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  1. #101
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    Suggested Additional Aircorps Fleet

    A MIG-29, couple of hawks or even a Hercules C130 - it would be nice to see them parked down on the Tarmac in Baldonnel .. i know i know operational, airwothiness costs etc.. but i'm sure if we asked our neighbours nicely they might lend us some.

    btw anybody know off hand what the Aircorps annual budget allowance is ?

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  3. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    Hi all,
    Very good comments there, jns.in the case of my friend mentioned above, the class size was 24 and two were killed in a crash, which skews the numbers a bit....I disagree with what you said about getting along in a crew environment.In the airline business, new pilots and cabin crew are trained to operate together from day one.The whole industry is based around team playing, active crew participation and co-operation.Soloists are not welcomed or encouraged.Which is why pilots get to interact with cabin crew for emergency training and spend a considerable amount of their career with them on duty, just as they do with engineers and ops people and have to get along with them to make the whole show work.The military is less good at this, partly because it is an rank/order-led hierarchy.If you really want to understand the difference, you should see how pilots have to learn to change mentalities when they leave the Don and join the airlines.Some of them are less than successful at this but soon get readjusted.People coming out of the military often lack the interactional skills with non-pilots because the system breeds them to percieve to be above the rest and an us-and-them attitude/culture is created.this is swiftly knocked on the head outside but it does take a while, in some cases.
    regards
    gttC

    I'm always wary of lessons from civilian organisations. The personnel requirements are and always will be different at a very fundamental level.
    While some, like Blackwater or (Chubb and ADT for that matter), may order employees to kill, no civilian airline and no company can order its people to die. Civilian management and personnel philosophies simply Do Not Apply.

  4. #103
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    The Scorpions were bought in the late 1970's with the intention of eventually buying MBT
    There was a very ambitious plan for the defence forces in place in the mid 1970s, including a 12-14 ship NS, a small force of MBTs (Leopard 1s btw) for the army etc. The repercussions of 2 oil crises and 1 complete disaster of a budget (1977) put paid to it, regardless of how realistic it was in the first place.

    In terms of purchasing the Pc-9s, the fact of the matter is that they are very nearly as capable as any jet trainer or 'pretend' light strike aircraft. Neither could justifiably be operated abroad, neither have proper optics, ecm, radar, or ew equipment, and neither would be surviveable in a hostile environment. Both only have limited 'COIN' strike abilities, and possess a very basic air to air capacity - useful against helicopters or light aircraft, but not at night or in bad weather.

    If the AC had gone for a pretend fighter instead of the PC-9, they would still have to purchase a more basic trainer, and would still be without any meaningful combat capacity. At least this way they have one worthwhile fleet of aircraft, which they can afford to keep in the air.

    I don't understand why they don't use light aircraft as a screening or very basic trainer though.

    As for the AH-6 - for very specific purposes its ideal (SOF work, LOH etc), but for more generic tasks its a toy. I do think that armed and deployable helicopters are a valid way forward for the AC, but they need to get the basics right first - being able to operate (and sustain) transport helicopters abroad*. Then they can start work on the next step - and as already discussed in other threads, the most flexible replacement for the Cessnas would probably be a mixed fleet, a very small number of Cessna Caravan type aircraft, and a larger number of small twin engined helicopters (EC-135/635), all of which could deployed abroad in support of EU/UN missions.

    Attack helicopters like the Mangusta or Tiger would be a huge step - they are as complex in many ways as full on fighter aircraft. And they're expensive too ...

    *Edit; While we're on the subject, a useful way forward would be a further purchase of 139s (or 149s), with the eventual aim of operating a type like the NH-90 in the middle of the next decade, so the heli fleet would be of the order of 10 EC135/635s, 10 AW139/149 and 4-6 NH-90s. If you're going to Walter, you might as well do it in style.
    Last edited by Aidan; 19th August 2008 at 17:41.

