIP transport. Portugal and Denmark retain long range biz jets in their inventories. Czech republic have an A318. Commercial air travel should long have been the primary mode of travel for Irish politicians on non time critical excursions. Again, blame the administrators not the aircraft.

    3. The interior of the aircraft was not lavish. It was very very modest by corporate jet standard.

    4. David Cameron flies commercial. Yes when possible and for State visits he will charter an entire 777 for his entourage, financially I prefer the GIV option. The British military retain a long range passenger capability for short notice requirements. In the form of various A330 MRTT aircraft.

    5. A contract with Netjets would be a more economical alternative? It's not always about financial economy. No matter how quickly an aircraft could be made available it cannot beat having direct access to your own aircraft. The obviously national callsign "Irish 251" opened ATC doors, whereas a Netjets callsign carries no weight.

    The aircraft should be replaced. It might not be the populist view. It is a huge loss in capability for a relatively modest aircraft. The eventualities for which it's loss will be felt most are rare but it will be sharply felt if and when they occur. While it may have been used as such in the past it is not solely a transatlantic capable state taxi. Glad to see Minister Coveney consulting across departments as it should be an inter-departmental purchase given it's inter-departmental uses. It should not come from the Defence budget alone.
    Last edited by Jetjock; 4th April 2015 at 07:43.

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  3. #52
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    Well said, JJ. It is also a matter of record that there were constant arguments about who should actually pay for the operation of the G. IV and the Lear as it was tossed around between DoD, DFA, Finance, Office of the Taoiseach and the Don and there were constant battles for political point-scoring because pols were fighting against civil servants. When we had the Fougas, they were effectively grounded as all funds were prioritised for the Gulfie and it got to the stage where the cheapest aircraft, the 172s, were taking financial hits and were grounded for want of parts. A lot of the infighting was repeated in the Garda vs Air Corps debacle over the operation of the helis and Defender and there was more with the saga of SAR, in which the Don did not cover itself with glory over manning issues. Personally, I'd have a VIP jet for all of the reasons you pointed out above, as long as it had it's own dedicated budget.

    regards
    gttC

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  5. #53
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Looking at tenders for overseas rotation flights....... for a battalion rotation you'd be looking for something like a 200+ pax capacity aircraft (with equipment). Meaning about 4 flights to rotate a Bn group.

  6. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Looking at tenders for overseas rotation flights....... for a battalion rotation you'd be looking for something like a 200+ pax capacity aircraft (with equipment). Meaning about 4 flights to rotate a Bn group.

    you are, imho, looking at completely the wrong of the stick in terms of what an airfift capability would be used for, and why you'd buy one.

    using a military cargo aircraft to fly people from one safe, commercial standard international airport to another safe, commercial standard international airport on a date you knew about 6 months in advance is about as wasteful, innefficent, cack-handed a practice as anyone could think of - its like using a 30MPG 4x4 to transport fuel, in the fuel tank, from one end of the country to the other.

    you buy it and use it to move people and stuff, usually bulky stuff, to either places a commercial passenger aircraft won't go (dirt strip in the arse end of the sub-saharan Africa, international airport in the middle of a two way range for an NEO), or - and this is where it touches on the MATS/AA function - doing a job at no practical notice. using a C-295/C-27J/C-130 to move people from Dublin to Beruit airports in conditions underwhich they'll walk out of the aircraft, get an ice cream and mooch around duty free would not only be somewhat inefficient, but ridiculously expensive compared to using a commercial carrier with an A330.

    if you pitch 'we need an airlift cabability' on moving troops from A to B every 6 months the DoF will do the sums of owning a military airlift platform and using it like that, compare it to commercial rates and laugh to such an extent that you'll get prosecuted for manslaughter.

  7. #55
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    Maximum utility should be a key input into the acquisition of DF aircraft (indeed this might equally be relevant for vehicles/craft)

  8. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    you are, imho, looking at completely the wrong of the stick in terms of what an airfift capability would be used for, and why you'd buy one.

    using a military cargo aircraft to fly people from one safe, commercial standard international airport to another safe, commercial standard international airport on a date you knew about 6 months in advance is about as wasteful, innefficent, cack-handed a practice as anyone could think of - its like using a 30MPG 4x4 to transport fuel, in the fuel tank, from one end of the country to the other.

