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  1. #51
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    Wow, all highly political stuff, perhaps it might be better if we came up with a consensus on what we, collectively, believe what the roles of the Irish Air Corps should be, and then start fitting assets, infrastructure and personal to them... or am I talking s___, [only on my second cup of coffee, due to circumstances beyond my control.]
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
    Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

  2. #52
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    I suspect that the notion of a ten year development plan is essentially equivalent to the unions negotiating for 53% for LUAS drivers; aim high and then take something reasonable. I'd imagine dealing with DoD is akin to high stakes poker is which one side knows where all the good cards are, knows where the keys to the safe are and occasionally gives you a few crumbs to tide you over. Want a fleet of helis? Scrap the Cessnas and the GIV? Well, we need them too. Ok, keep them, we'll give you just two helis and the fuel budget for a week-long exercise and a course in the USA for senior officers...

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  4. #53
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    I think GTTC in post 52 above effectively draws this thread to it's logical end.

    When starting the thread I was genuinely interested to see if anyone had a credible vision. The two themes that seemed to evolve were:

    1) Enhanced Transport capability.

    2) Enhanced Helicopter capability.

    Both with overseas in mind. AC/DF have obviously never made a credible case for enhanced transport (realistically the aircraft would spend most of their time in hangar), as we still have zero.

    Enhanced heli capability with overseas in mind has been shown by contributors to be the logical first step. Existing fleet unsuitable for deployment without considerable spending, the failure to buy military spec helis in the last investment spend a clear indicator of the lack of military ambition in type selection. Political/economic unwillingness to deploy overseas a deal-breaker.

    Some potential spend on enhanced radar has been mooted, but if the above two are effectively stalemated then any prospect of something credible to enforce enhanced radar is also stalemated.

    That is, as it appears to me, the reality. So the only real alternative to the status quo (endlessly replacing like for like with diminishing returns) would appear to be to scrap AC and use the money saved, and acquired through the sale/partial sale of Baldonnel, elsewhere?

  5. #54
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    The 135s could go overseas right now with only a few mods, like sand filters and so on and they can easily be stripped for air transport...the 139s are a joke and should be given to NAMA to dispose of; the resurgent millionaire developers might like them...the DoD shot down the notion of C130s (which, in fairness to Don hierarchy, they did pursue vigourously. We just don't get to hear about it) and the like years ago, on the not unreasonable basis that they would spend the whole time training and not actually doing any delivering, which is partially true. Also, the UN in Lebanon were considered by the DoD to be covered by commercial availability via Beirut so that was that...With regard to radar, exactly what is needed there and for why? Someone suggested on another thread that the Don get into the air defence game and base the AA weapons in the Don. The Don managed to never, ever touch AA since the end of WW2 except for having the Army in to conduct local security for special events or to provide a tug for gunnery targets, ie, it doesn't own the means to defend it's only base or host anyone to do it.

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  7. #55
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    Military prinary radar isn't necessarily needed, IAA owned and operated is the way to go

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  9. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
    I think GTTC in post 52 above effectively draws this thread to it's logical end.

    When starting the thread I was genuinely interested to see if anyone had a credible vision. The two themes that seemed to evolve were:

    1) Enhanced Transport capability.

    2) Enhanced Helicopter capability.

    Both with overseas in mind. AC/DF have obviously never made a credible case for enhanced transport (realistically the aircraft would spend most of their time in hangar), as we still have zero.

    Enhanced heli capability with overseas in mind has been shown by contributors to be the logical first step. Existing fleet unsuitable for deployment without considerable spending, the failure to buy military spec helis in the last investment spend a clear indicator of the lack of military ambition in type selection. Political/economic unwillingness to deploy overseas a deal-breaker.

    Some potential spend on enhanced radar has been mooted, but if the above two are effectively stalemated then any prospect of something credible to enforce enhanced radar is also stalemated.