  5. #104
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    The 8 x PC-9s were purchased to replace the 7 (I think) x Marchetti (basic trainer) & 6 x Fouga (advanced trainer).

  6. #105
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    Replacing what was effectively two obsolete aircraft types, both of which drank fuel and maintenance budgets, is not all that hard.The generational gap between the two fleets is in the order of thirty years.Same as for the EC135s doing away with the A.IIIs and the Gazelles.Given that the rest of the fleet, apart from the King air and the Cessnas, are EFIS/FADEC, it's about time the training fleet were up to date....I agree that the focus for the future should be on load-lifting assets, either heli or fixed-wing, with a definite eye towards foreign ops.
    regards
    GttC

  7. #106
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    Aidan,

    How did you know it was leopard 1? What else did the army's plan call for?

  8. #107
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    GttC people are asking why we bought so many PC-9s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post

    In terms of purchasing the Pc-9s, the fact of the matter is that they are very nearly as capable as any jet trainer or 'pretend' light strike aircraft. Neither could justifiably be operated abroad, neither have proper optics, ecm, radar, or ew equipment, and neither would be surviveable in a hostile environment. Both only have limited 'COIN' strike abilities, and possess a very basic air to air capacity - useful against helicopters or light aircraft, but not at night or in bad weather.

    If the AC had gone for a pretend fighter instead of the PC-9, they would still have to purchase a more basic trainer, and would still be without any meaningful combat capacity. At least this way they have one worthwhile fleet of aircraft, which they can afford to keep in the air.

    I don't understand why they don't use light aircraft as a screening or very basic trainer though.

    I'm defending the type & number purchased.

    We bought a smaller number of more capable aircraft to replace 2 older less capable less maintainable aircraft.

    At any 1 time I'd except that at least 1 aircraft is in maintenance so that would leave only 7 serviceable, if there are 5 students in cadet training, that leaves 2 spare for conversion training, army/navy co-op, instructor training, etc etc

  9. #108
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    Sources for this are complex, and its not clear just how much is in the public domain, or how much is even true. From memory, the book "A History of the Irish Army" by JP Duggan has a mention in it - I'll check later (it certainly outlines the DFs plans pre WWII in detail). Those general elements of the 'plan' that I've heard of were that the Scorpions would be augmented by a similar number of Stormers very shortly afterwards, with the intention of building up 1 Tank Squadron to a larger (Combined Arms) force, and that in turn, the Scorpions would be replaced by Leo 1s (no idea of numbers), and the Scorpions 'downgraded' to being a screening/reconaissance force for what would become 1st (Armoured) Battalion. The rest of the PDF infantry Batts would be a mix of light infantry and Mechanised Infantry (equipped with Timoney APCs).

    I've no idea as to the strategic or political colour or context to all of this, and I'm sure rumour has played a part in intervening years, but there does seem to be at least some substance to the theory. This kind of a development would have been a major change in the attitude of the state towards the DF, and Defence spending in general, and would have to involve serious political committment - of course it's entirely plausible (and even likely given the incumbent) that this was a wishlist drawn up by a particularly imaginative Minister for Defence, with no strategic or policy context. There were a couple of purchases in that period that give a hint of some substance though. The P31/32 debacle (and 33/34 if some of the rumours are to be believed), Scorpion purchase, Timoney 'programme' were all supposed to be the first stage of larger plans for the development of the DF throughout the 1980s - as it happened the only substantial purchases were either projects that had dragged on (P31), were cut to hell (Dauphin) or were absolutely necessary (Steyr).

    I suppose we'll find out more in 2075-77. See you at the National Archives ...

    And to bring this even slightly back to topic, the rumours for the AC included F-5Es ...

  10. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    GttC people are asking why we bought so many PC-9s.




    I'm defending the type & number purchased.

    We bought a smaller number of more capable aircraft to replace 2 older less capable less maintainable aircraft.

