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  1. #1
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    Could this be the end of Army Heli Op's?

    If the IAC manage to get back into the SAR game now or in the future and considering their SLA with the HSE for Air ambulance, where does that leave Army Heli support?
    If it would take 2 x AW139's to run a SAR base and considering that this would need to be seperate from the Air ambulance machine, what aircraft would be left for the Army? Also if the AW139's are under tasked (as currently must be the case if the IAC appear to be lobbying for new/old roles) do we really need as many to begin with if they are under used and the IRCG door is closed until 2022ish....A lot of other countries seem to be moving towards a light "Air mobile" role for their troops, should we not do the same?

  2. #2
    CQMS warthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pause to Remember View Post
    If the IAC manage to get back into the SAR game now or in the future and considering their SLA with the HSE for Air ambulance, where does that leave Army Heli support?
    If it would take 2 x AW139's to run a SAR base and considering that this would need to be seperate from the Air ambulance machine, what aircraft would be left for the Army? Also if the AW139's are under tasked (as currently must be the case if the IAC appear to be lobbying for new/old roles) do we really need as many to begin with if they are under used and the IRCG door is closed until 2022ish....A lot of other countries seem to be moving towards a light "Air mobile" role for their troops, should we not do the same?
    IAC aren't getting near SAR,wouldn't worry about it
    the problem here ultimately is that in order for the aircorps to do either SAR or troop transport effectively it needed a big chopper were talking NH 90,S-92,super puma etc!

    buying the AW-139 meant they can't physically move enough people from A to B in any meaningful way,so the fleet is useless as a transport platform for anymore than a platoon at a time so were not going to be able to do "Air Mobile" anytime soon

    now if we had stuck with those S-92's and not canceled the contract we could have had the ability to move a company at a time

  3. #3
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    buying the AW-139 meant they can't physically move enough people from A to B in any meaningful way
    It really depends on what you are doing. Can, for instance, 2 AW139s deployed overseas move troops in combat or large scale patrol scenarios? No of course not, however 2 AW139s could provide at least single aircraft 24/7 availability for a tactical support unit (1 section ready in case of a major incident such as IED attack etc), EOD support, Medivac, outpost resupply, recce, Liason, Comms relay the list goes on.
    Consider also that the Army are going to the Leb next. Italair have provided such services to the Italian Army in the Leb with only legacy aircraft such as AB205s and B212s.
    What this comes down to is if the Army want the AC out there and if the AC want to go. The politics of an outdated White Paper would soon be got around.
    Personally I truly believe that such an operation would breathe new life and a sense of purpose back into the AC while also providing a very significant capability to the Army.

    As of SAR, past history would show that unless the work practices are significantly overhauled it will take a lot more then 2 aircraft to provide a 24/7 service therefore requiring more then 2 of the 6 aircraft. I also believe that PTR is correct, if the AC ever got back into SAR the Army will move back to the 'hind tit' and now, as they would no longer be needed to justify new aircraft or a role, they would be forgotten about. Not rash talk just recent history.
    Last edited by Tadpole; 16th February 2011 at 13:59.

  4. #4
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    buying the AW-139 meant they can't physically move enough people from A to B in any meaningful way,so the fleet is useless as a transport platform for anymore than a platoon at a time so were not going to be able to do "Air Mobile" anytime soon
    Was always going to be the problem but yet again the AC were prepared to take what was on the table as opposed to going for what they needed for the future as opposed to what they needed to get the out of a hole when everything else was passed its used by date.

    The arguments were that these would be a lead in for larger machines but now the coffers have dried up they are stuck with a very limited mid range helo.

    Had we gone big the AC would have been able to operate as part of the EU battle group , all we can hope for now is that some of the EU group will insist on a percentage of IAC pilots being qualified on the larger machines and do that through some sort of partnership.

    however 2 AW139s could provide at least single aircraft 24/7 availability for a tactical support unit (1 section ready in case of a major incident such as IED attack etc), EOD support, Medivac, outpost resupply, recce, Liason, Comms relay the list goes on.
    I agree with the theory but with the Ac it has almost always been three to have one constantly available. With the AW139s this is possible but and the big but is are they prepared to accept the consequences of possible losses and the need for replacement should loss be incurred?
    Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

  5. #5
    CQMS warthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
    It really depends on what you are doing. Can, for instance, 2 AW139s deployed overseas move troops in combat or large scale patrol scenarios? No of course not, however 2 AW139s could provide at least single aircraft 24/7 availability for a tactical support unit (1 section ready in case of a major incident such as IED attack etc), EOD support, Medivac, outpost resupply, recce, Liason, Comms relay the list goes on.
    Consider also that the Army are going to the Leb next. Italair have provided such services to the Italian Army in the Leb with only legacy aircraft such as AB205s and B212s.
    What this comes down to is if the Army want the AC out there and if the AC want to go. The politics of an outdated White Paper would soon be got around.
    Personally I truly believe that such an operation would breathe new life and a sense of purpose back into the AC while also providing a very significant capability to the Army.
    Tadpole it could be argued that the EC-135 would actually be more use in this role! light nimble and can land just about anywhere!

