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  1. #1
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    Pilatus PC-12 NG

    The first Air Corps PC-12 has made its maiden flight.



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  3. #2
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    Positive development. Hopefully there will be no unexpected delays.

    Very thankful that it isn't a god awful Cessna Caravan.

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  5. #3
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    The integration and testing of its mission role equipment in realistic test scenarios will be key.

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    2/Lt Bam Bam's Avatar
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    How are they being fitted out?

    Night optics and FLIR? Or is it reclining leather seats with an inflight drinks service?
    It is only by contemplation of the incompetent that we can appreciate the difficulties and accomplishments of the competent.

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bam Bam View Post
    How are they being fitted out?

    Night optics and FLIR? Or is it reclining leather seats with an inflight drinks service?
    Have you bothered to read the tender specification?

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  11. #6
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    For those of you who don't know, aircraft are commonly test flown and fitted out in the basic primer paint, as seen here, before getting the final paint scheme, before the very last acceptance event. By the look of it, it is still a Swiss aircraft and will not become "Irish" for a while yet.

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    Did a little bit of searching on this aircraft, and found that it's civil reg (HB-FSF) is used by Pilatus as a temporary registration for aircraft before it gets its final reg. This aircraft, serial 1795 (shown on the nosewheel door), was noted transiting through Prestwick > Reykjavik > Kangerlussuaq > Iqaluit > Thunder Bay > Denver (BJC) between May 30th to June 2nd, where Pilatus have an aircraft completion centre.

    Picture of the aircraft transiting Prestwick airport

    * https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/8967695

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    The aircraft will have all mission equipment installed in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    The aircraft will have all mission equipment installed in the US.
    Well that should dispel any lingering doubt as to these aircraft. In that case, the fit out will be done by the experts and it will be a very capable force multiplier.

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  19. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetjock View Post
    Well that should dispel any lingering doubt as to these aircraft. In that case, the fit out will be done by the experts and it will be a very capable force multiplier.
    i don't think there were ever any doubts about the quality of the installation, more about what was actually going to be installed...

  20. #11
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    It's one thing to install capable equipment, its another to verify it actually works under realistic testing scenarios

  21. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by meridian View Post
    Did a little bit of searching on this aircraft, and found that it's civil reg (HB-FSF) is used by Pilatus as a temporary registration for aircraft before it gets its final reg. This aircraft, serial 1795 (shown on the nosewheel door), was noted transiting through Prestwick > Reykjavik > Kangerlussuaq > Iqaluit > Thunder Bay > Denver (BJC) between May 30th to June 2nd, where Pilatus have an aircraft completion centre.

    Picture of the aircraft transiting Prestwick airport

    * https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/8967695
    Is that not rather a lot of miles to put onto a “new” airframe? (I know nothing about how these things work!)
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
    'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
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  23. #13
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    You keep saying realistic testing scenarios. Is this some type of buzzword you just discovered?

    The first aircraft is probably not far off 12 months away at this stage. Of course there is going to be extensive testing of equipment. The tender spec points quite clearly to having a heavy focus on interoperability with both the Army and NS.

    There are other operators out there, including the US who can offer insight into what does and doesn't work. This isn't reinventing the wheel.

    This aircraft and its mission is almost entirely new for the AC so of course there will be teething problems. Accepting a new aircraft type and the subsequent myriad of training syllabi etc etc is probably one of the most challenging things an air arm can do, especially for one that doesn't have endless resources and has significant HR and retention issues.

    This isn't like buying soft ordnance or clothing which the army routinely make a balls of. It is a little more complex.

    Your two posts on this thread contribute very little to the discussion.
    Last edited by Chuck; 8th June 2018 at 05:55.

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  25. #14
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    I wonder if it will end up like the Dauphins overloaded with rarely used kit. Or the Defender just overloaded. ISTAR is a great capability in a military with a real combat role.
    Still the PC 12 will be great for getting politicians to Brussels relatively cheaply.

  26. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by meridian View Post
    Did a little bit of searching on this aircraft, and found that it's civil reg (HB-FSF) is used by Pilatus as a temporary registration for aircraft before it gets its final reg. This aircraft, serial 1795 (shown on the nosewheel door), was noted transiting through Prestwick > Reykjavik > Kangerlussuaq > Iqaluit > Thunder Bay > Denver (BJC) between May 30th to June 2nd, where Pilatus have an aircraft completion centre.