    you buy it and use it to move people and stuff, usually bulky stuff, to either places a commercial passenger aircraft won't go (dirt strip in the arse end of the sub-saharan Africa, international airport in the middle of a two way range for an NEO), or - and this is where it touches on the MATS/AA function - doing a job at no practical notice. using a C-295/C-27J/C-130 to move people from Dublin to Beruit airports in conditions underwhich they'll walk out of the aircraft, get an ice cream and mooch around duty free would not only be somewhat inefficient, but ridiculously expensive compared to using a commercial carrier with an A330.

    if you pitch 'we need an airlift cabability' on moving troops from A to B every 6 months the DoF will do the sums of owning a military airlift platform and using it like that, compare it to commercial rates and laugh to such an extent that you'll get prosecuted for manslaughter.
    To some extent agree, and certainly when looking at the smaller airlifters and ranges over 1000nm they cannot compete at all, so IMHO the C-27/C-295 are out of the equation.

    The C-130 though is a different beast and in a different class with regards to payload range, if you look at the numbers when compared to a A-330 on an ad-hoc charter basis the economics aren't as off the chart as you might imagine and you have the inherent capability in house whereas the ad-hoc aircraft is a huge cost. Obviously if you operate A-330 next to C-130J on a daily basis the seat costs are massively in favour of the A-330, one only need to look at what it costs EI to sub-charter a 767 in when they have a 330 go tech and the equation changes as ah-hoc charter rates are very high.

    It strikes me that the six monthly standard rotation has been driven to some extent by the costs involved in troop rotation flights, I may be wrong. But having a capable aircraft that can move 80-90 troops on a weekly basis if required, changes the whole concept of ops. Having the aircraft also means troop deployments into more robust areas, (many places in Africa), are achievable and sustainable. You also acquire the ability to move large heavy equipment at short notice, the pictures of Mowags driving into a C-130 paint a thousand words. The reality is that for most other military's in Europe regardless of commercial airport to commercial airport, or military base to austere location, the troops travel in the back of military transport aircraft. Its a way to keep the utilisation up and keep the costs and control in house, there is a statistic that the average load in a C-130 is 6 Tonnes, and this may be true, but there are no military planners that would forsake the capability of the aircraft to have a higher load factor on a smaller aircraft.

    The case for a transport aircraft is a strong one, I just think it needs to be framed appropriately for the Politicians and Public opinion makers to be on board..

    I am not convinced of the Merits of a MATS aircraft, and I think the LR-45 is more then adequate for intra-europe flights, anything longer range is planned well in advance and there are plenty of commercial options.
    Last edited by Charlie252; 14th April 2015 at 23:07.

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  10. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie252 View Post
    ...The case for a transport aircraft is a strong one, I just think it needs to be framed appropriately for the Politicians and Public opinion makers to be on board...
    i'd agree absolutely, my point is that if you pitch airlift as being a more expensive, less comfortable, slower way of doing what is currently done by commercial charter then you'll not get very far.

    it has to be pitched as new capability, it has to give politicians something they want. that might be NEO capability, it might be greater support for deployed forces, it might be getting their face on an NGO website when they send a C-130 with 'IRELAND' in 12ft letters blazoned accross it to this weeks humanitarian catastrophe (cynical..?) - but has to give them something they don't have.

    now once you have airlift, and its used for taking heavy/bulky stuff to remote airstrips in Africa, or supporting an Irish helicopter detachment on exercise with the NGB, and you have a troop rotation coming up at time when your airlift is planned to be sat around doing nothing then fine, use it rather hiring a commercial carrier - as you say, it keeps costs in-house, provides flying hours etc..

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  12. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    i'd agree absolutely, my point is that if you pitch airlift as being a more expensive, less comfortable, slower way of doing what is currently done by commercial charter then you'll not get very far.

    it has to be pitched as new capability, it has to give politicians something they want. that might be NEO capability, it might be greater support for deployed forces, it might be getting their face on an NGO website when they send a C-130 with 'IRELAND' in 12ft letters blazoned accross it to this weeks humanitarian catastrophe (cynical..?) - but has to give them something they don't have.


    now once you have airlift, and its used for taking heavy/bulky stuff to remote airstrips in Africa, or supporting an Irish helicopter detachment on exercise with the NGB, and you have a troop rotation coming up at time when your airlift is planned to be sat around doing nothing then fine, use it rather hiring a commercial carrier - as you say, it keeps costs in-house, provides flying hours etc..
    There you have it, the key is that the aircraft is capable enough. Carrying a couple of tonnes with multiple stops enroute would end up being cosmetic only, carrying 18T or a Mowag or 70 troops, a couple of 105's plus crew or an EC-645 and you are on too something.