    That is, as it appears to me, the reality. So the only real alternative to the status quo (endlessly replacing like for like with diminishing returns) would appear to be to scrap AC and use the money saved, and acquired through the sale/partial sale of Baldonnel, elsewhere?
    Interesting thread and your analysis is pretty accurate but id make the following points;
    AC have made numerous cases for enhanced transport capability but all came to nought! It's questionable whether or not we'd have the CASA's without EU funding and there's a huge question mark over where the replacement funding will come from. The only transport aircraft C250, we ever had was handed back without a whimper - same could be said of the Super Puma transport helicopter.

    The "lack of military ambition in type selection" as you put it in relation to the last helicopter selection is purely down to the DoD who interfered in the selection process ruling out the Blackhawk. That left the 139 which IMHO which seems to be a fine helicopter and more than capable of deploying overseas if given the chance. However as I've previously outlined attempts to do so have been shot down by the same bean counters who ruled out its more capable contemporary .....see a pattern?

    Your conclusion does not reflect the general thrust of the thread. A better way to conduct business would be to properly fund the Air Corps and give it the resources to do the job rather than talk about it in White Papers!

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  11. #57
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    Pure Hover, my 'conclusion' was deliberately provocative

    I do take your point re the C250 and was aware of the preference for Blackhawk. If it was/is DoD policy that choppers won't be going overseas any time soon, then Blackhawk would probably have been viewed as overkill for domestic use, and it would be difficult to disagree with that view.

    However, the choice of PC9 was surely something of a victory (a bean counter could have made a strong case for a very much more basic training aircraft with no weapons)? Can it be repeated?

    You say "give it the resources to do the job". I was hoping to get a much clearer vision of what that "job" might/could/should be in this thread, but it hasn't really happened, hence the provocative conclusion in my last post. For example you say AC have made cases for enhanced transport, what cases? What aircraft to do what taskings? Nobody on this thread has made anything like a cconvincing case for enhanced transport that would be sufficiently used.

    We all support the AC in spirit I'm sure, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that without some very focussed strategy that the extremely limited military taskings that it carries out cannot justify the cost of it's establishment. And that's pragmatic, not provocative.

  12. #58
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    that's why the Donners volunteer for every job that could possibly involve a Don pilot, so that they can't be accused of not trying, which is why you get fish and bird counting patrols, bog surveillance, voting box carriage, delivery of rugby balls to matches,etc,etc....the PC9s were essentially what they were allowed to buy and "warry" jets such as Hawks were disallowed. Eight were bought because the actual accident rate of Marchettis and the daily utility rate was used as the benchmark; ie, they are their own attrition replacement and they are expected to beat the Marchetti flight-per-day rate, which they do handsomely (more to do with a change in mental attitude than anything else).....the disposal of c250 and the previous disposal of two King Airs is proof, if any was needed, that DoD civil serpents get it wrong and their ass-covering is misguided.....the 139s are nice runabouts but oh, god, is their undercarriage junk! I cringe when I see them scuttling about with skis on over the little shopping-trolley wheels. Lads, buy some low-pressure tyres, please and leave the gear down, if you have to. Seeing them sunk up to the axles in mud is embarrassing and risky, to say the least....

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  14. #59
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    You obviously didn't read my post:

    My opinion....

    What do we want at the end of those ten years:
    1. Ability to support our troops in any part of the World with weapons and supplies.
    2. Ability to transport our troops to any part of the World.
    3. Ability to protect our skies and our seas (surface and sub surface).
    4. Internal security.
    5. how to pay for these.

    1: We need a tactical Helicopter H225 or the HH60 (worst case instal DAS/Sand filters and light Armour to current AW139). Best solution Purchase 10 HH60 and 10 light utility attack MD500 Total cost (internet) 10 HH60(120mUSD) + 10 MD500(20mUSD) Total = 140m USD

    2: Simple 3 x A400m @ 152m USD = 456mUSD with A2A refuelling pods for heli and fighter

    3: For Air Space protection and ability to serve overseas we need 10 Rafale (in service cost of 108mUSD) = 1.08bUSD. ASW + fisheries+LRSAR we can use EH101(with HIFR) X 3 = total 120m USD. MPA replaced by drone X 3 at total 20mUDS (also use for IS)

    4: AW139 be transferred to GS to operate dual SAR/Police(IS)/EMS like in many parts of the States SPIFR, based in 1 x Dub, 1 x Cork, 1 x limerick, 1 x Finner Camp.

