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

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Chuck View Post
    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.
    There is on island military taskings that are not being completed due to lack of availability!

    You just stated so yourself

    Comment


    • #47
      Is it not also the case that the other military air arms who do Civil SAR/HEMS do so to keep their Combat SAR teams training relevent and up to date.
      It was the year of fire...the year of destruction...the year we took back what was ours.
      It was the year of rebirth...the year of great sadness...the year of pain...and the year of joy.
      It was a new age...It was the end of history.
      It was the year everything changed.

      Comment


      • #48
        Let's cut to the chase, no SAR, then that also means no EAS nor patient transfers, means no GASU etc, as these are almost all handled by civilians in other countries.
        Next comes Fishery Protection, this is also a non-military role and officially belong to the Dept of Agri. So it too can go to a civilian contractor for the air component, and the DoA can get some boats of their own without a 76mm to perform the civilian part of the role, no need to bother the Naval Service with civilian tasks like FP.

        Now let's come to the future and the replacement of the AW-139's, how will the AC convince the GenSec.
        GCO: "Ah Madam GenSec we would like 6 Blackhawk helicopters to replace the AW139's"
        GenSec: "Why do you need them?"
        GCO: "To transport troops and material"
        GenSec: "How many troops can they transport?"
        GCO: "8 fully equipped troops"
        GenSec: "So you want $300m to be able to transport 48 troops?"
        GCO: "But we need them also to do CasEvac?
        GenSec: "Is that not the same as EAS, which you do not want to do?"
        GCO: "Ohhh no, much different, it is only for military personnel"
        GCO: "But we can do other things like put out fires!"
        GenSec: "Is that not what the fire brigades are for?"
        GCO: "We can deliver ballot boxes to the islands"
        GenSec: "Have the AW139's ever been deployed on UN missions?"
        GCO: "No, in Mali the Germans provided us with heli-lift so we did not need too"

        Missions like SAR & EAS generate good-will in the general public, it is that good-will that is necessary to have any defence forces at all. Not only that, but stabilizing and transporting a car driver after a major accident or soldier with gun-shot wound require a lot of the same skill sets. Lifting a stranded climber off a mountain or inserting SF troops in difficult terrain requires the similar level of piloting skill. A lot of blue missions are very close to green, if one looks deeper.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by EUFighter View Post
          Let's cut to the chase, no SAR, then that also means no EAS nor patient transfers, means no GASU etc, as these are almost all handled by civilians in other countries.
          Next comes Fishery Protection, this is also a non-military role and officially belong to the Dept of Agri. So it too can go to a civilian contractor for the air component, and the DoA can get some boats of their own without a 76mm to perform the civilian part of the role, no need to bother the Naval Service with civilian tasks like FP.

          Now let's come to the future and the replacement of the AW-139's, how will the AC convince the GenSec.
          GCO: "Ah Madam GenSec we would like 6 Blackhawk helicopters to replace the AW139's"
          GenSec: "Why do you need them?"
          GCO: "To transport troops and material"
          GenSec: "How many troops can they transport?"
          GCO: "8 fully equipped troops"
          GenSec: "So you want $300m to be able to transport 48 troops?"
          GCO: "But we need them also to do CasEvac?
          GenSec: "Is that not the same as EAS, which you do not want to do?"
          GCO: "Ohhh no, much different, it is only for military personnel"
          GCO: "But we can do other things like put out fires!"
          GenSec: "Is that not what the fire brigades are for?"
          GCO: "We can deliver ballot boxes to the islands"
          GenSec: "Have the AW139's ever been deployed on UN missions?"
          GCO: "No, in Mali the Germans provided us with heli-lift so we did not need too"

          Missions like SAR & EAS generate good-will in the general public, it is that good-will that is necessary to have any defence forces at all. Not only that, but stabilizing and transporting a car driver after a major accident or soldier with gun-shot wound require a lot of the same skill sets. Lifting a stranded climber off a mountain or inserting SF troops in difficult terrain requires the similar level of piloting skill. A lot of blue missions are very close to green, if one looks deeper.
          Nonsense. The public couldn't give 2 hoots. Did the army get 80 APCs based on the public view that they'll be used as buses the next time there is a transport strike?
          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


          • #50
            The Air Corps getting ad hoc short term jobs is a good thing and is a good use of spare capacity and does add training value ... it is also a good use of public funds.

            The Air Corps being unable to do its actual tasks due to all resources being diverted to declared type tasks is a very bad thing as it means that they can’t do what they are supposed to be doing.

            The Government gave the EAS trial to the AC failed to provide extra helis, failed to provide any uplift in personnel and for a good while even made the AC pay for it!

            The only difference now is the AC isn’t paying the full costs.

            Comment


            • #51
              SAR, if done by Air Corps, should only be as a spare capacity. It should never have become a primary role, with all other military roles coming behind.
              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


              • #52
                Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
                Nonsense. The public couldn't give 2 hoots. Did the army get 80 APCs based on the public view that they'll be used as buses the next time there is a transport strike?
                This is a good point, the Army don't have to justify what the Fleet of Mowags do on a daily basis, nor do they have to look for ancillary roles for them

                Should be the same for the AC, the -139's should travel around in pairs, always have door guns attached and crewed appropriately, they should be at any event where a platoon or more gathers.

                If there is any space capacity after that, it should be used for training crews to the standard required and in sufficient numbers for the above mentioned events..

                If there is any space capacity in the fleet after all that, then other tastings could be considered..

                Same rational for the ISTAR aircraft and for whatever transport aircraft may be bought.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Charlie252 View Post
                  This is a good point, the Army don't have to justify what the Fleet of Mowags do on a daily basis, nor do they have to look for ancillary roles for them

                  Should be the same for the AC, the -139's should travel around in pairs, always have door guns attached and crewed appropriately, they should be at any event where a platoon or more gathers.

                  If there is any space capacity after that, it should be used for training crews to the standard required and in sufficient numbers for the above mentioned events..

                  If there is any space capacity in the fleet after all that, then other tastings could be considered..

                  Same rational for the ISTAR aircraft and for whatever transport aircraft may be bought.
                  Big difference is that the Mowags have and continue to be used on deployment, actual military usage.
                  The AC has never deployed on an overseas operation AFAIK. (A jolly to Fairford does not count).

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    There was a time when we had that with the A3. Any ex involving more than 1 bn got at least 3 to work with. They were fine light utility helicopters, and ended their service being used as such full time.
                    Some of our overseas ops in the past involved being transported by helicopters to a patrol start line, far from camp. Every infantryman should be able to operate from a helicopters the same way as he can operate from a Mowag. Dedicating Air Corps Helicopters to SAR removes that ability.
                    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


                    • #55
                      If the AC want or are tasked with providing SAR it has to be as a declared asset which means a completely different situation than AC ever had when they were previously tasked - dedicated aircraft, crews etc

                      That means those aircraft aren’t (generally, the very odd possible exception) available for any other taskings

                      To do otherwise will cost lives

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        If Ireland needs Air Ambulance - that's up to the money-pit that is the HSE to supply. Search and Rescue - Costguard. Gardai need an aircraft / heli? Gardai supply it and pay for it. VIP/Ministerial transport - enough private contractors are around, or set up a "mini-airline" with crews that don't have to be trained soldiers / airmen (with all the extra skill-sets and training required) and are just trained cabin-crew and pilots.

                        What's the point of having 20 helicopters on the Air Corps strength if they are all tasked with SAR and Air Ambulance? They still are not available for military use and never will be, they are just eating up resources and budget.

                        Leave the Air Corps to be a military arm. Not what seems to be the current situation where the Air Corps are providing military services on a trickle-down basis from whatever is left over after all the extrainious jobs. Using the extranious jobs to justify having an Aur Corps is only letting the tail wag the dog, and has resulted in the Air Corps being in the position it's in - viewed as a glorified Air Ambulance and Taxi service for ministers.
                        '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

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          The current "debate" if you can call it that is a huge dose of "wrap the green flag round me" by some politicians supporting the move.
                          They are pushing the patriotism of letting the state's military air arm tender for SAR, instead of giving the money to a foreign private contractor.

                          Of course the ideal solution here is buy the 5x S92 for the Coast Guard directly, and let them hire their own pilots and crew. Allow Air Corps crew to go on secondment to coast Guard Heli units for live SAR familiarisation training, while the Air Corps maintains its own military aircraft capable of CSAR. (Incidentally the Coast Guard tender specifically does not include CSAR among its functions).
                          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


                          • #58
                            SAR, MATS etc are all common functions done by military air arms in Europe, AFAIK there is not a single force that does not have some form of "civil" function.

                            So let's take the GASU, there is a SLA between the Gardai and the AC, the two H-135 helicopters are maintained and flown by Air Corps personnel.
                            The Air Corps also has two H-135's of its own, great then they can have common maintenance etc! No, the GASU aircraft have Turbomeca Arrius engines while the Air Corps aircraft have P&WC PW206 engines. So double the engine spares, procedures etc. Now lets say for the sake of argument, the HSE decides to get its own EMS helicopters, but for them the AW-139 is just a bit too big so they go for a couple of AW-109's (say 4). Same engine as the AC H-135's but a totally different airframe. Do that all really make sense?

                            Neither of the individual organisations would be able to justify having a spare helicopter on their own. But with a common fleet of 8 it would be easier to justify a 9th. Clear they would all need a common baseline with specific add-on's for their individual missions but the common parts could reduce the costs. Common avionics, common engines and common airframe. They could be all maintained by a single organisation (AC or civil), the AC would provide the pilots for their aircraft, they might have a SLA to provide pilots for the other agencies or at least train them. And a wild idea might be that GASU/HSE aircraft are flown and crewed by civvies who are then classified as reservists.

                            Now back to SAR, this too is a service provided by the state and given our SAR area best covered by a medium lift helicopter (10-15t class). The AC has a need for something a bit bigger than an AW-139 which was a big step-up from the A3. (A jealous eye was always cast north to the Puma's flying around Fermanagh and Armagh.) Would it make sense for the State to have here also a common baseline helicopter? Most likely yes, the Danes have a common platform for troop movement and SAR to which they have dedicated 3 of their 14 aircraft. Here could be the same principles as above, a single agency in charge of sourcing a common baseline aircraft with mission specific add-on. So 4 dedicated SAR aircraft, say 4 dedicated troop lift and 2-3 to cover maintenance/US events.

                            Clearly if all the functions were to be provided by the AC then its establishment would have to be matched to the new need. The costs being then split among the relevant agencies. This is a model that works in other countries already, with the military providing the equipment and personnel while a number of government departments pay the bills. What no-one wants is the AC providing all the services and having nothing left for military functions.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              I thought the GASU Helicopters where maintained by civil contractors employed by the AGS/DoJ (who own the aircraft), and that all the AC do is supply the Pilots and the Military Registration, with the exception of the Defender which is (or was) looked after by the AC?
                              It was the year of fire...the year of destruction...the year we took back what was ours.
                              It was the year of rebirth...the year of great sadness...the year of pain...and the year of joy.
                              It was a new age...It was the end of history.
                              It was the year everything changed.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by CTU View Post
                                I thought the GASU Helicopters where maintained by civil contractors employed by the AGS/DoJ (who own the aircraft), and that all the AC do is supply the Pilots and the Military Registration, with the exception of the Defender which is (or was) looked after by the AC?
                                Correct but I think Defender maintenance is also contracted out now

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