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  • Heli-ops

    Does anyone know what the current scheme of ops for the army co-op role of the heli fleet is?
    It seems with our preponderance for lightly armed light helicopters we are operating along the lines of a 1950s/60s european continental airforce.
    Personally I see the most acceptable heli fleet as consisting of 6 medium lift helis, EH101 is the best aircraft possible to fulfill this role in irish service, divided between army co-op squadron deployed operationally outside or within the state (mostly outside) and an SAR/ fligh training detachment. The main tactical lift and combat utility aircraft would be a dedicated battlefield utility helicopter, I favour five AB139s, four army co-op, air ambulance. Supported by 5 A109Ms which would provide escort and light utility with a sixth for flight training.
    The AB139 and A109M would be deployed in packages of 3 AB139s and 2 A109ms armed with appropriate weaponry, while the EH101s would be deployed in two's with escorts provided from the A109Ms deployed with AB139s.
    The economy of sourcing all aircraft from one manufacturer largely cancels out the inneficiencies of operating multiple types, which allows greater flexibilty, the inneficiency of operating multiple types is relative to the variety of roles required, operating Gazelles, AIIIs and dauphins in nearly Identical roles does not make sense, militarily or economically.
    Using light heli's for light heli roles, medium lift high endurance craft for SAR and logistics, and battlefield utility craft for army co-op does.
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

  • #2
    I just realised..admin forgot to include a wish list section...
    The problem we have here,as we all know is not whether or not this type is better than that type or we need this before we need that etc.

    The real problem is that the Air Corps will always be forced to have a Jack of all trades role,which must be reflected in the aircraft type.
    In the UK,SAR helis are not expected to carry VIPs to openings of off licences or whatever..neither are Nimrods for that matter.
    Also much of the liason roles preformed by the air corps Cessna here is carried out by Army aircraft there. The BA may operate helis assisting police in NI,but you will not find military pilots flying Thames Valley Police around the place in aircraft operated by them.
    We have too few aircraft doing too many jobs.
    The Tasks currently operated by todays Air Corps on a daily basis include..SAR for DOMNR,Air Ambulance for Dept of health,Maritime Patrol for DOMNR,Air Support for Dept Of Justice,VIP transport for Dept of the Taoiseach,and all this is before we train any pilots!
    There is in fact no organisation or aim in the Air Corps Inventory.
    Worldwide the A3 is used for SAR,it is capable of doing the troop transport role also,but it is just too small to be effective.
    The Gazelle(singular)is a trainer or a vip transport,but is too small for comfort over long distances..useless for anything else.
    The Dauphin is a type wich typifies the Air Corps...Capable of doing many tasks,but none of them well. It was feted as having endurance to cover out into the 200 mile limit,but the weight of equipment it is expected to carry for SAR means in can pick up nobody once it gets there,as the MTOW is taken up with Fuel. It may be a good shipboard aircraft,but it never got a chance to prove it. The Red and white livery make it unsutable for troop transport,and the avionics are more obsolete than that on the A3,which was 20 years older!

    I could go on,but as it stands at the moment the only Useful aircraft,suitable for their task apart from the GASU craft are the Casa and even that is not being used to its full potential.
    So in answer to the above..there is no plan. The air corps will fumble along whit whatever they are given. A trend has developed that if you want something really badly,the government will not give it to you.
    Second HPV, Fouga replacement, Medium lift heli(first requested in 1982),Troop carrying Fixed wing,Dauphin replacement,25 Pounder,120 mortar...the list goes on...
    However things that have been given that were not requested as matter of urgency...GASU Fleet,Piranha,New PVs,Government Jets(all of them),Trainers,Anti Tank Missile....
    So the trick is ..if you really want something in the DF..DO NOT ask for it..If you ask youll never get it..a bit like Kit issue really..