    Picture of the aircraft transiting Prestwick airport

    * https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/8967695
    know little about aircraft but it looks like its all square segments riveted , not the smooth lines of a modern craft,,

  27. #16
    bosun
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    it will be the politicans plane no doubt,,otherwise we would not have it,,,

  28. #17
    Hostage Flamingo's Avatar
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    It does look more like an air taxi than a military workhorse.
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
    'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
    http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

  29. #18
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    Have a look at the specs

  30. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden rivet View Post
    know little about aircraft but it looks like its all square segments riveted , not the smooth lines of a modern craft,,
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    You keep saying realistic testing scenarios. Is this some type of buzzword you just discovered?

    The first aircraft is probably not far off 12 months away at this stage. Of course there is going to be extensive testing of equipment. The tender spec points quite clearly to having a heavy focus on interoperability with both the Army and NS.

    There are other operators out there, including the US who can offer insight into what does and doesn't work. This isn't reinventing the wheel.

    This aircraft and its mission is almost entirely new for the AC so of course there will be teething problems. Accepting a new aircraft type and the subsequent myriad of training syllabi etc etc is probably one of the most challenging things an air arm can do, especially for one that doesn't have endless resources and has significant HR and retention issues.

    This isn't like buying soft ordnance or clothing which the army routinely make a balls of. It is a little more complex.

    Your two posts on this thread contribute very little to the discussion.
    I appreciate your passion and obvious emotional investment in the project.

    I have no doubt the manufacturer will indeed test equipment in a lab and very controlled test range setting but will acceptance and payment be made after or before the aircraft is deployed in country with the assets it is expected to work with?

    My fear is that DF personnel will cave to the significant pressure that will be applied by the manufacturer/systems integrator to sign the acceptance contract before unacceptable links are ironed out.

    I forsee that the aircraft final payment and acceptance will be made before it is used in an operational setting and low and behold it will have significant "teething problems". Asking for them to be fixed will result in a significant extra fees not covered by purchase contract.

    Just because others operate them does not mean the likes of the US Military will share operational and tactical SOP with Ireland for free.

    Yes Army LTAVs spring to mind. But so does a myriad of other systems the Defence Forces have purchased that cut across all three services.

    Yes, the project is complex. So should the operational testing of the aircraft, systems and integration to the wider DF ISTAR network. Training and continued training support until operators from both Air and Ground services are up to task should be included in the purchase cost, not just flight qualifications. Then and only then should final payments be made.

    If this is a whole new mission set for the Air Corps and such a heavy point was made on interoperability with Army and Naval Service assets, has the DF reorganised it's organisational structure to accommodate this new aircraft? Is there a brigade joint intel fusion cell? What units will the personnel that will man this come from? Has CS4 / ECF changed to accommodate the new mission?

    As you say this investment is complex.
    Last edited by TangoSierra; 19th June 2018 at 21:34.

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  32. #20
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

  33. #21
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TangoSierra View Post
    I appreciate your passion and obvious emotional investment in the project.

    I have no doubt the manufacturer will indeed test equipment in a lab and very controlled test range setting but will acceptance and payment be made after or before the aircraft is deployed in country with the assets it is expected to work with?

    My fear is that DF personnel will cave to the significant pressure that will be applied by the manufacturer/systems integrator to sign the acceptance contract before unacceptable links are ironed out.

    I forsee that the aircraft final payment and acceptance will be made before it is used in an operational setting and low and behold it will have significant "teething problems". Asking for them to be fixed will result in a significant extra fees not covered by purchase contract.

    Just because others operate them does not mean the likes of the US Military will share operational and tactical SOP with Ireland for free.

    Yes Army LTAVs spring to mind. But so does a myriad of other systems the Defence Forces have purchased that cut across all three services.

    Yes, the project is complex. So should the operational testing of the aircraft, systems and integration to the wider DF ISTAR network. Training and continued training support until operators from both Air and Ground services are up to task should be included in the purchase cost, not just flight qualifications. Then and only then should final payments be made.

    If this is a whole new mission set for the Air Corps and such a heavy point was made on interoperability with Army and Naval Service assets, has the DF reorganised it's organisational structure to accommodate this new aircraft? Is there a brigade joint intel fusion cell? What units will the personnel that will man this come from? Has CS4 / ECF changed to accommodate the new mission?

    As you say this investment is complex.
    Well we know the airframe is sound and it looks like Pilatus could be doing the sensor fitting and integration which AFAIK they are experienced at. So I’d say that is all good tbh.

    We are also well experienced with Pilatus already.

    As regards to testing of integration with current DF systems, that may be possible given their functionality.

    The way these types of things generally work is manufacturer training will be provided for xx personnel initially (normally on a manufacturer’s site) and they will train everyone else (sometimes the others go to the manufacturer as well).