  6. #6
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    Tadpole it could be argued that the EC-135 would actually be more use in this role! light nimble and can land just about anywhere!
    Agreed, unless you want a fast reaction support section plus the 139 has more room for casualty evacuation / assistance. The other issue is that the IAC only have 2 135s used in training etc while they have 6 139s ready and able, its just a case of willing.

    but and the big but is are they prepared to accept the consequences of possible losses
    If they are not then they have no place in the military. Our troops face this risk on every OS mission, while they can numerically be replaced, their lives cannot. The AC even in some small way could, if they want to, provide assistance to the troops OS and provide increased security, safety and invaluable assistance in the event of injury.
    If the AC cannot act as a military organisation, in a military role and accept that bad things can happen then they need to be disbanded. For god sake, you can hire civvies that will do these jobs and in the past we have!!!

  7. #7
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    The reasons we were getting the S-92 was for SAR with 1 as a reserve/troop lift.

    The fleet of AW139s could carry nearly half a coy in 1 lift (that is a meaningful number).

    The US airborne uses Blackhawks and Brits use Lynx (neither of these are medium lift).

  8. #8
    CQMS warthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    The reasons we were getting the S-92 was for SAR with 1 as a reserve/troop lift.

    The fleet of AW139s could carry nearly half a coy in 1 lift (that is a meaningful number).

    The US airborne uses Blackhawks and Brits use Lynx (neither of these are medium lift).
    they use those in addition to Chinooks,pumas,seakings,seaknights,merlins,ospreys
    any kind of large movements are done by those

  9. #9
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    Current DF White Paper restricts AC from being deployed overseas although a new White Paper is apparently due soon. Might be some change to policy then The 139's would be well suited to an overseas role.

  10. #10
    CQMS warthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pure Hover View Post
    Current DF White Paper restricts AC from being deployed overseas although a new White Paper is apparently due soon. Might be some change to policy then The 139's would be well suited to an overseas role.
    how can you say that? it's completely untested in a military theatre of operations

  11. #11
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    Hi PH,
    I agree the White Paper is a stumbling block but I think its is likely to be a small one. Its period ended in 2010 so could be argued that it is no longer in force. All it would take is a good argument from the DF and the AC would be overseas. All they have to point to is cost of leasing aircraft, lack of safety and control of leased machines and recent 'let downs' in Chad that left injured persons waiting for hours.

    I think the bigger snag would actually be supporting the operation over there. Logistics would not be a problem as it is 'relatively' close and the AC should at this stage know what consumables, high failure items they require for each 6 months of operations, dependent of course on hours flown.

    I think a bigger problem would be crews and technicians. Take for example 2 aircraft overseas, one on 24/7 standby and the other as available between maintenance. That would require:

    24/7: about 6 pilots and 3 crewmen.
    As available: 2 pilots and 1 crewman.

    Total detachment: 8 pilots and 4 crewmen.

    Now I am not sure about the current numbers but I think there are about 20 139 pilots. Therefore doing 2 month stints (Based on RAF method) almost every pilot would be overseas in a 6 month period, or twice every full year. I dont think even the young guns would keep that up for many years. It would certainly take a huge change in mindset, but its not impossible.
    Last edited by Tadpole; 16th February 2011 at 15:30.

  12. #12
    Sergeant Major B Inman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
    Italair have provided such services to the Italian Army in the Leb with only legacy aircraft such as AB205s and B212s.
    .

    Italiar provides support to all contingents in UNIFIL not just the Italian contingent.

  13. #13
    CQMS warthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
    Hi PH,
    I agree the White Paper is a stumbling block but I think its is likely to be a small one. Its period ended in 2010 so could be argued that it is no longer in force. All it would take is a good argument from the DF and the AC would be overseas. All they have to point to is cost of leasing aircraft, lack of safety and control of leased machines and recent 'let downs' in Chad that left injured persons waiting for hours.

    I think the bigger snag would actually be supporting the operation over there. Logistics would not be a problem as it is 'relatively' close and the AC should at this stage know what consumables, high failure items they require for each 6 months of operations, dependent of course on hours flown.