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


    • #3
      Pretty much aware of that, but if we talk the subject to death it might actually shake the public into some sort of responsible citizenship, (we are the public by the way: maybe I can't run for office but I'll do my damndest to spread consciousness throughout the civilian population by word of mouth).
      With regards to the above post I must confess that it was a last minute surrogate after the site ate my much more considered and frankly mature original.
      I just pasted this one over from Irish
      The major issue at hand is that people are kept in a permanent frenzy about gridlock (has anyone thought to blame motorists for excessive car ownership and use?), Asylum seekers (if I was born in a shithole I'd emigrate too....Oh wait but this is one) and political corruption, but only the politicians who aren't corrupt in a media friendly way.
      Ireland is run much like the salem witch trials, therefore screaching about an impending defence forces related doom like a repressed 12 year old puritan girl isn't going to get too much individual notice.
      In my opinion support for the defence forces when it emerges is much like support for the national team....originating in expectation and expanding with each success, and much like a football side the DF needs a popular interest in the sport.
      How many of you here have actually given deep non-nationalistic or egotistical consideration to the need for an Improved A/C, a more easily accessible rationale is needed if we are to convey the need for defence investment to the public.
      Effective lobbying to political elites is more likely to generate a public backlash against the DF than gain them support, what is more important is the establishment of a prototype force which can demonstrate the inherent ability to do good that accompanies a capable military.
      Currently I'd guess that many of you can't find a non racist social liberal who supports massively increased defence spending and activity, and the fickleness of other voter groups makes them a key policy forming can convince half of the country that having F16s would be great but they'll be more concerned about short term wants than strategic needs.......blah blah blah.

      LONG STORY SHORT, think of very good reasons to have these things and CONVINCE your friends and colleauges that they are more important than stadiums mansions and an over padded civil service where the hardest working are not the majority of the best rewarded
      "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke


      • #4
        Sorry about the old verbal diaorhea too much time in the library mixed with the tosser over exposure of too much time in the gym.
        "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke


        • #5
          Forgiven.i like the thought line about socialism strategy and F16s.okay lets make the socialists happy and buy some MiG 29s reasonably politically correct.... superior to the F16 and sratecially wonderfull as India can't build enough of them.

          I think the F16 to be slightly overated.Single engined aircraft just don't have the get me out of trouble potential > the F104 starfighter being the perfect example .Everybody bought them but nobody could fly them9exceptthe Italians F104s).

          now look at the MiG 29 twin everything plus the ejectoion seat works....just lok at any airshow in the last ten years.

          Covid 19 is not over's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe


          • #6
            Courtesy of
            The MiG-29 is marketed worldwide and equals or surpasses the F-15C in several areas. The MiG-29's wings are swept-back and tapered with square tips. LERXs are wide and curved down to the front. LERX begins on the nose below the mid-mount point, and the wings’ trailing edges end at a high-mounted point. Twin jet engines are mounted low and to the sides of the fuselage. Diagonal-shaped air intakes give a box-like appearance. There is a large exhausts. The fuselage is made of a long, thin, slender body with long, pointed drooping nose. There is a high-mounted bubble canopy. The tail fins have sharply tapered leading edges, canted outward with angular, cutoff tips. Flats are high-mounted on the fuselage, movable, swept-back, and tapered with a negative slant.

            The MiG-29 is a widely exported aircraft, flown by Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Cuba. The MiG-29 has a few advantages over its more electronically advanced American counterparts. At about 40 miles apart, the American planes have the advantage because of avionics. At 10 miles the advantage is turning to the MiG. At five miles out, because of the MiG weapons sight and better maneuverability, the advantage is to the MiG. The weapons sight is a helmet-mounted system that allows the missile to follow the line of sight of the pilot's helmet. Where the pilot looks is where it goes.

            The US Department of Defense of the United States of America and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Moldova reached an agreement to implement the Cooperative Threat Reduction accord signed on June 23, 1997, in Moldova. The Pentagon pounced on the planes after learning Iran had inspected the jets and expressed an interest in adding them to their inventory. Although Iran already flies the less-capable Fulcrum A, it doesn't own any of the more advanced C-models. Of the 21 Fulcrums the United States bought, 14 are the frontline Fulcrum C's, which contain an active radar jammer in its spine, six older A's and one B-model two-seat trainer. This agreement authorized the United States Government to purchase nuclear-capable MiG-29 fighter planes from the Government of Moldova. This is a joint effort by both Governments to ensure that these dual-use military weapons do not fall into the hands of rogue states. From Oct. 20 to Nov. 2, 1997, loadmasters and aerial port experts squeezed two MiGs apiece, sans wings and tails, into the cargo holds of C-17 Globemaster III transports from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. The Charleston airlifters delivered the MiGs to the National Air Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. If the NAIC can discover how the Fulcrum works, Air Force pilots might gain an edge if they face the Fulcrum in future combat.

