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Military Specification ???

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  • Military Specification ???

    Maybe someone can clarify this for me as it's been bugging me since the winners were announced?

    I've rechecked the original eTender information and it quite clearly states "Provision of Light Utility and Utility Military Helicopters... 2 Light Utility Military Helicopters mainly for pilot training but... 4 Utility Military Helicopters (with ...".

    Yet what has been chosen are 2 EC135s, the civil variant of the EC635, and 4 AB139 which will be fitted with specified military equipment, (probably similar to the Law Enforcement version with extras, as apparently the Military version is no longer being marketed, if you notice it's been removed from both the BAAC and AW websites).

    Now before going any further, my point is not that these aircraft are a bad choice, I've actually come around to thinking they are quite a good choice, I just don't understand why a military version was not specified in line with the original eTender? Apparently what was specified in the additional documentation to the eTender was for a "Civil Certified Helicopter". Is it just the cost factor, the civil version being cheaper than the miliatry one (is it?)?

    Mods if you feel this should be in one of the other threads please add it to the correct one.

  • #2
    Mil vs Civil

    Generally, to make a Civil Helicopter a Military one, you put it on the Military Register and paint a roundel on it. Then you can put in military radios, weapons, armour and the associated instrumentation, or not, as you see fit.

    In short, there is no magic 'DNA change' in making a military helicopter. To tell that all you have to do is look at the weight figures for comparable Civil/Military variants of the same airframe, basically the options on the airframe changes, the airframe itself rarely does.

    Some air arms either need or are in the lucky position to be able to purchase aircraft designed from the outset for military use (such as the UH-60), so you get crash proof seating, military radio fits and mountable mgs as standard (all of which can be easily retrofitted to a Civil type, albeit at a performance cost) and you also get integral armour (under the load bay/cabin), more robust fuselages and often much more robust rotor blades and rotor heads (all of which can't be easily fitted to a 'civil' type).

    Simple as that really. You pays yer money, you takes yer chance.

    As it happens, the AB-139 has the makings of being a very good purchase indeed, but it was never designed to be a military helicopter from the outset. Which means that its a compromise, unlike the UH-60. So what makes it a military version is whatever the Air Corps says it is.


    • #3

      Note: It should be noted that the term “Military helicopter” in the context of this RFT should be interpreted to mean either a helicopter specifically designed for military use or a civil helicopter type which can be adapted for the utility military uses specified in the RFT
      Thats what the tender says.

      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


      • #4
        Military Specification ???

        Don't wish to rain on anybody's parade but I was sure the tender for the new helicopters clearly stipulated that the helicopters would be military.

        If so, then why is the Dept of Defence ordering two EC-135? Surely the Air Corps should be receiving the EC-635?

        MOD Edit: Off-topic ranting deleted.