    I think a bigger problem would be crews and technicians. Take for example 2 aircraft overseas, one on 24/7 standby and the other as available between maintenance. That would require:

    24/7: about 6 pilots and 3 crewmen.
    As available: 2 pilots and 1 crewman.

    Total detachment: 8 pilots and 4 crewmen.

    Now I am not sure about the current numbers but I think there are about 20 139 pilots. Therefore doing 2 month stints (Based on RAF method) almost every pilot would be overseas in a 6 month period, or twice every full year. I dont think even the young guns would keep that up for many years. It would certainly take a huge change in mindset, but its not impossible.
    wouldn't you need two crewmen to man the GPMG's if the shit hit the fan??

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    wouldn't you need two crewmen to man the GPMG's if the shit hit the fan??
    Apologies, correct and right. You also require 2 if in ten place troop config (8 troops / 2 crew) as single crewman cannot open both sliding doors (Seats restrict movement from side to side).

    Italiar provides support to all contingents in UNIFIL not just the Italian contingent.
    Thanks didnt know that. However if everybody over there is happy with 205s / 212s then AW139 should be a step up.

    how can you say that? it's completely untested in a military theatre of operations
    TBH, in most respects a helicopter is a helicopter. Dependent on threat level it may need balistic plates etc but thats were you talk to operators already there and ascertain the requirements. Of more note may be the IACs requirement for training / doctrine for military / high risk operations.

  15. #15
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
    Hi PH,
    I agree the White Paper is a stumbling block but I think its is likely to be a small one.
    How is Government policy a small stumbling block?!


    I think the bigger snag would actually be supporting the operation over there. Logistics would not be a problem as it is 'relatively' close and the AC should at this stage know what consumables, high failure items they require for each 6 months of operations, dependent of course on hours flown.

    I think a bigger problem would be crews and technicians. Take for example 2 aircraft overseas, one on 24/7 standby and the other as available between maintenance. That would require:

    24/7: about 6 pilots and 3 crewmen.
    As available: 2 pilots and 1 crewman.

    Total detachment: 8 pilots and 4 crewmen.

    Now I am not sure about the current numbers but I think there are about 20 139 pilots. Therefore doing 2 month stints (Based on RAF method) almost every pilot would be overseas in a 6 month period, or twice every full year. I dont think even the young guns would keep that up for many years. It would certainly take a huge change in mindset, but its not impossible.
    Also factor in:
    - cost of getting the aircraft there
    - cost of deployable maintenance equipment
    - cost of rotating AC personnel
    - cost of getting spare from Baldonnel
    - wear and tear on aircraft

  16. #16
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    How is Government policy a small stumbling block?!
    The White Paper effectively ceased to exist as a policy at the end of 2010. Basically if they want it to happen it will and the White Paper is no longer a block to new policy. If your going to quote me please quote the full context.

    Also factor in:
    - cost of getting the aircraft there
    - cost of deployable maintenance equipment
    - cost of rotating AC personnel
    - cost of getting spare from Baldonnel
    - wear and tear on aircraft
    Yes it will cost money, however it can be offset against ACMI lease costs of similar aircraft that may otherwise be required and / or the UN may contribute.

    At the end of the day the AC currently have 6 assets sitting in Bal with a lot of spare capacity. They should really be out supporting the Army. Unfortunately any OS deployment will meet with feirce resistance as the AC are for all intents and purposes, bar some callout, a 9-5 home service operation.

    Now that I think of it, maybe the fight for SAR is so they cannot be deployed overseas!

  17. #17
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    Guys,
    I have to admit that you certainly have some good ideas about the way forward for green Ops..
    It was through no fault of the IAC that the S 92 plan fell apart. It certainly does back up the IRCG's current plan to switch to the S92 for there own operation. The IAC put a lot of work into the board at the time and put their best people on the team. It would have been a great aircraft for troop transport. This was long before the IRCG would have had to operate with the likes of the MART teams (I think they are still going) and DFB firefighting units which need to be able to airlifted personnel in the event of a major emergency at sea.Don't forget that even on the East Coast you have the worlds largest car ferry operating out of Dublin etc.etc..
    The LEB could certainly be a good operation for the IAC to start with. They could put their recent training with NVG's and the fitting of the GPMG's to good use. Maybe (if they added a doctor) they could even carry out a combat medical role. I remember they had also been training up Load masters (I think this was the term ) from the Army.. I think the RAF came over to run the original courses.
    Are they still involved in this?
    These skills could be put to good use and also it would be good for the DF as a whole and could be positive for morale. The UN might also pick up the bill! I don't think it will be helpfully for the IAC to be posting on the likes of PPRUNE that they have 6x AW139's sitting in Bal doing nothing. What if their current challenge to the IRCG plan (directly or indirectly) fails...After all, it does seem clear that the DOD said that they had no interest when they were asked. Even if the IAC didn't agree with this themselves (but somebody in the Don must have been consulted).
    Remember that the IAC didn't really have the Lear jet that long before there was talk of selling it due to lack of use!!!
    The only problem that might be very restrictive for overseas is that the IAC only have 8x heli's now (not including the GASU). They originally had 15 heli's (including 2 x Gazelles) not including the 3 that were lost due to crashes.
    Unfortunately the more civil roles they take on, the more I feel the green role will suffer, especially after all the training that has been carried out in the last couple of years with the Army.I would hate the thought of being in the Glen and having no aircraft for training..
    Have heli Ops with the Army been effected much by cut backs?

