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No Role for the Air Corps says Minister for Defence in SAR

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  • #16
    Originally posted by apc View Post
    They do it because it was a lot less hassle from an IR point of view for the Gardai to train, pay and maintain their own Pilots, plus it gave the Air Corp an opportunity to build hours. Pay is Pay, as you know the Garda pay was negotiated over the years, Blue Flu included hence why they did not want to go down the Road of having a Pilot Role considering the issues it would have created with Rank and Pay.

    I was just amazed to see the swing towards SAR and Air Ambulance especially when on other threads before people (and some of the same people) were much in the arena of Military Helicopters for Military use, they shouldn't be used for Air Ambulance.
    Personally I think the more roles the Defences forces take on the better, future proof and indispensable. They should do SAR, Air Ambulance etc.
    Ger Craughwell has taken up the torch now, and is currently debating with Chris Reynolds abut why he thinks the Air Corps could do it as good in at least 1 location with current equipment.

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    • #17
      Ger Craughwell has taken up the torch now
      he's a clown

      It must be remembered that on two occasions where lives were lost in the past decades inability to provide top cover and air corps mismanagement were considered as potential contributory factors to the losses.

      By including the Aer Corps in any future prime supplier of Coast Guard assets their prime role as support to the army is removed. It won't matter what machines are supplied as the DF are haemorraging qualified people and will in time have difficulty putting machines in the air just as the NS have putting ships to sea. This fact featured in both events mentioned above.

      Until the AC can operate in their current role unhindered by manning difficulties ,despite the best of intentions they are not suitable to be considered for any SAR role.
      Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

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      • #18
        The military system is too inefficient to be successful at civilian SAR because it consumes too much manpower, just to run itself; is too tied to a rank/promotion/career system, moves personnel on/about needlessly, is tied to an inefficient, bureaucratically stifled stores and supply system and the retention of trained staff is abysmal.
        Civilian SAR is characterised by the longevity of service of its personnel,especially in the UK, when you had people quit the military to join civil SAR after get fed up with being constantly moved around.Military SAR worked in the UK because it was essentially allowed to run itself, with minimal interference from the mainstream RAF and a lot of the RAF hierarchy wanted to chop it in favour of combat programmes, but it still needed a huge manpower base and the infrastructural demand on the system was huge. Quite how Mr Craughwell thinks a small air arm with too few helicopters, a constant drain of skilled people, tied to one air base, is capable of national SAR, especially over the huge maritime zone, is beyond me. Just throwing money at it isn't solution enough.

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        • #19
          I see Chris Reynolds explain that when the Dublin S92 crashed, CHC were able to replace it soon after with one of their own aircraft that came from Australia.
          Dh248 was never replaced.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
            I see Chris Reynolds explain that when the Dublin S92 crashed, CHC were able to replace it soon after with one of their own aircraft that came from Australia.
            Dh248 was never replaced.
            There is that issue as well, I mean how long was it before the lost PC9 was replaced?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Sparky42 View Post
              There is that issue as well, I mean how long was it before the lost PC9 was replaced?
              7 years.

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              • #22
                well, given that they had seven left, which was easily more than enough for the tasks in hand, sorting a replacement probably wasn't a huge priority.

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                • #23


                  Flying in Ireland 25/10/20: Full Article

                  Originally posted by Graylion View Post
                  I'd repur[ose 5 of the AW 139 to Air Ambulance, buy some Cougars/EHI-01/S-92 for maritime SAR and then some choppers (NH90?) for the role the 139s are currently fulfilling, but with plans and option for forward deployment in UN missions
                  Would think the minimum change scenario the Air Corps and DoD should have been interested in would be 6/7 S-92s for SAR, leaving 2 available for HADR/Peace Support deployment with/without the Navy's new EPV. Would be suprised if this concept was not at least broached, given current alignment between Defence & Foreign Affairs. We can debate the finer detail, but surely if synergies between DFA and DoD are not to be seized and driven now, then when?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by The Usual Suspect View Post


                    Flying in Ireland 25/10/20: Full Article



                    Would think the minimum change scenario the Air Corps and DoD should have been interested in would be 6/7 S-92s for SAR, leaving 2 available for HADR/Peace Support deployment with/without the Navy's new EPV. Would be suprised if this concept was not at least broached, given current alignment between Defence & Foreign Affairs. We can debate the finer detail, but surely if synergies between DFA and DoD are not to be seized and driven now, then when?
                    There isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that the DOD would ever even consider such a program, the AC was taken out of the SAR role years ago and isn’t going back, not too mention other nations are doing the same.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Sparky42 View Post
                      not too mention other nations are doing the same.
                      Just how many other EU nations have contracted their SAR to private companies?

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                      • #26
                        Other EU countries outsourcing SAR

                        Originally posted by EUFighter View Post
                        Just how many other EU nations have contracted their SAR to private companies?

