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

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  • #31
    Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
    Why would you base anything in Oranmore when there is a perfectly good functioning airport in Shannon, which already has the hangars etc.
    I understand they were offered the use of a new hangar at the Airport at the time, its a pity really as it would probably have saved the Airport

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    • #32
      Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post

      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?
      I think this gets to the heart of it really. I think we would all prefer that the DF have the funding, capability, and assets necessary to fulfill these taskings, but it quickly becomes a traditional public service funding issue.

      In my opinion, and from experience, there is one single advantage to contracting out services to private sector like this, and that is, it locks in the funding for set period of time. The gov or departments cannot cutback, short change or undermine services when there is a contract locked-in for 2,5,10, etc for €500m for example. When contracting out you are more or less guaranteed the level of service that you contracted for, and there are penalties for non-compliance, so if there's a employee retention issue, or problems with aircraft/equipment, its generally all covered by the contractor under the terms of the contract and not the state's issue (obviously it's built into the contract price, but it guarantees public spending to maintain the service, which sadly doesn't always happen when its publicly provided).

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
        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.
        If you are going to compare costs then they have to be on a like-for-like basis. Also it need not be new aircraft, for example the state could offer to buy the existing fleet of S-92's or source other second-hand aircraft on the market. Not all of those aircraft used by CHC were new builds nor do they have loads of SAR equipped S-92's just sitting around waiting for an aircraft to go U/S in Ireland. If they did then they would go bankrupt!!!!!!

        So to compare we need, 4x S-92's + 1x in maintenance + 1x emergency spare, which would cost around $117m for 10 year old aircraft (current rate of around $19.5m for a 10 year old S-92), that is €99m at today exchange rates, plus the aircraft will be good for another 20 years! Yes there are the operating costs to come on top but there is no need for a 10-20% mark-up for profits. And it need not be the AC that provides the service the state could have taken the 10 years to come up with an alternative like the Spanish SASEMAR.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by EUFighter View Post
          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.
          The reason I mentioned all the above countries is to dispel the belief that SAR provided by commercial companies is widespread when in Europe it is not.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by EUFighter View Post
            If you are going to compare costs then they have to be on a like-for-like basis. Also it need not be new aircraft, for example the state could offer to buy the existing fleet of S-92's or source other second-hand aircraft on the market. Not all of those aircraft used by CHC were new builds nor do they have loads of SAR equipped S-92's just sitting around waiting for an aircraft to go U/S in Ireland. If they did then they would go bankrupt!!!!!!

            So to compare we need, 4x S-92's + 1x in maintenance + 1x emergency spare, which would cost around $117m for 10 year old aircraft (current rate of around $19.5m for a 10 year old S-92), that is €99m at today exchange rates, plus the aircraft will be good for another 20 years! Yes there are the operating costs to come on top but there is no need for a 10-20% mark-up for profits. And it need not be the AC that provides the service the state could have taken the 10 years to come up with an alternative like the Spanish SASEMAR.
            You can't do like for like. You can only do that if you take CHC pilots off flying duties regularly to act in administrative roles, or train new SAR pilots. CHC techies must get the same pay as Air Corps Techies, and work the same hours. Maintenance can only be done at one location. CHC Do have lots of SAR equipped S92s lying around. They replaced R116 with an aircraft from Australia. They operate 46 of the type. To be fair, they could as easily have given us one of their 36 Super Pumas, until a new S92 was available.
            EI-ICG was built in 2011, delivered new in 2012.
            EI-ICU was built in 2006, Delivered in July 2013, having served with HMCG up to then.
            EI-ICA was built in 2006, delivered in 2013, HMCG before then.
            EI-ICR was built in 2007, delivered in 2013, HMCG before then, crashed in March 2017, was replaced by EI-ICS in October that year.
            Ei-ICD was built in 2006, delivered in 2013, HMCG before then.
            EI-ICS was built in 2014, delivered in 2017, Previous VH-NBP, Coastguard rescue Australia.