    I think I might mention all this to Leo from FG when knocks on the door!!!!

  18. #18
    Commander in Chief RoyalGreenJacket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pure Hover View Post
    The 139's would be well suited to an overseas role.
    easier said than done and definitely not if there is any kind of MANPAD threat.

    i haven't seen any defensive equipment suite fitted to any of the Irish Air Corps choppers (but i may be wrong) and this would mean they don't get off the ground in any real conflict.

    such modifications are not a simple 'fit and go' - they are a major upgrade and integration into the airframe and very costly too, not to mention the training of the crew in it's use / deployment.
    RGJ

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  19. #19
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pause to Remember View Post
    The only problem that might be very restrictive for overseas is that the IAC only have 8x heli's now (not including the GASU). They originally had 15 heli's (including 2 x Gazelles) not including the 3 that were lost due to crashes.
    The difference is the 8 are much more capable, equipped and maintained.

  20. #20
    CQMS warthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    The difference is the 8 are much more capable, equipped and maintained.
    I think the EC-135 was a great buy,but I'm just not convinced by the suitability of the AW139 at all

  21. #21
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    If I remember rightly, the Italians in the LEB didnt get off the ground during any real conflict but they still played a major part in the UNIFIL operation. I don't think we will be competing with the BA in the air suport department anytime soon LOL...
    How would the DOD/General staff feel about the AW139's being painted white? Then again the folks in the Don want them painted Red and White.
    Do they currently have much in the way of vision for the future of the DF I wonder, probably asleep again.....
    Does the DFHQ and the AC have any joined up thinking at all? Ultimately it's always the troop that are left wanting.
    I'm sure AW would have an agent in Israel for parts. Failing that, I'm sure one would soon appear!
    The FG manifesto is a bit on the slim on the Defence Forces department (not much vision there either).

  22. #22
    Sergeant Major B Inman's Avatar
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    During 80,and 90's Italair had 5-6 choppers. One was always in the hanger undergoing maintenance.

    I can't find a figure for how many they currently use but as the number of troops serving in UNIFIL has increased since the 2006 war I think its safe to assume that the number of choppers has not been reduced.

    Currently Italair has a strength of 64.
    http://unifil.unmissions.org/Portals...h%20UNIFIL.pdf

    Could the IAC undertake a mission like this?

    Slightly off topic, some photos of Italair.

    http://milinme.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/italairs-212s/

  23. #23
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pause to Remember View Post
    If I remember rightly, the Italians in the LEB didnt get off the ground during any real conflict but they still played a major part in the UNIFIL operation.
    For safety reasons they needed clearance from the Israelis for flights.



    Do they currently have much in the way of vision for the future of the DF I wonder, probably asleep again.....
    There were AC personnel deployed in Chad using AC specialities.

    I'm sure AW would have an agent in Israel for parts. Failing that, I'm sure one would soon appear!
    I'm sure they do..... I'm also sure the delivery address on our current contract (they may even be PBH) is Baldonnel.

    Interesting report from 2009:
    http://usun.state.gov/documents/organization/140703.pdf

  24. #24
    Sergeant Major B Inman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Thanks for the link informative report.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by warthog View Post
    how can you say that? it's completely untested in a military theatre of operations
    Maybe so but have to start somewhere. The Army have proved themselves very adept at adjusting to varying overseas role of differing complexity. Why wouldn't the AC be equally as competant? Sure, some mods may be needed to the helicopters but that's not insurmountable if the will-power is there and especially if they're deployed into a low threat environment initially. In terms of manpower I'm sure the AC could gear up and train more helicopter pilots if it had to, to meet the demands of an overseas role.

    Alas until there's a new White paper though the old restrictions still remain.

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