                        http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/...-competitions/
                        "Why am I using a new putter? Because the last one didn't float too well." -Craig Stadler

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                        • #27
                          So the only other EU country using a private company are the Dutch, with two light twins.
                          Even the contract mentioned for Norway is only for a local service in Tromsø, Svalbard. In Norway the provision of SAR is done by the RNoAF on behalf of the Coastguard withbSea Kings which are being replaced by AW-101's.

                          In the following EU countries SAR is provided by the military or directly by another state agency;
                          Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria & Romania.

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                          • #28
                            The main problem is for the most part those countries have a squadron, or Squadrons, dedicated to SAR. When the Air Corps did it, the squadron had a range of other rotary wing tasks too. For years the RAF 22 operating Wessex and 202 squadron with their Sea kings were familiar sights around our coastline. You didn't see either squadron being used to haul VIPs about, or go dunking for Submarine's in the North Sea.
                            I believe while Norway has aircraft provided by RNoAF, the medical crew are Civilians. (similar to how the Athlone Air Ambulance is operated).
                            Speaking of the Athlone Air Ambulance, remember this time last year when the Athlone air corps operation was so short of pilots, the HSE replaced the aircraft with a private aircraft, funded by charity?
                            There has been almost 60 years of Irish Experience of the Air Corps getting the absolute minimum required to do the basic, absolute basic level of SAR. Appeals from the coastal, island, shipping and fishing community for just one long range SAR heli fell on deaf ears. Air Corps crews did their best for years with the A3, best suited for overland SAR, and of limited use during the hours of darkness. It was OK though, because being the Independent nation we are, we knew our former Rulers in the UK would send their Air Force or Navy to help us out. When you heard "Top cover" on media reports, it was usually followed with "provided by RAF Nimrod".
                            I remember one incident when the US sent Super Jolly's (fuelled mid air) to deal with a rescue off our waters, as it was too large for the RAF to deal with, their helis not having HIFR. And of course the assholes complained about US military using our airports (after the incident).
                            Up to the mid 90s, Baldonnel was the only base for Air Corps SAR. First using the single engine, VFR only A3, later on the "All Weather" Dauphin "that could fly by night". We had a total of 5, 2 of which were supposed to be Naval Aircraft. The Flaws of the Dauphin in irish SAR are (hopefully) well documented, should we say it's weaknesses in the role directly led to the death of 4 of our finest and leave it there? For a very short while the Air Corps managed to base a Dauphin in Shannon for SAR. With the inability of the DoD to properly fund the DF for Search and Rescue, the Dept of Marine decided to contract it out, and an S61 was made available, initially by Irish Helicopters, later on by Bond, or CHC Scotia. With no extra funding, the Air Corps was encouraged to provide daytime SAR at Finner and Waterford, using existing A3. With much publicity, a 24 hour service was made available in Waterford, with Ultimately tragic results, on the day of it's introduction. Waterford became the second Coastguard S61 base soon after.

                            Keep in mind, at all times during these episodes, our Area of responsibility around our coasts remained the same. As citizens of the EU, we enjoy being able to let our fishermen work out to the 200 mile European EEZ. One would expect that on accession, when we decided to get longer range Naval OPVs to protect our fish, someone would have made the same consideration for long range aircraft to protect our fishermen?

                            If the Air Corps are to do SAR, then it can only do so if dedicated LONG RANGE helicopters are made available. Anyone who suggests a short range aircraft for the east coast is the kind of person who would most likely kick your dog. The people who think the AW139 is just fine for SAR are more keen on flagwaving than lifesaving. 4 Bases minimum, 2 aircraft at each. The second aircraft alternating between use for training new crews or maintenance. The priority being 4 aircraft at 4 bases always available, Minimum. Fixed wing Top cover 24 hrs a day is also a must, so whatever aircraft you decide to use, be it SKA350, Lear or Casa, base it at a 24 hour airport.

                            So 8 x S92 or equivalent at about €40m each plus 2x SKA 350 @ €8m each. So maybe just under €400m outlay to replace the private operator providing the service (for 10 years at €500m, including trained crew and technicians). Yes CHC only operate 5 S92 in Ireland, but they also have a large fleet of spare aircraft they can draw from should one aircraft go U/S. They also know that in the event of a major incident, the Air Corps are there to provide certain support using their existing aircraft. If you decide to give the contract to the Air Corps you no longer have that luxury, hence extra aircraft.
                            Since the last contract was signed, CHC have replaced their S61 fleet with S92 around the 4 bases. If we are happy spending €400m to provide state owned SAR, can we do so in the knowledge that in 20 years or less, we will have to spend a similar amount to replace the aircraft in service.
                            In addition to providing all the other things a military air arm is supposed to provide?

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                            • #29
                              I remember talking to a Coastguard person when the bases were set up he could not believe that there was going to be no base in Galway, he was under the impression that 115 would be in Galway 118 in Sligo 116 in Dublin and 117 in Cork.

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                              • #30
                                Why would you base anything in Oranmore when there is a perfectly good functioning airport in Shannon, which already has the hangars etc.

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