    5: If we look at this cost of 10 years = 1.8bUSD or 180mUSD PY. We can take out the SAR contract and any possible HEMS contact bringing that figure to 1.2bUSD or 120PY. Take 100m USD away per year for the DISGRACE that is the overseas Aid program and increase DF spending by 100M PY to cover the 20m + 80m in increased training and wages.

    Foot notes: PC9 continues as the trainer. MD 500 replace EC135 as primary trainer. EC135 retained for VIP. GS aircraft pilots by AC requiring 20 Heli pilots (increase 10) but cost borne by GS. Cadets come in direct to heli School after 10hours in civi heli (weeding process), so from foot in the door to operational including 9 months Curragh = 2years at rate of 20 pilots per year. Total heli pilot requirement =
    24 LRSAR + ASW, 2 Base Shannon and Finner EH101
    20 SPIFR + NVG Dub/Cork/Limerick/Finner SAR/EMS/IS
    40 HH60
    30 MD500 Ops + Training
    Total 114 - Current number (Guess) 40, Take ex Mil back = 30 and in 3 years you would be up to strength with training 20 PY.

    FW Requirement for Pilots
    30 Rafale
    20 AB400M
    10 Drone (failed Heli or FW course)


    Obviously I know this won't happen but COULD it be done YES, would it enhance SAR/EMS/IS YES, would our troops be safer and more effective overseas YES. Is it value for money accepting that a large amount of money won't go to 3rd World Leaders(http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoi...ey-244778.html) YES

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  16. #60
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    unrealistic pricing and costs. Operating costs for combat aircraft are off the scale as manufacturers can essentially charge what they like. A Rafale costs as much as a single A320 to buy, for just the bare aircraft, before you put a drop of Jet A1 into it...A400M? still not fit for service and will cost even more than an A330 to operate. Ask EI how much that costs and we run seven of them. Think entire AC budget....also, you'd have to vastly increase the usable space at Baldonnel and anywhere else to accomodate them. On any night of the week, we can fill Hangar 6 in Dublin Airport and that can hold seven A320s or two A330s and five A320s and the odd ATR tucked in, so that's the size of hangarage you'd need, off the bat, not to mention the host of ground equipment, manpower (such as extra flight deck and rear aircrew/engineering (ramp and otherwise)/ATC/fire cover/flight ops,etc), vehicles, spares storage, weapons storage and associated security and fuelling and, and, and....I suspect the Don will never grow beyond it's present size, fleetwise, apart from the odd single airframe purchase to replace retirements or losses.

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  18. #61
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    Just as unobtainable, but slightly more realistic, rebuild Bal' to a modern standard, get a proper search radar, retain the Pc-9m, retain the EC135's and the Casa's, replace the AW139's with Seahawks on a airframe by airframe basis, [say one a year], Go with Casa for transport aircrafts, try as I might, I can't really accept a case for larger aircrafts, Urgently replace the Cessanas with more EC135's, Send a bunch of the best, youngest, and fittest pilots off to a fast air operator to learn their trade, at the same time order 5 [five] Gripens [one in maintenance, 2 training, 2 on alert] with an option for 5 more to be delivered on a one every 2 year basis, get rid of the Garda, and the air ambulance...concentrate on 3 issues; supporting the Army, supporting the NS, and Air Defence. [Air Defence and they noisy fast jets is the option on this plan].
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
    Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

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  20. #62
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    The key with any development plan is overseas and in particular Europe, along with a realistic appraisal of what is needed to operate jointly with European allies, and what the country can afford.

    Firstly it is slowly dawning on the Department and politicians of all parties that the overseas mission of the future will be more akin to Chad than to Lebanon MK one type peacekeeping.

