A bit of help for the Junglies?

fido

MIA
FlagWagger said:
stumpy said:
There were some earlier comments about lack of experienced aircrew for SH... what about these two ideas:

1) Use Army Air Corp Officers. I believe that they tend to only do a few years flying before moving on with their careers. There must be lots of experienced army pilots as there are more helicopters in the AAC than the RN and RAF combined. Get some from behind their desks and up into the air, which they would probably prefer.

2) Use RNR Air Branch Officers. Call them up, it sounds like they are needed.

You missed the third option reported in today's Telegraph - a quick trip to Avis Rent-a-helo, a large amount of money and Bob's your uncle!

Britain forced to use private helicopters in Afghanistan

The desperate shortage of helicopters in Afghanistan has forced the Ministry of Defence to seek the help of a private helicopter company, the government has admitted.

Troops will be ferried around the country in Russian made aircraft, including the biggest helicopter in the world, if the £20 million deal is struck with the British owned company.

Military commanders in Afghanistan have for the last three months been privately demanding more helicopters to help defeat the Taliban and provide supplies to troops in remote villages.

Lord Drayson, the defence procurement minister, told the House of Lords that the Government was considering using an independent helicopter company to provide logistical support for the RAF.

A proposal from Security Support Solutions Ltd to provide four Mi17 Hip and three giant Mi26 Halo transporters was being “seriously considered†by the MoD.

The company has the aircraft, flown by former special forces pilots, available immediately to carry troops, food and ammunition around the country including the volatile towns in northern Helmand province.

The MoD is also considering an offer from the Danish military to purchase six Merlin helicopters which its military are said not to want because of the high maintenance costs, defence sources revealed.

It is also thought that the RAF is short of medium lift helicopter pilots with many either on operations or resting between deployments.

Lord Drayson admitted that there was a shortage of helicopters in Afghanistan.

He was asked by Lord Astor, the shadow defence minister, following the Prime Minister’s promise that commanders would get “whatever they need to defeat the Talibanâ€, would the MoD consider using an independent helicopter company as the RAF’s were “on their last legsâ€?

"Yes we are considering such an avenue,†Lord Drayson said. There were a “number of commercial very active programmes at moment looking to address our helicopter capabilityâ€.

Pressure is also being put on Nato to come up with the funding for the helicopters as the majority of its troops are in parts of Afghanistan less deadly than Helmand province where the British are based.

Commanders are currently relying on the RAF’s eight Chinook helicopters that have been very heavily used ferrying troops and supplies while coming under enemy fire.

The Russian-made helicopters are specifically designed for use in Afghanistan’s “hot and high†conditions with the Mi26 able to carry 100 combat troops or 20 tons of equipment.

Lord Drayson admitted that military planners had underestimated “what we were up against in Afghanistan†but despite that the “courage and dedication†of British troops had “inflicted a massive defeat on the enemyâ€.

He said the military’s decision on the future helicopter programme two years ago had not taken into account the nature of “enduring operations in Afghanistanâ€.

"That has put pressure on helicopter capability. The question is not how we got here but what we are doing now. We are making robust efforts to improve our helicopter capability.â€

Cash from the Treasury was “absolutely not†a problem, he added. “Nothing that has been asked for has been refused.â€

The military was also “doing everything we can†to bring into service eight special forces Chinook helicopters that have never been flown after they were certified unusable following mechanical changes made by engineers.

The proposal for a quick resolution to the helicopter problem was made by Mike Pearson, the director of SSS, after talking to commanders in Afghanistan and in London.

Once these helicopters are deployed they will make an immediate difference to troops on the ground, Mr Pearson, a former paratrooper, told The Daily Telegraph.

“These aircraft are not on the shelf, they could be with the military today releasing the RAF helicopters for military operations. They are also designed to work in the difficult Afghan conditions where they deployed during the Soviet era.â€

The company said the helicopters had been “Westernised†and European engineers would carry out all maintenance.

A MoD spokesman said when new equipment was necessary “we leave no stone unturned to give the front-line the support that it needsâ€.

"We are exploring a number of possibilities to improve helicopter force levels although no final decision has been taken,†he added.

