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  1. #1
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Air Corps:The future

    Given the recent discussions,and the lack of understanding that some people have of the current capabilities of the Air Corps, I thought its time to see where they are,and where they are going,aircraft by aircraft.

    I have colour coded the types based on whether they are:-
    due for retirement within 10 years
    available for at least 10 years
    awaiting disposal
    aircraft ordered,but not delivered

    1 Beech King Air 200 2010

    5 Cessna FR172H/K 2002

    4 Aerospatiale SA365Fi Dauphin 2003

    8 Aerospatiale SA312B Alouette III

    7 Siai-Marchetti SF260 WE 2002

    1 Aerospatiale SA342L Gazelle 2004

    1 Gulfstream IV 2021

    2 Casa CN235 2024

    1 Bombardier Aerospace Learjet 45

    8 Pilatus PC9M

    2 Eurocopter EC135P2

    6 Agusta Bell AB139
    Last edited by Goldie fish; 26th October 2008 at 12:11.


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

  2. #2
    Nijmegen Neanderthal Eddie Dillon's Avatar
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    When you look at it, that's 25 aircraft going to be retired in the near future with only 6 new aircraft ordered.

    That'll give us an operational strength of 18 aircraft
    - 2 business jets
    - 2 maritime patrol aircraft
    - 8 trainers (training for what I don't know)
    - 6 helicopters

    We'd have to buy another 19 aircraft just to maintain the present fleet number (excluding the Marchettis)

    6 choppers for the entire country? Something's wrong somewhere.
    "Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied."

    Otto Von Bismark

  3. #3
    Brigadier General
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    Errr, strictly the Marchetties should be coded blue as they are stored out of use awaiting a sale decision.
    The Gazelle currently remains in use.
    The Lear jet is apparently due to be sold????

    We should be considering a much larger fleet of helicopters, as well as transport aircrafts, a utility replacement [more helicopters?] there really should be more then 2 Maritime patrol aircrafts, and also what ever 'they' have in mind for the PC-9's to lead too, assuming this is what 'they' have in mind, assuming 'they' can scrape together a mind between them.
    "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

  4. #4
    40 years still keen
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    PC-9 training leads to Ryanair et al. As did other basic trainers lead to Aer Lingus at one stage. As a strategy for the State it was an excellent plan for peacetime. The same was true for the Heli wing, through the AC and on out the other side to Bristow or some other outfit. This was also true for the technical ground crew. The money spent on the AC seems from this remove to benefit the State in the creation of skilled technical workeforce , the most valuable resource we can have.
    Last edited by Gunner Who?; 5th June 2005 at 02:43.

  5. #5
    Sqdn. Ldr Silver's Avatar
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    I agree - more transports are needed, both fixed-wing and rotary....a.s.a.p!

    However, I think the PC-9's have been a 'wise buy'. They have the flexability to train pilots from basic to advanced flying, while also providing the Corps with a useful light strike capability!
    And don't forget, the PC-9's have replaced two aircraft types!
    IRISH AIR CORPS - Serving the Nation.

  6. #6
    40 years still keen
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    Abrakadabra, One new one replaces 2 or even 3 old ones . What kind of smoke and mirrors game is that being peddled by some slick consultant. Its numbers in the air that count , does that mean by any stretch of the imagination that if one of these is shot down of otherwise falls out of the sky then it will be reported as two of our aircraft are missing? dum de dum. BTW there is a good video clip of an AC PC-9 live firing in Austria on the go.
    Last edited by Gunner Who?; 5th June 2005 at 01:37.

  7. #7
    40 years still keen
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    As to the future, Close Baldonnel and move to the Boot Inn side of Dublin Airport . Think of the savings that would make. As the airport must be high on the VI list there would be an on site presence. Of course this would be true for Shannon pehaps a better macro economic as well as security case to be made for relocating there. Look to the future ok
    Last edited by Gunner Who?; 5th June 2005 at 02:30.

  8. #8
    Vmax
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    Goldie,

    A very comprehensive list.The reims rocket K model 243 was sadly destroyed.Are there sill five or four of the H model left.