    The LTAV is a very different kettle of fish being very close to a bespoken Irish vehicle which was unproven.

    I’d be more worried about if there will be sufficient pilots and SAROs to crew them. With regard to operating with army/NS they are just another sensor feeding in, eg video feed to a laptop in C3 container.
    Last edited by DeV; 19th June 2018 at 23:49.

  34. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TangoSierra View Post
    I appreciate your passion and obvious emotional investment in the project.

    I have no doubt the manufacturer will indeed test equipment in a lab and very controlled test range setting but will acceptance and payment be made after or before the aircraft is deployed in country with the assets it is expected to work with?

    My fear is that DF personnel will cave to the significant pressure that will be applied by the manufacturer/systems integrator to sign the acceptance contract before unacceptable links are ironed out.

    I forsee that the aircraft final payment and acceptance will be made before it is used in an operational setting and low and behold it will have significant "teething problems". Asking for them to be fixed will result in a significant extra fees not covered by purchase contract.

    Just because others operate them does not mean the likes of the US Military will share operational and tactical SOP with Ireland for free.

    Yes Army LTAVs spring to mind. But so does a myriad of other systems the Defence Forces have purchased that cut across all three services.

    Yes, the project is complex. So should the operational testing of the aircraft, systems and integration to the wider DF ISTAR network. Training and continued training support until operators from both Air and Ground services are up to task should be included in the purchase cost, not just flight qualifications. Then and only then should final payments be made.

    If this is a whole new mission set for the Air Corps and such a heavy point was made on interoperability with Army and Naval Service assets, has the DF reorganised it's organisational structure to accommodate this new aircraft? Is there a brigade joint intel fusion cell? What units will the personnel that will man this come from? Has CS4 / ECF changed to accommodate the new mission?

    As you say this investment is complex.
    I think you may need to learn a little more about how contracts are established and the terms and conditions attached to them. A purchase contract and service contract are symbiotic. Pilatus cannot just wash its hands of responsibility once the final aircraft has been delivered and a significant support contract will feed into that. If something should work as per the gender spec and it doesn't, do you really think the DF are going to hand out money hand over fist to fix it as if it were their fault?

    Out of interest did you bother reading the tender spec? If so, which area or function do you see all these problems arising or which system requires the most "operational testing"?

    It is very simple, if something does not work as it should Pilatus are obliged to fix it regardless of whether final payment has been made. They arent buying a second hand laptop off DoneDeal.

    You have a lot of fears and forsee a lot of issues based on very little. The LTAVs are a disaster and as has been pointed out, are not a fair comparison due to their bespoke nature. I'd be interested to know what myriad of other multi million euro systems have been such unmitigated disasters in the last ten years.

    To answer your last question would compromise OPSEC which I am sure you are aware of which is why I will not answer it directly. However, I can assure you that significant changes are being made to CS4 to reflect the new aircraft and its mission. In addition there will be a several new courses for the AC and DF to facilitate and best make use of the new ISR ability. In addition, the relevant branches will receive direct tuition from the manufacturers relating to the use of mission equipment. Once this is complete it will be the responsibility of the branches to ensure that personnel are trained appropriately and to the correct level. A "train the trainers" program essentially.

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  36. #23
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    The AC and DoD have a lot more experience in contracts and dealing with manufacturers than in the bad old days when they bowed the knee to everyone. They have a very good relationship with Pilatus, right down to interpersonal contacts, which means that a seriously close eye is being kept on the airframe and the kit inside. I expect that a lot of the electronics in the mission kit is familiar stuff that is easily tested by technicians with field test kits once the antennae and computers are in place. If there's kit unique to the Irish, then that might require more tests.
    Apart from that, the manufacturer will train a basic number of pilots and techs per hull, usually 2 and 2 and it's then up to the DoD and Don to make more training available to the rest of the manpower. This is where issues might arise, as there is a certain amount of grief going around about the bond being imposed on people for getting courses and it might be difficult to muster the kind of manpower that an organisation would need to field a full roster, especially when you consider the kind of hours this aircraft might be expected to operate. Multiply that by three and it's going to get sporty. Perhaps individuals will cross train between Casa and PC-12 and be expected to roster across fleets?

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  38. #24
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    I'd like to think it would be used in that role. But I suspect it's more likely to be a runabout and air ambulance.

  39. #25
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    Well, if they get the full mission kit, there won't be room to swing a cat inside it once you add the screen watchers and their lunches. You won't be fitting in a stretcher and medical kit and medical staff on top of one or two back seaters,etc,etc.

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