            Given that we got no replacement for Dh248, have no spare aircraft that can be diverted from other duties, and it took 7 years to replace the crashed PC9M, I don't think like for like is possible.
            German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
            German 2: Private? I am a general!
            German 1: That is the bad news.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
              You can't do like for like. You can only do that if you take CHC pilots off flying duties regularly to act in administrative roles, or train new SAR pilots. CHC techies must get the same pay as Air Corps Techies, and work the same hours. Maintenance can only be done at one location. CHC Do have lots of SAR equipped S92s lying around. They replaced R116 with an aircraft from Australia. They operate 46 of the type. To be fair, they could as easily have given us one of their 36 Super Pumas, until a new S92 was available.
              EI-ICG was built in 2011, delivered new in 2012.
              EI-ICU was built in 2006, Delivered in July 2013, having served with HMCG up to then.
              EI-ICA was built in 2006, delivered in 2013, HMCG before then.
              EI-ICR was built in 2007, delivered in 2013, HMCG before then, crashed in March 2017, was replaced by EI-ICS in October that year.
              Ei-ICD was built in 2006, delivered in 2013, HMCG before then.
              EI-ICS was built in 2014, delivered in 2017, Previous VH-NBP, Coastguard rescue Australia.

              Given that we got no replacement for Dh248, have no spare aircraft that can be diverted from other duties, and it took 7 years to replace the crashed PC9M, I don't think like for like is possible.
              Your right, I over-estimated the value of the CHC fleet,
              Reg C/N Value
              EI-ICU 92-0034 $15.85m
              EI-ICA 92-0045 $15.85m
              EI-ICD 92-0052 $15.85m
              EI-ICG 92-0150 $20.45
              EI-ICS 92-0259 $23.75m
              So the current CHC fleet is worth $91.75m, rather than $97.5m I had first estimated.
              And EI-ICS did not come from a CHC fleet of SAR helicopters on standby, is was obtained from Bristow Helicopters in Australia.

              The delay in the AC replacing lost aircraft says more about what has to change in the AC/DoD relationship more than anything. As for the CHC techies having to get the pay and hours of the AC should it not be the other way round seeing how so many people want to leave for better conditions in the civil side?

              As for CHC having loads of aircraft, this is no longer the case. Back in 2017 the offshore industry was in a slump and there was a glut of aircraft. This was one of the reasons why CHC went bankrupt. In fact the Airbus/Ukraine deal (55 helicopters for €551m/$643m) was based around a lot of H225's that were taken back from CHC.

              Comment


              • #37
                There is a long seated contempt towards funding the Defence Forces by successive governments. The same governments who have no problem at throwing millions at private companies, €700 million for a SAR helicopter service and €16 million for patient transfer aircraft.
                The problems with Air Corps SAR over the decades was always down to government underfunding. In the '60s the Air Corps wanted Whirlwind helicopters for SAR, they got Alouettes, in the '80s they wanted Pumas, they got Dauphins, in the 2000's they wanted S-92/EC225, they got nothing.
                Give the Air Corps €700 million and you'd have the best helicopter SAR service there is.
                CHC Ireland is able to pay their staff triple what Air Corps members earn for doing the equivalent job and still make millions in profit every year from taxpayers money.

                Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
                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.
                What is a long-range helicopter?
                Why would the Air Corps need 'long-range' helicopters but a private contractor only needs medium-range helicopters?
                Why would the Air Corps need double the number of aircraft that private contractor needs?

                A committee decided a number of years ago that what was required was five helicopters, with either three operational at three bases plus two in reserve/maintenance/training or four operational at four bases plus one in reserve/maintenance/training.
                Last edited by Rhodes; 27 October 2020, 13:56.

                Comment


                • #38
                  AC taking over SAR would mean purchase of min 5 medium lift & range Helis, with little time for crew conversion, build up of experience, would likely require min 3 shifts of aircrews working 24 hour shifts at 4 based (and not as alluded to available for any other duties).

                  That alone is 24 pilots.

                  There isn’t enough to do GASU and EAS as is.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    SAR SAR SAR SAR F***kin SAR. I have said it before and I will say it again.The AC is the Military Air wing of the state and as such needs to be taskable for Military tasks and the few remaining pilots we have should be trained to a very high standard for those tasks.

                    The AC is NOT nor should it be a a glorified Air ambulance or Coast Guard service. If all our Helis and pilots are tied up doing those tasks then they become all about those tasks in mindset and ethos. This is not the '60s when the AC were the only ones capable of doing the job of rescuing sailors or ferrying HSE patients. Let the civvies do those jobs. Like they do everywhere else.FCUK SAR!!!!!
                    "Let us be clear about three facts. First, all battles and all wars are won in the end by the infantryman. Secondly, the infantryman always bears the brunt. His casualties are heavier, he suffers greater extremes of discomfort and fatigue than the other arms. Thirdly, the art of the infantryman is less stereotyped and far harder to acquire in modern war than that of any other arm." ------- Field Marshall Wavell, April 1945.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by apod View Post
                      SAR SAR SAR SAR F***kin SAR. I have said it before and I will say it again.The AC is the Military Air wing of the state and as such needs to be taskable for Military tasks and the few remaining pilots we have should be trained to a very high standard for those tasks.