"Wow" - has anyone ever questioned the competence of Drayson? It seems to me that any bog standard FAA senior rating (even a Met) has more understanding and competence to fulfill his role.
 

stumpy

War Hero
I would much rather fly in one of the 8 unused Chinooks (apparently they are of a spec safe enough for the yanks) rather than a mercenary pilot flying an old Russian aircraft. Just how motivated will be be to fly into danger, and just wait for the political flack if one crashes...

About the RNR Air Branch earning big money flying 747s... well just what is the point of being in the RNR if you don''t want to be called up when needed...?
 

fido

MIA
stumpy said:
I would much rather fly in one of the 8 unused Chinooks (apparently they are of a spec safe enough for the yanks) rather than a mercenary pilot flying an old Russian aircraft. Just how motivated will be be to fly into danger, and just wait for the political flack if one crashes...

About the RNR Air Branch earning big money flying 747s... well just what is the point of being in the RNR if you don''t want to be called up when needed...?

Exactly the point - being in the RNR(Air Branch) carries the cachet of rank and the opportuntity to fly your oppo's in a Hawk without the risk of being called upon to do it for real!
 

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
stumpy said:
I would much rather fly in one of the 8 unused Chinooks (apparently they are of a spec safe enough for the yanks) ...
I think the issue of the Chinook's safety is a long-running issue between QinetiQ, the supplier and the MOD. If I recall correct (and I could be miles off) QinetiQ won't give the MOD assurance that they are safe without assessing all systems and the aircraft manfacturer can't or won't release all the information necessary for this assessment. The MOD Airworthiness Rules require QinetiQ's seal of approval before MAR can be granted - I guess the MOD could technically issue a MAR without QinetiQ's assessment but this could leave the MOD liable should any incident occur. Basically, a pot-mess created by a mix of commerical confidentiality, product liability issues and an unwillingness to deviate from the laid down procedures.

stumpy said:
... rather than a mercenary pilot flying an old Russian aircraft. Just how motivated will be be to fly into danger,

Two questions spring to my mind:

1. Will they have secure comms capability with the NATO forces on the ground?

2. Will they have NATO IFF?

(.. and leading on from both of these, the issue of crypto security in rented Russian equipment should keep the Security people occupied for ages!)

stumpy said:
and just wait for the political flack if one crashes...

... or worse, shot down as a result of inadequacies in comms and/or IFF.

stumpy said:
About the RNR Air Branch earning big money flying 747s... well just what is the point of being in the RNR if you don''t want to be called up when needed...?

They just need to ensure that the RN has up to date copies of the civil airlines crew rosters and schedules call-up periods accordingly.
 
With regards to the problem of Sea kings and Afghanistan, they are also try to push ahead with the new blades so we've got an extra 2000lb lift on the old birds! just about right for flying in Helmand
 

empty_vessel

Midshipman
Danish Merlins? -------> Off to Benson, hijacked by the crabs.
Danish Mk 3 Merlins? -------> Not the same as UK Mk 3s, whoops!
Mighty King with new blades? -------> Probably still not got the legs for HERRICK.
Chinook cockpit problems? ---------> Our fault, should have read the specs before we bought really shouldn't we?!
 

jungle_jim

Lantern Swinger
fido said:
Not_a_boffin said:
Rumour going round on PPrune that CHF is going to stand up a Merlin squadron using airframes bumped from the Danish/Portuguese orders. Manned mainly by Culdrose crews but with a Jungly LH seat.

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=246393


Great to have a bit of relief for the SK4 crews, but is it permanent or is it the temporary PFI mooted some weeks ago?

Anybody shed any light?

I've not heard of this - not surprising really, CHF are Navy when it suits 'em and Army when it don't! Seeing the recent fait accompli concerning 24 Regiment sprung by the Army, nothing surprises me any more.

i think you will find that all RN CHF are proud of the RN and FAA and will defend the RN and FAA whilst detached. also i dont know of any royals that will claim whilst wearing their green berets that they are army.
 

jungle_jim

Lantern Swinger
Junglie_lad said:
With regards to the problem of Sea kings and Afghanistan, they are also try to push ahead with the new blades so we've got an extra 2000lb lift on the old birds! just about right for flying in Helmand

its good to know we are all considering op sec in the internet
 
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