    At any 1 time I'd except that at least 1 aircraft is in maintenance so that would leave only 7 serviceable, if there are 5 students in cadet training, that leaves 2 spare for conversion training, army/navy co-op, instructor training, etc etc

    Does that imply that five cadets each have their own PC-9 for the year?

    The syllabus is said to involve 150 hours of flying. If that's right, then the requirement for five pilots in training would be 750 hours per year. Add in instructor training, air tests, whatever... Maybe the annual aircraft requirement could be lifted to a total of 1,500 hours? What is the normal utilisation rate for a military trainer aircraft? 500 hours a year? So eight aircraft means 4,000 hours available?

    These are ballpark figures, and I'm sure some of the more knowledgeable people here can correct them, but it does seem like very substantial overcapacity.

  11. #110
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
    "A History of the Irish Army" by JP Duggan has a mention in it - I'll check later (it certainly outlines the DFs plans pre WWII in detail). Those general elements of the 'plan' that I've heard of were that the Scorpions would be augmented by a similar number of Stormers very shortly afterwards, with the intention of building up 1 Tank Squadron to a larger (Combined Arms) force,
    All correct

    The rest of the PDF infantry Batts would be a mix of light infantry and Mechanised Infantry (equipped with Timoney APCs).
    Correct

    and that in turn, the Scorpions would be replaced by Leo 1s (no idea of numbers), and the Scorpions 'downgraded' to being a screening/reconaissance force for what would become 1st (Armoured) Battalion.
    Don't remember that!

    Quote Originally Posted by easyrider View Post
    Does that imply that five cadets each have their own PC-9 for the year?
    Obviously they don't but I presume their programme doesn't allow 3 to be in lectures and 2 to be flying!? I'm saying that if there are 5 in training each has to have an aircraft available to them during the flying phases. Also how long is the flying training is it over 12 months? If it is there could be 2 classes in training at the one time.

  12. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by easyrider View Post
    Does that imply that five cadets each have their own PC-9 for the year?

    The syllabus is said to involve 150 hours of flying. If that's right, then the requirement for five pilots in training would be 750 hours per year. Add in instructor training, air tests, whatever... Maybe the annual aircraft requirement could be lifted to a total of 1,500 hours? What is the normal utilisation rate for a military trainer aircraft? 500 hours a year? So eight aircraft means 4,000 hours available?

    These are ballpark figures, and I'm sure some of the more knowledgeable people here can correct them, but it does seem like very substantial overcapacity.
    Not bothered checking your figures right now but have you accounted for a) the weather and b) daylight?
    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

  13. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny no stars View Post
    Not bothered checking your figures right now but have you accounted for a) the weather and b) daylight?

    Fail to see what impact weather and daylight have on these figures. These are capacity figures.

    If four aircraft are sufficient when the sun is shining, four aircraft are still sufficient when it's raining.

    He is right, there is substantial over capacity.

    Loss of flying hours due to weather has nothing to do with the number of aircraft hours available. Aircraft hours will be available regardless of the weather.

  14. #113
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    A pilot doesn't learn how to fly while sitting on the ground, with a perfectly serviceable aircraft ready to go, but weather too bad to fly. The objective is training hours, not theoretical availability hours.

  15. #114
    Commandant Jetjock's Avatar
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    Barry,


    The figures Johnny questioned are for all intents and purposes, aircraft availability Vs aircraft utilisation.

    If 4 aircraft provide sufficient aircraft availability, then having 8 aircraft will not increase aircraft utilisation when the rain is pouring down.

    On the flip side, I see what you mean regarding making the best of of the fleet when the sun shines. But that implies there are the bods to strap into them. And that there are instructors available. However 2/3 available aircraft should be more than enough to train 5 pilots.

  16. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Come-quickly View Post
    In relation to two of easyriders previous comments

    AH-6s: If anything could seem less suitable for CAS/Recce for our long ranged patrols in Africa than a PC-9 you may have just found it.

    ARHs: How much less expensive do you expect the purchase and upkeep of L-159s to be? At least specialist combat aircraft have a wide range of practical applications for us any purchase of viable deployable aircraft, be they transport or recce/cas is going to be a major purchase but if the need is there they can be obtained.
    The H-6 is small short ranged and some redundancy measures aside unprotected...perhaps we should consider some new build S.E. 5s as an alternative?
    The AH-6 may or may not be suitable for the Air Corps, but the Iraqi Air Force are looking for 24 of them, or alternatively Bell 407s (civilian basis for ARH-70A).

    There's also a story that the Iraqis are looking for 50 or more Gazelles, to be bought from the British or French armies.

    If the British and/or French are disposing of their Gazelles at a knock-down price, and if there's 10 years or more of life left in those helicopters, sounds like there might be a bargain to be had. A dozen of those for a couple of hundred K each would provide a useful asset for overseas missions (where you don't need IFR and VIP configurations).

    (from Janes,
    "... The British Army's only homeland security and civil-emergency support aviation regiment is to disband by April 2009 as an economy measure. Some 22 Westland Gazelle AH.1 light-observation and utility helicopters are to be withdrawn three years ahead of schedule...")
    Last edited by easyrider; 20th August 2008 at 16:20.

  17. #116
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    Hi there
    The number of PC-9s is (possibly)based on the previous history of having a number of airframe losses and downtime of Marchettis.It wasn't unusual in the bad ol' days of having a Marchetti down for 9 months for major overhaul plus what ever time was lost for repairs following heavy landings and other prangs. For what was a simple aircraft, they had a very poor utility rate.Now, they are getting very high utility rates and thankfully, much less down time due to silly accidents/incidents.Also, the students can use the(very realistic and accurate) sim when it's not a flyable day, so training days are not lost.Also, the advantage of having all airframes capable of carrying stores means that all airframes can share the duty of gunnery training.The Marchettis only had a limited availability of pylons so not all of the aircraft could do the gunnery training.
    I'm just back from a look at a 139.Very posh indeed.A far, far cry from the "chicken-chaser"!
    regards
    GttC

  18. #117
    Colonel johnny no stars's Avatar
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    The point I was trying to make is that conditions aren't suitable for flying 24/7/365 and to base calculations on that is ridiculous, especially when talking about training aircraft. Besides, surely there would be periods of high demand and lower demand on all aircraft so in theory 4 might suffice because taken over every given hours it is more than enough for the number of people using them but in reality if 1 is grounded for some reason, the weather has been bad lately and you get a good flying day and there's a cadet class or three plus maybe some instructor courses on suddenly there's a whole lot more demand for them than 4 can supply. Covering yourself for the bare minimum is a very very foolish approach in just about anything. While we're at it why not say "Oh ok, if I'm on security and 4 other people are also on security, the threat is low and if worst comes to worst 60 or so rounds will need to be blasted off, lets only take 12 rounds each".
    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

  19. #118
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    I would also venture a guess that the Don was told, by the Finance people, that they would have sum X to spend on quantity Y, to include spares, sim and support and to spend it wisely, as such a bounty would not be available again, for a long time.Which, given the current financial climate, means that they will have to make do with what they have now for a very long time.Also, the entire DF has suffered from the making-do-with-very-little attitude so it's nice to see a few bob about the place.
    I guess 8 will do.
    regards
    GttC

  20. #119
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    The Gardai were told to cut the Wage bill by €50m. I wonder what the Defence forces have to cut? No capital expend over €10m in any department unless it can be justified to the Dept of finance.

    Luckily criminals have given up crime... and all our military vehicles are new....

    Oh wait.. OOPS!


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

  21. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny no stars View Post
    Covering yourself for the bare minimum is a very very foolish approach in just about anything. .
    Agreed, but let me assure you as someone who has gone through a form of flight training, albeit not military, a fleet of 8 aircraft should easily train 20+ military pilots per anum on a 150 hour/student basis, regardless of weather conditions or daylight hours.

    That I would argue is the reason there are eight aircraft and not our unpredictable weather. In case the need arises, for whatever reason, to train a larger group of pilots.

    As regards night flight, I dont know what the Air Corps usual is for that but in civvy land(Sunshine Stateside) , I was hour building at night(VFR) 5 weeks after my first flight. I'm sure though that military flight training is a lot more structured than my first 150 hours. Formation, Gunnery etc. all added into the mix.
    Last edited by Jetjock; 21st August 2008 at 01:06.

  22. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
    ...........

    *Edit; While we're on the subject, a useful way forward would be a further purchase of 139s (or 149s), with the eventual aim of operating a type like the NH-90 in the middle of the next decade, so the heli fleet would be of the order of 10 EC135/635s, 10 AW139/149 and 4-6 NH-90s. If you're going to Walter, you might as well do it in style.
    Aidan,

    Just wondering/waltering, if you're going to add a medium lift heli to the AC fleet, I know the NH90 is an excellent machine, but does it give you sufficient additional lift capability (20 troops) compared to the AW139? Would 4-6 Eurocopter Cougars - each carrying up to 29 troops - be an alternative?

    Perhaps in determining numbers, it would help to define the operational requirement, e.g. land one company with support weapons and supplies for X days, all in one lift?

  23. #122
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    Perhaps in determining numbers, it would help to define the operational requirement, e.g. land one company with support weapons and supplies for X days, all in one lift?
    Of course it would, but I'm waltering, and that removes any requirement for a rational procurement process.

    The process would have to be tiered (as it already is), with the strategic context set by Govt through a White Paper, and with the required operational capacity and timelines defined by the DF and DOD across the PDF (in coordination with our allies). All of this takes years, as you well know. Only when a political decision is in place on the general strategic position, and on the course of action for the next planning period, would the procurement process begin, which would involve, at the very outset, an evaluation of the cost benefit ratio of various options (in terms of numbers of airframes required, the capacity of each, support costs and various other procurement options), and outline discussions with D/Fin around indicative budgets. Then you can start work on tender documents with very precise requirements.

    Given that I don't have that information, I couldn't possibly say what would be the most appropriate airframe - I just used the NH-90 as shorthand for the next capacity ramp up. It could well be that the AC/DOD would just prefer another AW-139/149 buy. Who knows.

  24. #123
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    Well, I made a post the other day about the future of the Irish Air Corps and it evidently was a bit too "straightforward". I'd really like to see something done about the lack of actual air muscle in the Air Corps. Where's the jets? Why doesn't the Air Corps have at least something along the lines of a Fouga still? You need to have some kind of interceptor aircraft at the least. I think some Hawk 200's would be an excellent type to implement. they're small, maneuverable, well armed - they can be armed with Sidewinders, or Exocet anti-shipping missiles, and they have some form of auto cannon I belive. 20mm sounds about right...... :/ Dunno. It's really sad though that there is only a bunch of minesterial aircraft and some helicopters floating around whilst the PC-9's trainers train pilots for - what? You can't train a soldier to do something and then never give him the tool to do it with. It's not right, and makes no sense whatsoever. Ireland needs to have some form of aerial defence in the actual air, not just the land based Bofors and Giraffe SAM systems.
    Solution for an idiot: frontline infantry.

  25. #124
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    Buddy, well intentioned, but seriously, do you think that you are the first to suggest that? No fault to you but look back through all of the discussions on the board. IT AINT HAPPENING!!! Until this country realises that Non aligned is not the same as Neutral, we will always be in the descendancy.

  26. #125
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    Well, I just joined only a short while ago, and I haven't had the time to browse through all of the posts about this topic. All I wanted was a short summarized condensed soup answer. I have only just now browsed through all the posts for this topic and I apologize for being such a DA.

    I'll try my best to do my homework before any more questions.
    Solution for an idiot: frontline infantry.

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