                      The AC is NOT nor should it be a a glorified Air ambulance or Coast Guard service. If all our Helis and pilots are tied up doing those tasks then they become all about those tasks in mindset and ethos. This is not the '60s when the AC were the only ones capable of doing the job of rescuing sailors or ferrying HSE patients. Let the civvies do those jobs. Like they do everywhere else.FCUK SAR!!!!!
                      For once I fully agree with your sentiment Apod!

                      If you remove EAS & GASU commitments, the reality is there is little to no domestic military requirement for heli support/troop lift etc. Hence being shoehorned into those two roles. Justifying existence.

                      Yes, its great for certain training and exercises but very little operational requirements on island, and the remainder are primarily ATCA/ATCP. Very little support to the Army and Naval Service.

                      Those two commitments are civil functions and should be tasked to civvies. It won't happen though as its established and an easy win PR wise.

                      The minister has said there will be no AC involvement in SAR and I cannot see it happening in any format.

                      There is absolutely no reason (staffing issues aside) why the AC cannot do the same job as ITALAIR in Lebanon. Yet no one seems to have any desire to do it, at any level. When was the last time the AC sent a heli to an exercise abroad? Has it ever happened?
                      Last edited by Chuck; 27 October 2020, 21:45.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Chuck View Post
                        For once I fully agree with your sentiment Apod!

                        If you remove EAS & GASU commitments, the reality is there is little to no domestic military requirement for heli support/troop lift etc. Hence being shoehorned into those two roles. Justifying existence.

                        Yes, its great for certain training and exercises but very little operational requirements on island, and the remainder are primarily ATCA/ATCP. Very little support to the Army and Naval Service.

                        Those two commitments are civil functions and should be tasked to civvies. It won't happen though as its established and an easy win PR wise.

                        The minister has said there will be no AC involvement in SAR and I cannot see it happening in any format.

                        There is absolutely no reason (staffing issues aside) why the AC cannot do the same job as ITALAIR in Lebanon. Yet no one seems to have any desire to do it, at any level. When was the last time the AC sent a heli to an exercise abroad? Has it ever happened?
                        Does a weekend jolly to Fairford count?
                        German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
                        German 2: Private? I am a general!
                        German 1: That is the bad news.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
                          Does a weekend jolly to Fairford count?
                          Even those are severely restricted, albeit not by the Military authorities. DoD civilians are the final approvers in that instance.

                          Therein lies an entirely separate issue.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            @chuck

                            Agree with everything you said apart from the below

                            Originally posted by Chuck View Post
                            If you remove EAS & GASU commitments, the reality is there is little to no domestic military requirement for heli support/troop lift etc. Hence being shoehorned into those two roles. Justifying existence.
                            There is plenty of on island DF taskings for helis (ATCA, ATCP, troop training, ad hoc taskings)

                            The problem is that they aren’t available because all the resources are put into EAS and AC (and the AC wasn’t given an establishment for EAS never mind strength)

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by DeV View Post
                              @chuck

                              Agree with everything you said apart from the below



                              There is plenty of on island DF taskings for helis (ATCA, ATCP, troop training, ad hoc taskings)

                              The problem is that they aren’t available because all the resources are put into EAS and AC (and the AC wasn’t given an establishment for EAS never mind strength)
                              Dev,

                              Perhaps I should've been more specific. What I mean is that there is very limited military functions currently to occupy a small heli fleet.

                              Bar the occasional 'airport to sandyford' run, there is zero military roles on island for helicopters.

                              There continues to be numerous overseas units who deploy without so much as seeing a helicopter. Granted, they are unlikely to be utilising them in the mission area but it would be nice to put a heli or two on the ground in the glen for the 2 week MRE wouldnt it.

                              Taking pictures of flooding, transporting ballot boxes and doing troop drills on the curragh plains aren't exactly taxing military aviation functions.

                              Its not so long ago that resources (aircraft hours, personnel and fuel) were in such short supply that recruit platoons from all over the country were bussed to Baldonnel to do a 3-4 minute flight to tick a box on their course.

                              Let's get real.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                This decision should be seen in a positive light, it is an opportunity for the AC to start to build itself into a Military Aviation Arm.

                                There have been decades, of holding onto hope for a Medium Lift SAR aircraft, and maybe a loss of focus on other possible roles.

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