  9. #9
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    I included losses in the above figures. 248 and 243 are not included,as well as the gazelle that was used as a plough.


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

  10. #10
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    I'd be willing to consider that the King air and Cessna replacments will be bundled together too,with the same two for one deal that has seen the Pilatus replace the Fouga and Marchetti. Possibly a twin engined machine,to allow conversion training to the larger types such as the CN235 and GIV. A certain amount of VIP transport would possibly be expected too,if only for "island hopping".

    I'd say about four of this type. I'd rule out the caravan, due to its single engine nature,as well as the fact that its potential pilots would be in the unusual situation of having to move after initial training to a less powerful type.


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

  11. #11
    6-40509-04014-7 yooklid's Avatar
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    So in reality the fleet looks like this:


    1 Gulfstream IV 2021

    2 Casa CN235 2024

    1 Bombardier Aerospace Learjet 45

    8 Pilatus PC9M

    2 Eurocopter EC135P2

    4 Agusta Bell AB139

    Not great, but to be honest, it looks like part of the mickey mouseness could be gone. If the expand the fleet by buying more of these airframes, say 4 more 139s and then 2/4 more 135s it looks a lot better.
    Meh.

  12. #12
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    True. I would prefer to see 25 aircraft of six different types than 42 aircraft of 12 types.

    I still say they should get a few more CN235N type instead of flashy biz jets. I'd be willing to trade the Learjet,King air and the remaining 5 Cessnas for 3 or 4 more Standard CASAs.


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

  13. #13
    6-40509-04014-7 yooklid's Avatar
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    Yeah, but buying regular CASA's is a commitment to Airlift. If we go down that road I'd rather see something capable of lifting a Mowag - that said, can a reguar 235 or 295 do that? I don't know. Either should be capable of lifting the IMO paratroop regiment however.

    Whatever we get, let's hope it's something that shares parts/training so it will drive cost down for bang for buck.
    Meh.

  14. #14
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    can a reguar 235 or 295 do that?
    Nope, a standard C-130 would be tight, chances are (the turret on Irish PIIIs is higher than that on the Stryker, and the only way that fits in the USAF C-130 fleet is if they waive safety regulations). To realistically be able to airlift the PIII, you'd need something of the order of the AN-124 or A400.

    Cases where the need to airlift PIIIs using owned assets are likely to be rare, rare enough not to justify the costs of ownership of these size of aircraft in their own right. Theres a lot to be said for a C-295, not least the substantial parts commonality with the CN-235s already in service. A pair of C-295s for transport to begin with, and a further pair of 235s for MARPAT would be a great start. Both, unfortunately, would have to be paid for entirely out of national funds.

    Were the AC in a position to operate, maintain and support a fleet of this size of aircraft over a period of years, then they'd be in a position to consider operating larger types. But not before.

  15. #15
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    Looking at what aircraft will be left over, the only missions will be VIP transport, training and ACP. Maybe the Agusta Bell will be able to perform light military duties, but I'd say SAR and Air Ambulance services will be what the helicopters will be doing in the future. As to the fixed wing aircraft, the VIP transport and fishery patrol functions must continue, and if we want to continue to train pilots the PC9s and the odd Cesna will be necessary.

    I'd love to have transport helicopters for Infantry, but given the budget, that's a dream, and why would we need them? Do we really need transport for infantry? On UN missions others can provide that and transport helicopters would be too vulnerable without fixed wing aircraft to protect them, so unless we got some fighters too I'd say the missions as above will be what we can do in the future. And do we really need the PC9s? Why not outsource the training to the States? Better and Cheaper?!?

  16. #16
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Tank: I'm not sure where you live,but have you ever been stuck in traffic recently?
    Have you ever tried to cross this small country of ours in less than a day? Its almost impossible by road.
    The reason for the purchace of helicopters,may come as a surprise to many as it has never ever been mentioned anywhere on this board before. To transport the ARW around the country if they are required,and to train troops in operating with helicopters before they go overseas.
    An even bigger surprise to most of you here will be that ....there is no intention to deploy air corps aircraft overseas.

    In case you missed a memo,the Air Corps do not provide SAR helis to the state any more. It did in the past because nobody else could,but now there are a number of private operators who can do it cheaper(to the state at least) so let them have it.

    I'm not even gonna get started on the PC9 debate. Thats a whole other deja vu.


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

  17. #17
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    What about the Sea King? Based in Shannon as far as I'm aware? I thought that was Air Corps? Maybe it's not anymore. I'd be grateful for info on that.

    I see your point about traffic and getting the ARW places, but if the Air Corps don't provide SAR etc. anymore (I thought the Eurocopters were earmarked for air ambulance duties?) would the 6 helicopters we have not be able to transport enough ARW personnel to get by in the first instance? About 32 troops by my admittedly rough calculations. I'm not an expert on aircraft though, so I could be way out on that one. I suppose they are ok to train personnel going overseas, even if there are better helicopters out there.

    Goldie, I never presumed that this country would want to send choppers overseas, although other board members seem to advocate that.

  18. #18
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Be honest tank. You work in the Dept of finance,don't you?


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

  19. #19
    Old Redeye
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    If I may wrap together a number of points on the future:

    Airlift - the right ansawer is to enter into the nascent European Airlift Group EAG), currently not much more than an ops center in Eindhoven, but expected to evolve into a standardized multi-national airlift force similar to, if much smaller than the USAF Air Mobility Command. The core will be A400/C-130J with C-17/MRTT's/contracted AN-124 and CASA's at either end. With 1-2 CASA CN-295's the IAC could contribute regular intra-Europe sorties serving any approved member requirements and could offer a deployed intra-theater airlift capability similar to what Belgian and Portugese 130's currently provide to ISAF in Afghansitan, for instance. In return, when Irish forces deploy on a European operation they could do so via EAG heavy-lift assets such as C-17, A-400 and contract AN-124.

    B200/Cessna replacement - What are the Cessna's used for exactly? Pilot candidate screening? Bank transfers? Why replace all of them. C-172's can be maintained pretty much forever and are cheap to operate and maintain. Keep 3-4 of them principally for the pilot candidate screenng role to avoid wasting PC-9 hours on unsuitable prospects. Replace the B200 with either another B200 or a PC-12, preferably the latter. A low time B200 built since 2000 can be had on the market for $US1-2M thereabouts and will provide a good 10+ years of service. A new PC-12 would be economical and compatible with the PC-9. Every newly winged FW pilot coming off the PC-9 should spend a year on the PC-12 brushing up skills and confidence, particularly instrument work and flying busy European sectors. The PC-12 would serve as a utility aircraft supporting the DF staff and EU battlegroup operations staffs, who will have to travel regularly to the other 2-3 countries in the Irish battlegroup (UK, NL & Czech Rep are one possibility). The PC-12 is a superb air ambulance with a large cargo door and easily installed 2x patient medical bed kit. Not being able to provide actual multi-engine training is less important than providing new pilots the skills and confidence they need to move up the operational ladder. Pilots coming off their year on the PC-12 will get their actual 'multi-engine' transition when they move on to the CN-235MPA and C-295 respectively. Of course the PC-12 would also be a MATS back-up as required, particularly for the Belfast shuttle.

    Lear 45/G-IV replacement - No rush here at all, but if the rumor proves true that the Lear will be sold off, may I suggest trading it and the G-IV in to Bombardier for a pair of new Challenger 604's. One in standard VIP kit, the other a high density utility/medevac combi. In addition to carrying larger delegations of up to 12, the latter would also be convertible to an air ambulance role, specifically to provide the capability to evacuate injured military personnel from overseas missions.

    Helicopters - This is the heart of the emerging IAC. Obtain more - at least 8 AB-139's and probably an additional EC-135 to take on the full utility/VIP/medical transfer role so that the 139's can be fully devoted to military missions. While the defense minister may have good political reasons for saying the 139's will never deploy overseas, it's an absurd notion. Why have them then? As training aids? Ridiculous. Develop a capability to deploy a package of 4-5 139's as part of a multi-national effort (the EU battlegoup first and foremeost) under the auspices of the planned European Support Helicopter Force. The 139's would be very complimentary to a deployed force consisiting of NH-90's or Merlins in the primary trooping role - leaving the 139's with Recce, medevac, command support (C2), SF support, etc. An example is the role of the 5 aircraft Turkish Blackhawk detachment serving with the ISAF air group in Kabul.

    That's all for now......

  20. #20
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Oddly enough we are one of the few countries who do not use the cessna for initial pilot training,even though it is the mainstay of many civilian flight schools. Target towing, Parachuting,top cover for cash escorts,counting seals in shannon estuary for the dept of agriculture, are just some of the tasks that have been undertaken by the Cessnas in the past.


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

  21. #21
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    I wish I did....Maybe some of the money could be spent better than it is now.

    Don't get me wrong here. I'd love to spend loads of money on a big military force and let evryone have all the latest gadgets. But that's not possible. And the watchword these days is high tech and interoperability, so I would rather concentrate on the areas that Irish servicemen and women need than on things that are not as vital.

    All the aircraft the Air Corps have now could be termed as vital. So that's fine. Maybe one more helicopter. But after that, you've really got to ask yourself where the money could be better spent than on an Air Corps that really only has domestic duties.

  22. #22
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    Hi all
    redeye, you're on the money here. The King Air should be sold off before it becomes worthless altogether. For a KingAir, it has huge airframe hours built up and is devaluing like an Iraqi Dinar. The Cessnas should have been used for pilot screening years ago and I've been saying so for just as long.If it's good enough for the USAF,etc...They are still young enough, in airframe terms, to be kept on in service.Just get them to buy a Caravan for realistic para training. As for a cargo aircraft, well, if we need to go international, hire in the big stuff.Let Heavylift or DHL take the strain. They're better at it than the Don will ever be.
    We should also reopen the Naval helicopter role by buying Super Lynx and giving the Navy their own pilots/engineers and call it a mini-Fleet Air Arm.
    regards
    GttC

  23. #23
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Problem being the Rheims Rocket or Cessna if you like ..is that we bought the one with the big engine which makes in two twitchy for student training..it is well suited to the job it does but its far toompoerful as a primary trainer.

    We bought the 210hp version...its well acepted in flyinhg schools that 100hp machine is the most suitable primary trainer...then work up to the larger airframes.
    Time for another break I think......

  24. #24
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    Hi all
    Well,HPT, if a docile aircraft like a Cessna 172H/K is too powerful to act as a screener, how in the name of God did people cope with a much faster, twitchier Marchetti? The failure rate of cadet classes was in the order of 60% or greater, for many years and a contributory factor was the inability of raw cadets to cope with a high-performance Marchetti, with not even a few basic hours under their belts. The Air Corps is probably one of the very few Forces not to have screening and it costs a fortune to have cadets fall out of the training scheme after having consumed so many resources. I knew a man who was a screening instructor for the USAF and he swore by the process, because it weeded out people who couldn't show an ability to learn under pressure and it saved a fortune. Obviously, cadets failed higher up in the training schedule, usually in the transition to instrument flight or into a complex aircraft, but the failure rate was much less than for unscreened cadets. A few bob spent on circuits in a 172 would have saved money wasted on repairing Marchettis!
    regards
    GttC

  25. #25
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    The C172s were never used as screening aircraft. The air corps school teachs students with 0 flying hours and takes them all the way to qualification. They now do it on the pc 9s and the first group of students have gone on their first solo flights, no screener, (wish i could do that).

    60% wash out rates are a thing of the past when they used to recruit directly from the army officer corps. Now the air corps recruit directly and run candidates through a vast series of tests including corordination testing. Wash out rates are down to maybe 1 person per class. Infact a few years ago 100% of a class of about 10 passed, no probs. Whats the point of screening with those results.

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