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Agusta Westland AB139 for Irish Air Corps

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  • Originally posted by Tadpole View Post
    This was never a realistic figure for the Air Corps and has nothing to do with cutbacks. Firstly the Air Corps didnt need 3600hrs per year from its fleet even if they could attain 600hrs per airframe per year.
    Secondly with maintenance practices the Air Corps never ever had a hope of getting 600hrs per year from an airframe. Hence the fleet hours requirement was unrealistically increased to get more airframes to compensate for poor maintenance practices. This now leaves them severely under utilised, even in comparision to the Air Corps own stated requirement.

    Proof is in the pudding; approx 33% serviceability and 1000hrs per year between 6 airframes.

    Interestingly they did they same with the PC9s. 8 airframes each capable of 800hrs per year. 6400hrs per yr for training in the Air Corps??? They only recently broke 10,000hrs in total.

    Edit: Just checked. 10,000hrs in Jan 2011. 10,000hrs, 7 years and 8 aircraft; 1428hr per year; 179hrs per aircraft per year
    So who has been sacked for wasting all those millions of taxpayers' money?


    • Originally posted by Seanachie View Post

      Can europe not build helos any more?

      What was the story with merlins?.

      Lewis Page

      Canada has snapped up a rejected fleet of US presidential helicopters, intending to break up the choppers for spare parts to keep its own search-and-rescue aircraft flying. The British forces may wish they had struck such a deal, as they too operate the "Merlin" copter in large numbers - and they too have severe difficulties in getting parts.

      The helicopters sold to Canada are the so-called US101 version of the EH101 aircraft developed during the 1980s and 1990s in the UK and Italy by companies which are now grouped as AgustaWestland. The UK forces, after massive delays and cost overruns, eventually received two versions, both known as "Merlin" - a naval submarine-hunting variant and a cargo or troop-carrying one for the RAF. Both types finally reached frontline useability around 2004-2005, but their availability rates have been poor: perhaps due to the fact that the Merlin didn't sell well worldwide and thus parts were at a premium.

      However the Merlin did sell to the Bush administration, which was seeking to replace its ageing VH-3 Sea King presidential helicopters operated by the US Marines (the president's chopper becomes "Marine One" when he is aboard, just as his airforce-operated plane becomes "Air Force One"). But the US101 project, managed by Lockheed on behalf of AgustaWestland, soon became mired in cost and time overruns every bit as bad as those which had hit the Royal Navy's HM1.

      The plan might well have been doomed from the outset, with requirements calling for 14 VIP seats, hardening against electromagnetic pulse, an executive washroom and communications equivalent to "a flying Oval Office" - a pretty big ask for an aircraft which can only lift four tonnes in its RAF cargo-carrying incarnation*.

      The US101 problems became bad enough that each new Marine One copter was projected to cost as much as an Air Force One jumbo jet, and the costs became an issue in the presidential election - with both Mr Obama and his opponent John McCain vying to issue the strongest condemnation of the aircraft. Obama in particular described it as "procurement amok", and unsurprisingly it was axed as soon as he took office.

      Now the Canadians, who also operate the EH101 under the name "Cormorant", have snapped up the former presidential fleet of nine aircraft for $164m.

      "This package is considered an excellent one-time opportunity for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces to address long-standing CH-149 Cormorant fleet availability issues related to the availability of spare parts," a Canadian defence spokesman tells the Ottawa Citizen.

      Canada has struggled to keep its Cormorants in the air, finding that it needs a fleet of 18 aircraft to do the same work that was formerly done by a smaller number of copters.

      Britain has also seen unimpressive availability from its Merlins. No more than four or five have generally been available for use in Iraq and now Afghanistan out of a fleet of 28, despite the hosing-down of maker AgustaWestland with extra support cash. The British forces, with their desperate lack of helicopter lift, may very well be wishing that they'd snapped up President Obama's rejects ahead of the Canadians. ®

      *The Royal Navy HM1 also fails to impress in the matter of lifting power, being unable to get airborne vertically or achieve a hover when fully loaded with weapons and fuel. At sea, its carrying ship must steam so as to provide a suitable wind over the deck: ashore a pilot must taxi forward rapidly to get airborne fully loaded. (Helicopters generate more lift when their rotors are beating air which they haven't already churned up, which is why forward motion through the air reduces power requirements.)


      • Hey lot of jumping to conclusions here. The 139 may have its problems but no more so than recent S92 gearbox issues for example.

        As for the Irish tender process for the utility helicopter the Blackhawk was never a runner for political concerns. Shame really.
        Last edited by Pure Hover; 1 September 2011, 08:52.


        • AW139 gunnery

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


          • Nice vid. Wish they would change the sound track.


            • Italian Air Force’s HH-139A Enters Operational Service


              Italian Air Force’s HH-139A Enters Operational Service .08/03/2012

              AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the first of ten Italian Air Force’s HH-139A medium twin engine helicopters has entered operational service. A ceremony held today at Cervia Air Base marked this achievement. These helicopters will supplement ageing HH-212 and HH-3F helicopters in the role of search and rescue operations across the nation. The remaining HH-139As will be delivered to the Air Force by the end of this year and are the first examples of the AW139M dedicated military variant to be delivered.

              Bruno Spagnolini, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland, said at the ceremony “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate the operational readiness of this new aircraft, twenty years after the last helicopter was delivered to the Italian Air Force. This significant event is the first major step in support of the service’s modernization programme which will also see the HH-101 “CAESAR” replacing the HH-3F Pelicans in the Combat SAR role. The HH-139A will complement the HH-101s whilst providing a quantum leap forward in operational capabilities and cost effectiveness compared to the present fleet of HH-3Fs and HH-212s.” The HH-139A has been selected as an interim solution for the Italian Air Force’s SAR fleet replacement and modernization programme. The all new AW149, now under development, has been designed to meet a potential Italian Air Force requirement for a new medium class SAR helicopter with certification expected in 2013.

              The Italian Air Force joins a number of other military customers who are already operating the AW139 including the Irish Air Corps, the United Arab Emirates Air Force and the Qatar Armed Forces. The Italian Air Force’s HH-139A features an all new heavy duty landing gear providing higher ground clearance and improved crashworthiness, secure communications suite including IFF and an integrated defensive aids suite. The aircraft is also equipped with the following role equipment - rescue hoist, search light, wire cutters, nose mounted FLIR, cargo hook, loudspeaker system and emergency floatation gear. The only new generation helicopter in its weight class, the AW139 sets new standards of performance and has the largest cabin in its category. The AW139 has a maximum cruise speed of 165 knots (306 km/h) and a maximum range in excess of 570 nm (1060 km) with auxiliary fuel tanks. The aircraft has outstanding one engine inoperative capabilities, even in hot and high operating conditions. The advanced integrated cockpit minimises pilot workload allowing the crew to concentrate on mission objectives. Almost 170 customers from over 50 countries have ordered nearly 620 helicopters to perform a wide range of roles including government missions, EMS/SAR, offshore transport, VIP/corporate transport, law enforcement and utility.

              Attached Files
              Last edited by meridian; 27 March 2012, 23:27.


              • I wonder if the 'military' variant will have the same issues as the civil one the Air Corps use. Gulf Helicopters appear to have had an emergency landing 2-3 days ago with a broken tail rotor control linkage. Will be interesting to see if the the new tail blades have just moved the problem along the system.



                  AW139 slinging an Aston Martin!

                  Nissan or Pajero for us?????????????????


                  • One of them new ministerial Audis they bought to show how broke we are.


                    • Originally posted by Meatbomb View Post
                      One of them new ministerial Audis they bought to show how broke we are.
                      We didn't buy any ministerial audis.

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


                      • Sponsored and Provided by Audi

                        Last edited by sofa; 17 January 2013, 23:01.


                        • Well if true we didn't buy them! Cheers Sofa


                          • Relevance?


                            • #593..... car to be underslung in Ireland


                              • Originally posted by Meatbomb View Post
                                #593..... car to be underslung in Ireland

                                Just showing that an AW139 is capable of lifting vehicles!. In the IAC case, Nissan/Pajero etc