            The MiG-29K was initiated in 1984 as a Russian Air Force development program for a multi-role fighter, and in 1989 - 1991 the MiG-29K underwent tests aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser. The MiG-29K differed from the MiG-29 production model, featuring a new multi-function radar, dubbed Zhuk; a cabin with monochrome display and use of the HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) principle; the RVV-AE air-to-air active homing missiles; antiship and antiradar missiles; as well as air-to-ground precision-guided weapons. The MiG-29K program was revived in response to the decision of the Indian Navy to acquire the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier. This called for the provision of the ship with a multi-role ship-based arrested- landing fighter of the MiG-29K size. The ship's combat group will include 12 MiG-29K planes. The aircraft has a remote control system, large-area (42 m2 vs 38 m2) folding wing, adjustable center-line air intakes with retractable screens protecting the engines during operation from ground airfields, reinforced landing gear, hook, corrosion- protected reinforced fuselage made specifically for deck-based aircraft.

            Country of Origin CIS (formerly USSR)
            Similar Aircraft F/A-18 Hornet
            F-16 Fighting Falcon
            F-15 Eagle
            Su-27 Flanker

            MANUFACTURER Moscow Air Production Organization
            TYPE all-weather
            single-seat counter-air fighter
            attack capability

            Crew One
            Power Plant Two Klimov/Sarkisov RD-33 turbofans
            Thrust 22,200 pounds
            Wingspan 36 feet and 5 inches
            Height 15 feet and 6.25 inches
            Length 56 feet and 10 inches
            Weight (empty): 24,030 pounds
            Maximum Speed Mach 2.3, 1,520 mph
            Ceiling 18400 meters
            Cruise range 905 nm
            In-Flight Refueling No
            Internal Fuel 4000kg
            Payload 4000kg
            Sensors Slot Back radar, IRST,RWR, Balistic bombsight
            Drop Tanks Drop tank with 800kg of fuel for 90 nm range
            Ferry tank with 1500kg of fuel for 255nm range
            Armament One 30mm GSh-30L cannon with 150 rounds
            Six AAMs including a mix of SARH and
            AA- 8 Aphid (R60)
            AA-10 Alamo (R27T)
            AA-11 Archer (R73)
            FAB 500-M62, FAB-1000, TN-100, ECM Pods, S-24
            AS-12, AS-14

            User Countries Russia
            Czech Republic
            North Korea

            "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke


            • #7
              If you want to go into commie deamland maybe our new Stalinist masters will pick us up a few of these if they ever get them into production

              It's a modern battlefield utility helicopter that promises to be a match for the Blackhawk or AB139, if only they can come up with the money...
              Should someone tell Joe Higgins that communism didn't work out?
              "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke


              • #8
                Not Russian gear!

                While I remain unconvinced of the need for fighters in the F16 class, particularly while we don't have a medium lift helicopter in service or on order and while the Air Corps is in such need of re-organisation, what ever way you look at it, Russian gear would be a big no no.

                Leaving aside the difficulty in getting parts or service, and the pathetic MTBF of most Russian gear, and the fact that its generally about 10-15 years behind that of the NATO/Western countries, the need for interoperability with other European countries rules it out anyway. I know some EU countries have purchased Russian stuff (Greece in particular) but they have cultural and financial reasons for doing so. And they've bought very particular pieces which they felt there was no competitor for.

                This is also a good argument aginst the L-39ZA btw, even though that isn't a combat aircraft and could never really be deployed abroad.

                Not sure how Joe Higgins feels about the recently capitalised Russians either, he may well feel that they are traitors to international socialism, merely imperialist lackeys ...