    Secondly the pressure on increasing defence spending comes from Europe, and that pressure is only going to increase

    The UN very helpfully publish a manual for military aviation operations, (which is freely available in the internet via the US army) where they detail the requirements they need and for us the obvious units we could contribute
    http://pksoi.army.mil/default/assets...t%20Manual.pdf

    They list four types of rotary units (see page 30)

    Light Utility Helicopter Unit (page 32)
    Medium Utility Helicopter Unit (page 35)
    Heavy Cargo Helicopter Unit (page 38)
    Attack /Armed Helicopter Unit (page 41)


    And two types of fixed wing units (Page 30)

    Light Air Reconnaissance Unit (page 44)
    Transport/Tactical Airlift Unit (page 47)


    Now of the six units listed by the UN manual one of either of the utility helicopter units of four helicopters and the light air reconnaissance unit with three Caravan type aircraft are more than achievable.

    The experience in Chad showed that no Irish patrol can operate for more than an hour’s distance from base without access to medevac helicopters and thus this is a key requirement. That explains the Hip leasing fiasco in Chad

    From there the light air reconnaissance unit of three ISR aircraft in thr Cessna Caravan Class is also very achievable.

    The next is air combat, no matter what way you look at it there is no conventional air threat to Ireland that requires an investment in fighters of the class of Rafael. Despite the “bear” scare, the Russian air force would be shot from the sky long before they reached Irish airspace in any real conflict. Much larger air arms like Sweden, Austria and Switzerland find it impossible to maintain a 24 hour intercept capability, so we have no chance unless we cooperate with another state, and the noly option there is the Brits, which is politically impossible.

    But turning to overseas, the mission in Chad there was an aerial QRF to provide air support for long range patrols and that has a long history,via Liberia an Ukranian Hinds, going back to the Congo, where Indian Canberra bombers and Swedish Fighters were deployed in support of UN forces.

    The key decision is what to replace the PC-9M with in 2023. The PC9 was bought because militarily it offered the bare minimum air intercept capability necessary. The politicans in the late 1990;s would happily have followed the department and relegated the bluffwaffe to an of thsupport arm of a Scotish fisheries protection style navy till it was pointed out to them that if you want to hold a major international conference like EU presidency meetings in Dublin or play host to the US president, you need a minimum air defence capability. But the decision to buy the PC-9 to meet a minimum air defence capabilities was actually taken in the pre 9/11 era, in fact it came from price waterhouse in 1998, and reflects 1997 era thinking on threat level. The government have to retain that capability, and given the massive changes in the security environment since 2000 will have to upgrade it IMHO .

    The second thing is that there is an arc of instability surrounding the EU at the moment from the Baltic to Algeria that is no going to go away. And with our corparation tax regime, other EU states can fairly claim that they can’t spend on defence because of it.

    I’d argue that the sensible thing would be to replace the PC-9 m with what ever the Italians are going to replace their AMX ground attack aircraft with (which has done sterling but unheralded work in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Libya) which is likely to be a dedicated light combat version of the M-346 (the Poles also have a requirement for a Su 22 replacement and are looking at it). Even the mighty USAF are looking at lighter fighters than the F-35 as the past decade has worn out their F-16 fleet with their T-X trainer which the m-346 is a competitor is looking more and more sophisticated. and combat capable as we speak. They wouldn’t operate in airspace with sophisticated air defences, but would have the ability to support UN mandated missions, as in the DRC where South African air support has proved decisiove in supporting the UN>

    So the air corps in 2026 would have the following flying units
    No 1 Operations wing
    Light strike squadron with 12 light fighters in the M3436 class and the ability to deploy a detachment of four overseas for a six month period
    Maratime Squadron with the 2 Casa Replacement
    Transport Squadron, with the learjet or its replacement, 2 light transports in the M28 Skytruck class for utility work
    Light air reconnaissance squadron with 3 ISR Caravans for overseas work

    No 3 Wing
    Medium lift helicopter squadron with eight helicopters in the AW149/Blackhawk Class dedicated to providing a detachment of 3/4 helicopters overseas
    Utility Helicopter Squadron with the existing Aw139 and EC0-135 for training and feeding crews into the ML squadron and general on Island duties.
    Last edited by paul g; 29th March 2016 at 18:47.

  21. #63
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    Excellent analysis Paul. However I would take issue with the assumption of a long history of QRF dating back to the Congo. The history is of QRF NOT being available when needed. Indeed the Canberras and Saabs were only made available after Jadotville which is when they were most critically needed. Lets face it - assuming QRF airpower when any contributing country will be subject to their own political pressures, not to mention the issues of any country on the flight path of a QRF force denying use of it's airspace. That implies, in my opinion, that "native" assets must be embedded in any force deployed. Given our inability to deploy even minimal air assets that means strong AA assets under command to defend against a repeat of the Congolese Fougas, and sufficient artillery/mortars to provide indirect fire support.
    “The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards.”
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  22. #64
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhFMnFMNfo4

    Even comes with a 2026 Silver Swallows display patch for the pilot

  23. #65
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    Now of the six units listed by the UN manual one of either of the utility helicopter units of four helicopters and the light air reconnaissance unit with three Caravan type aircraft are more than achievable
    only if you double the amount of aircraft we currently have or are planned.

    And arguably more importantly manage to recruit to establishment (and retain them)

  24. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaqra View Post
    Excellent analysis Paul. However I would take issue with the assumption of a long history of QRF dating back to the Congo. The history is of QRF NOT being available when needed. Indeed the Canberras and Saabs were only made available after Jadotville which is when they were most critically needed. Lets face it - assuming QRF airpower when any contributing country will be subject to their own political pressures, not to mention the issues of any country on the flight path of a QRF force denying use of it's airspace. That implies, in my opinion, that "native" assets must be embedded in any force deployed. Given our inability to deploy even minimal air assets that means strong AA assets under command to defend against a repeat of the Congolese Fougas, and sufficient artillery/mortars to provide indirect fire support.
    Now it’s interesting that you've raised air defence as after ignoring it for two and a half decades most western armies are looking at it again as drones on the battlefield pose such a threat. Hence why the Americans are putting 30mm with airburst ammo cannons on the Stryker, and the French have formed "peloton d appui direct", essentially for light air defence work. And the army has invested a lot in air defence assets such as the tracked Giraffe and more importantly it’s one of the key areas for investment in the white paper.

    UN peace keeping has come on so much since Bosnia, that’s it’s a given that there will be appropriate air support in any future mission. But anybody who thinks that we can go to EU meetings on defence and security over the coming decade and plead the poor mouth or say we’re neutral is living in a fool’s paradise, especially as we’ll be isolated geographically and politically if and when the brits vote to leave, and our corporation tax policy is costing EU governments a fortune.

    Or to put it bluntly, if Urugray can afford to deploy utility helicopters and small numbers of fixed wing aircraft to support un missions so can we.
    Last edited by paul g; 30th March 2016 at 00:38.

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  26. #67
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    Paul, where does basic flight training come into your new set up? can one type provide it or is it outsourced?
    Fate whispers to the warrior, "There is a storm coming"

    And the warrior whispers back "I am the storm".

  27. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-RayOne View Post
    Paul, where does basic flight training come into your new set up? can one type provide it or is it outsourced?
    Simple if they got a capable light strike squadron then they'd ditch training, very few small European airforces actually train their own pilots, they invest the money in their combat capability and train their pilots through NATO schemes. At the moment if you took training away from the Bluffwaffe there is nothing that couldn’t be done by Civilians (i.e. maritime patrol) or by green uniform NCOs, after all the US and British armies let NCOs fly their helicopters and light aircraft.

    The training school gives them a raison d’etre and pretentions to wear a blue uniform. “We have these planes to train pilots on so if needed we could buy fighters in an emergency” has been the argument they’ve used since the Vampire was introduced in the 1950’s. And as I said even price waterhouse pointed to the need to have some sort of air policing capability in 1997/1998 when the PC-9 was first conceived.
    But the PC-9 were not cheap, they cost over 60 million in 2003, which would at the time have paid for a further 40 mowags, and offered very little in capability in return. Be honest the most they could do would be to intercept a Cessna towing a protest banner over an EU meeting, which in 1997 was the level of threat assessment.
    Now no matter who gets to be taoiseach, they will want to hob nob with Trump or Clinton and hold the presidency of the EU, and some sort of intercept capability is a given.