    Maybe this time around there might be a chance!
    Last edited by Charlie252; 15th April 2015 at 14:28.

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  14. #59
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    The DoD came to the conclusion a long time ago that a C 130 was the right tool for the job, for getting yizzer troops and vehicles into darkest Africa,etc,etc but also came to the conclusion that it would spend most of it's life either training or being serviced, more than one aircraft would be needed and that the political will to spend such funds was not there and that commercial air and sealift would have to do, or else blag space off the neighbours. It's an easy decision to make if you are also unwilling to move your helicopters and your artillery and your tracked armour out of the State, because if all you have to shift is humans, then an Airbus will do and a boat will do for the wheeled vehicles.....moving right along, it's round about now that they ought to start thinking about a replacement for the current Casas as they are getting long in the tooth and have very high hours and given the usual snails' pace of procurement, it's high time to start the ball rolling. You may yet see a MARPAT 295 as a replacement....

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  16. #60
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    I am not sure the DOD or the DF ever did a serious study into the area of a Transport Aircraft, I think you are supposing the Civil Servants answer to a question that was never really asked.

    The DF is focussed on a Cessna replacement, that may put any discussion here in context.

    For my money the MPA replacement should be the KingAir 350er, The 350 has more range, higher transit speed and a sufficient cabin for the Fishery Protection mission. The money saved would go a long way in other areas..
    Last edited by Charlie252; 15th April 2015 at 17:10.

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  18. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie252 View Post
    ...For my money the MPA replacement should be the KingAir 350er, The 350 has more range, higher transit speed and a sufficient cabin for the Fishery Protection mission. The money saved would go a long way in other areas..
    i suppose the crunch is would a move to the KA350ER for MPA free up enough money for a seperate airlift platform, whether rotary or fixed, or would a joint MPA/Airlift platform (C-295? C-130?) be a better buy?

    i don't know the answer to that question, i don't know enough about through-life costs of different platforms to make a judgement...

    while i could absolutely see something like C-295 etc.. being a useful and valued asset, i rather fear that once you got into the swing of having and using the miracle that is airlift, the short-comings of such a platform vs something like C-130 or A400M would become very quickly and gnawingly apparent.

  19. #62
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    In my mind two C-130J similar to USCG for long range Marpat and troop transport/overseas support/ HADR are the way to go, supplementing the C-235 MPA or maybe there replacements say four King Air 350i achievable capable solution. The C-295M idea isn't that much more capable than the current casa only an hour extra range and slight increase in payload, also the issues around constantly rerolling the airframe and the fact that three airframes can't be in can't be in four places doing patrol, transport, air ambulance, troop rotation etc. I Also believe sufficient maritime patrol aircraft should be purchased to allow for 24 hr top cover/air ambulance availability

  20. #63
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    The USCG have the HC130J Hercules which has the surveillance fit of their version of the casa but retains the transport capability.

    Just saying like

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  22. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    The USCG have the HC130J Hercules which has the surveillance fit of their version of the casa but retains the transport capability.

    Just saying like
    Our submission to the UN regarding the area of the Atlantic we claim, has extended the patrol area vastly since the time when the Casa's came into service.

    Just saying like.

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  24. #65
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    Nice to see the 295 mentioned again. Touched on this before but will fire it in again: Palletised Mission System! One air-frame, many roles.

    MPA to Cargo / Para in 45 mins and t'other way round, all the kit is plug and play as FLIR / Radar etc. etc. is fitted to the air frame as standard. Also do Intensive Care Unit pallets, comfortable seat pallets. Couple (or 3) air frames and various pallet systems and you get yourself an air force, for a hell of a lot less than a C 130 and about half the price (ish) of a C 27 J (per frame).

    For the suits fit a VIP pallet like the "Maximus" Designed to turn Cargo to Business.

    C 295 vid.



    Maximus (For C130)





    Obviously C 130 cross section is much larger than C 295 but applying the same mentality to the C 295 you would end up with something looking like this:



    Not too shabby?

    C 295:

    Range: with 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) payload, 4,600 km (2,500 nmi / 2,875 mi). With 6,000 kg (13,200 lb) payload, 3,700 km (2,000 nmi / 2,300 mi).

    Range: with max 9,250 kg (20,400 lb) payload: 1,300 km (700 nmi / 805 mi).

    Whats wrong with that? In MPA role it wont go anywhere near it's 20.400 lb payload!

    Of course I'm just thinking outside the box, or should that be tube? Went down like a lead balloon last time last time i mentioned it .
    Last edited by FMP; 16th April 2015 at 06:42.
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  26. #66
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    Ther'ed be too much fighting over the one window seat .
    Don't spit in my Bouillabaisse .

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    Whats wrong with the LR-45 for the MATS role, why does every other aircraft discussed have to have some adaptability towards MATS

  29. #68
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    The GIV had a larger capacity and longer range than the Learjet.

    What do you do if the Lear is U/S?

    Multi-role = flexibility = good VFM

  30. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    The GIV had a larger capacity and longer range than the Learjet.

    What do you do if the Lear is U/S?

    Multi-role = flexibility = good VFM
    All your achieving is forcing a Mission requirement on an aircraft that was not designed with that role in mind.

    You may get into the crazy situation where aircraft are sitting on the ground in case the Lear goes Tech!!

    The Lear is fine for Europe and ticks the short notice/high speed perceived requirement of EU membership, anything Long Haul is planned well in advance and there are many better and more cost effective options available.

    Buy three KingAir 350's have one in pax config, still cheaper then one C-295 airframe. Lots of flexibility, and VFM.

  31. #70
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    Casa 295 cruising speed is 300mph, half that of a jet. Part of the purpose of a MATS flight is speed of delivery of the VIPs, who are not going t want to sit in a slow Casa on a regular basis.

    King Air 350, even the extended range version has a max endurance of 8 hours, insufficient for our extended maritime patrol zone. Casa 235 crews would probably resign en masse if they had to shift to a much smaller cabin with much fewer facilities!

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  33. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
    Casa 295 cruising speed is 300mph, half that of a jet. Part of the purpose of a MATS flight is speed of delivery of the VIPs, who are not going t want to sit in a slow Casa on a regular basis.
    King Air 350, even the extended range version has a max endurance of 8 hours, insufficient for our extended maritime patrol zone. Casa 235 crews would probably resign en masse if they had to shift to a much smaller cabin with much fewer facilities!
    True the C-295 is too slow for MATS work outside of short inter-island trips. When compared to the C-295 The 350ier has an endurance of 12 hours, much higher transit speed, longer ferry range and much lower acquisition and operating costs.

    The cabin is fine for many other military operators who carry out long endurance surveillance missions with the aircraft, why would our guys be any different. The days of flying around blocks of air should have passed.

    Operators who are buying the C-295MPA for ASW need the bigger cabin for the significant increase in mission kit and the requirement to carry weapons, neither of which are requirements of the AC.

  34. #72
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Does a King Air MPA have crew rest space and have headroom to stretch the legs during those 8 hours?

  35. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Does a King Air MPA have crew rest space and have headroom to stretch the legs during those 8 hours?
    Cabin is quite spacious, similar to the SKA200 but longer. The Aircraft has become quite popular as a long endurance surveillance aircraft, it has been adapted in the ER model to be able to carry under Belly Radar, EO/IR and some other more esoteric type sensors on various aerials across the fuselage and on the wings and tail. They can even add a drop device for markers SAR etc.

    The ER has the gear of the 1900 to allow ground clearance for the radar and also has extended fuel tanks which provide the range/endurance.

    Given the possible extension of the EEZ, this extended range and higher transit speed would give it advantages over a C-295 type aircraft across the mission profiles.

    They quote ferry range of about 2400nm and endurance of up to 12hrs,

  36. #74
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    Does it have the capability to do air ambulance, MATS, etc

    Can it drop life rafts ? Flares?

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  38. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Does it have the capability to do air ambulance, MATS, etc

    Can it drop life rafts ? Flares?
    I am trying to make the point that by buying a jack of all trades you end up with a master of none.

    How many times have the CASA's dropped flares or life rafts for that mater? how many times have they been dropped in anger? Were they always carried, were the crews always kept current in their employment?

    Is the dropping of Life Rafts or Flares really a required function of the aircraft given that in the last 20 years the capability has NEVER been used?

    The answer is that the 350 can drop flares/markers.. Rafts maybe more problematic but then as I have pointed out it may be a red hearing capability wise.

    The aircraft would be a very capable MPA aircraft and would suit the top cover SAR role very well.

    I would think that a fleet of two MPA and one std 350ier would be cheaper then a single 295 airframe, you could even reuse the current radars.

    So you end up with a faster more role focussed aircraft and a fine General Transport, MATS sub aircraft for a reasonable outlay. You even reduce dramatically the training requirement on the MPA aircraft.

    So the AC ends up with three very efficient airframes that tick the various mission profiles required.

    if funding were available you can then look at either expanding the Heli fleet or looking at a capable airlifter.

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