                Either way, its highly likely that anything that is purchased for the defence forces will be of European origin, or failing that, and in special cases, of US origin (Javelin).


                • #9
                  We could buy these Mig's and be mentioned in the same breath as those wonderful states such as Iraq, North Korea, Cuba and Yemen. I think our yankee friends would be dead impressed!
                  You're even dumber than I tell people

                  You might have been infected but you never were a bore


                  • #10
                    Was waiting for an aeroplane yesterday , and I popped into a newsagents. Picked up flight international and read that the british are looking to replace their Lynx helicopters in Northern Ireland. Except that they're not going to be buying a repalcement, rather their looking to leasing them, and while the helicopters will be military crewed and registered and equiped with certain sensors of a military nature, they'll be essentially civilain machines, owned by the private sector; the comany selected will provide eight helicopters with the possibility of supplying up to eleven as needed, and will look after maintenance. While this suggests an awful lot about long term british intentions in northern ireland, it may indicate an option the department will take in the future. Given that air corps assets will not be deployed overseas rules out the need for armed helicopters or those built to military standards to resist anti-aircraft fire, the department might opt for this option, and bring in civilian pilots.


                    • #11
                      As for Russian gear, lots of the Greek stuff is former east german, apart from their hovercraft, which Greece acquired to defend their islands in the Aegean and if necessary to retake them from the Turks, part of the long standing Greek desire to maintain naval superiority over Turkey, given that it was decisive in the war of 1912 and later in the 1920's, (if you're even in Athens, go to see the old Cruiser the Averof which is moored in the Piraeus, its one of the very few Pre-World War One Warships still in existance, and has an unusual history, in that it was paid for by money left in the will of George Averof, an extremly wealthy architect who also financed the first Olympics in 1896, hence the name.


                      • #12
                        First of all the whole mig 29 thing was a pisstake, you may note that the original post poorly realised as it was was about a more effective heli-fleet.

                        Paul G, you bring sad news this is sure to lead the DOD to further civilianisation of DF aviation, and ergo the further disintegration of the DFs already token war fighting role.

                        Apart from that depressing note it's nice to hear from you again.
                        "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke


                        • #13
                          Come quickly

                          I didn't say it would happen here, I just reported what I read, draw what conclusions you want. And stop complaining about spending too much time in the library, they were all closed last week, so how you were in one is beyond me.


                          • #14

                            The idea of some form of a PPP has been broached before for the Medium lift heli contract. Theres a degree of resistance to the idea in defence circles, but its been mentioned recently by the Minister (quoted elsewhere on this board I think) as being the most likely option.

                            I'd imagine that the idea is that it'd run on very similar lines to the British idea, the Govt lease the aircraft and sign a maintenance contract. I'd imagine the AC would/will fight tooth and nail to keep their pilots involved though.

                            Given the fact that the medium helis would be by far the single most expensive contract in the history of the DF (right?), its unsurprising that those in charge would baulk at the cost. Its possible that the support heli (AIII replacement) contract, if it ever surfaces, would be a straight purchase though, mainly to placate those who fear the ongoing demilitarisation of the AC ...

                            The Greeks also have some fairly modern Russian SAM systems (9K331 Tor-SA-15 GAUNTLET). Finland also has quite a lot of Russian gear, but then they've a slightly more unusual history ... interesting to note that when given a choice between (very cheap) Mig 29s and F/A-18Cs, they went with the American product.


                            • #15
                              Two days in a library can be a long time.
                              I did draw conclusions, it's no secret that the defence policy is to avoid having any sort of military capability orr any public expectationof one, the GOVT is quite comfortable with the ah well we're only Ireland attitude that prevails....peace protests are much cheaper to run.

                              I'd say that apart from growing western prevalence in strategic matters (Finland had always straddled the line during the cold war) the issue of a relaible supply of parts was a major influence on the Finnish deal, unless you are going to license build domestically Soviet aircraft are at a disadvantage in the competitions because of the precarious economic and hence production situation in the country of origin.

                              Any way thid was supposed to be about helicopters
                              "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke