PDA

View Full Version : Give Air Corps 'new job' over loss of rescue duty



andy
5th January 2004, 11:04
Give Air Corps 'new job' over loss of rescue duty
Tom Brady
Security Editor
The Irish Independent
5-January-2004
***********************************

PILOTS are demanding a new role for the Air Corps after the shock decision by Defence Minister Michael Smith to end its 40-year involvement in search and rescue missions.

The Air Corps was stunned by the announcement to privatise the Sligo-based search and rescue service weeks after senior staff had begun training new crew to take over the service in the north-west.

The Sligo mission was the last under Air Corps control. Other missions were earlier privatised in Dublin, Waterford and Shannon. It is expected the Air Corps will be replaced by the Canadian Helicopter Corporation, giving it a total monopoly here.

Mr Smith later insisted his decision had not been connected to a dispute involving Air Corps winchmen, which had involved an unusually high level of sickness, he claimed, and which cast doubts over the service's quality. Helicopter pilots see the move as the final blow to their sector, along with the cancellation of an order for medium-lift helicopters. Sources say the 36 helicopter pilots now badly need a new role. The pilots have recommended that the Air Corps seek an expanded role in Army operations. One senior source said last night: "We accept that the minister has put a lot of resources recently into the fixed wing craft. But he needs to implement plans to buy new helicopters and utilise the bank of experience that has been built up over the years.

"The Department of Defence introduced an incentive scheme to ensure that experienced pilots were retained and we had all worked together very efficiently in recent weeks to overcome the difficulties that arose with the Sligo service. The decision to replace us with a foreign private company came as a complete bombshell to us." According to the minister, the Air Corps will continue to train personnel to search and rescue standards. Mr Smith, who intends to procure a new fleet of light helicopters to replace ageing craft, said his decision was made because the Air Corps was unable to retain full specialist skills for a modern round-the-clock search and rescue service.

ex pat 007
5th January 2004, 19:17
Is it possible(plausable) that Smith opted to utilize a civilian company for SAR in order to concentrate funds on the purchase of a helli fleet that is only for army co-op?

Sluggie
6th January 2004, 18:56
WANTED:

New job for under-used defence wing with little apprecation of the real world outside baldonnel. Available monday to Friday 0900-1620, if it suits us. We are willing to take anything as we now realise that we have shot ourselves in the foot and that we will carry the brunt of any new defence cuts as we will not be able to justify our existance.

andy
6th January 2004, 19:11
if they got a heli fleet which were solely for army co-op then I dont think anyone in the army or air corps would be too sad to loose SAR. Whether the government gets a decent heli replacement is anyones guess. I can see the 2 medium lifts being bought for the wing as in fairness if the wing ever needed something they usually got it. What the aircorps and army REALLY need is a decent replacement for the A3.

Come-quickly
6th January 2004, 19:20
The Two M/Ls would be the AIII replacement.
They will allow the aircorps to limp along and provide heavuer lift than the LUH as required and train troops in air operations before they go over seas and rely on foreign aviation assets.

Groundhog
12th January 2004, 13:19
Sources say the 36 helicopter pilots now badly need a new role.

Yeah. Like flying something.