    More importantly UN mandated and run Peace support missions are very different these days. It’s a myth peddled by the hard left that they’re all peaceful, in reality they all vary according to the mandate, for example in the DR Congo UN troops are effectively waging war. So it makes sense that the air combat capability to replace the PC-9 will have the ability to deliver precision guided munitions in support of peace support missions and survive against opposition armed with manpads and 23mm cannons on technicals if necessary.
    The security environment has changed so much that a like for like replacement for the PC 9 though possible would be unlikely, hence the white paper saying that the PC9 are so limited that they would need something more capable both in the air to air and air to ground roles when they’re replaced in 2025. If they get that then they won’t need basic training to justify their blue uniforms anymore.
    Last edited by paul g; 30th March 2016 at 14:14.

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  29. #69
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    you look at all the air arms that are actually in combat in Africa at the moment and they are using the likes of Hawks/Alpha jets/K8s and so on. With regard to our own AD, the Bofors are mothballed and the NS has the only other light AA, apart from the Army's 50 cals. have they ever trained to use the 50s as anti-aircraft weapons?.......right now, the DoD is winning the struggle and they keep vetoing heavier warry-er weapons and the utility of taking them abroad so the Df goes overseas with no helicopters, no artillery, no armour bearing anything heavier than a 30mm, so in effect, it has been reduced to the role of a gendarmerie in it's own country. As our French friends have shown, you cannot go to Africa unless you bring all of the above and be prepared to use them and that every man who goes there knows that if hurt, he will be helivaced out and further airlifted out thereafter and not dependent on the goodwill of allies.

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  31. #70
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    Let's keep is BASIC, the department's default since 1922.
    10 IF DF < IRA THEN GOTO 20, ELSE GOTO 40
    20 BUY FN
    20 IF DF = REAL ARMY THEN GOTO 30 ELSE GOTO 60
    30 CUT FUNDING
    40 WAIT 10
    50 CUT FUNDING
    60 IF AC < MINISTERIAL JET GOTO 70 ELSE GOTO 80
    70 BUY LEARJET
    80 GOTO 10
    Last edited by expat01; 31st March 2016 at 00:10.

  32. #71
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    To put into perspective the cost of Blackhawks.

    Sweden bought 15 UH-60Ms for USD 546 million (€ 480 million)
    http://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/fi...en_10-63_0.pdf

    Austria bought 3 UH-60Ms for USD 137 million (€ 120 million)
    http://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/fi...tria_13-69.pdf

    The first 4 AW139s cost the AC, under €50 million

    So if the AC had got the Blackhawk at best we could have got 3 (most likely 1).

  33. #72
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    Nine Blackhawks would cost Euro 240 million, that's going by the current Slovak Contract.

    Its a lot, but not unaffordable to the Irish state if they spread the payments over five to six years.

  34. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    Nine Blackhawks would cost Euro 240 million, that's going by the current Slovak Contract.

    Its a lot, but not unaffordable to the Irish state if they spread the payments over five to six years.
    Is there any reason why we have to buy equipment in batches? would it not be better to spread out the purchases?
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
    Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
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  35. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    Nine Blackhawks would cost Euro 240 million, that's going by the current Slovak Contract.

    Its a lot, but not unaffordable to the Irish state if they spread the payments over five to six years.
    More like nearly €400m

    http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales...wk-helicopters

    The AW139 payments were more than likely over 2-3 years.


    Quote Originally Posted by Turkey View Post
    Is there any reason why we have to buy equipment in batches? would it not be better to spread out the purchases?
    All the Departments do it, things have improved in recent years but this country doesn't do joined up thinking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    More like nearly €400m

    http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales...wk-helicopters

    The AW139 payments were more than likely over 2-3 years.




    All the Departments do it, things have improved in recent years but this country doesn't do joined up thinking.
    400 million over the LIFE TIME of the deal.

    240 million up front.

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