Purple_twiglet said:The problem with bringing Blackhawk into service is that each airframe we use has to undergo trials / training and so on. Its not a case of going "heres a helo, use it" - but a case of knowing what to do with it so we can use it properly.
In terms of training - if we don't train the pilots to use the kit, then they may crash it - so not much use there is it? If we don't train the engineers to use the kit, then they canâ€™t maintain it and the planes fall out of the sky. If weâ€™re going to rely on the US to provide the manpower (a very dangerous assumption as if they turn off the tap, we are totally screwed), then we may as well get US squadrons attached â€“ itâ€™ll be quicker to do that. I havenâ€™t even touched on the integration issues, of putting our kit onto the airframe, modifying it to Theatre Entry Standard, and then ensuring it works well enough to be relied on and used by our people. Its not a case of â€œbuy a helicopter and put it in Helmandâ€ â€“ itâ€™s a case of buy an airframe and get it to the point where we can deploy it, sustain it, and use it alongside our own kit without problems and then put it in helmand. This takes time â€“ in peacetime several years, and in ops time, still several years.
The other problem weâ€™d have is where do we get the manpower from to do this â€“ we have a limited pool of engineers and aircrew and they are stretched to the limit. If we take them off current fleets then we canâ€™t sustain the Mk4 and Lynx and lose availability. If we recruit new entrants, then itâ€™ll take 2-3 years minimum before we have enough people to man up the airfames and use them properly. We donâ€™t have the bodies available to just go â€œman a whole new aircraft type and sustain currently in service fleetsâ€ â€“ I wish to god we did, but the system doesnâ€™t work like that.
The SH requirement is for an increase in capability now - not in the 3-5 yrs it would take to bring the Blackhawk into service. We also don't have the money to do it, but thats a moot point really!
Manpower? Take all the pilots flying around in teeny weeny airways and give them some grown up helos. Those Lynx's can then be usefully parked in a field for spares.
There ya go gainâ€¦ WHY do we have to fit out any airframe we buy with all bespoke kit? We always get this from Whitehallâ€¦ as long as the radios work on our frequencies you're good to go in the real world. Likewise, it don't take years to transition a pilot to a new type. People like Bristows et all do it in weeks not years. Mate of mine used to fly Lynx's off the back of a pussers war canoe. Went outside, some conversion training and now he's happily gadding about in a nice shiny and very gucchi EC145 for Her Majesties Police.
It's always the same from MoD, spares, logistics, training, blah, blah, blahâ€¦ And meanwhile, most of the rest of the world, both military and civil seems to have no big drama buying and deploying shiny new 'Made in the USA' toys. NO matter what MoD buys they always spend years getting it into service. One is reminded of the bullshit issue with the bung in the back of a Hellfire that caused so much drama for us, but caused no issues over many years with dozens of other users. A suspicious mind would think that a huge industry had grown up to keep gazillions of MoD civil serpents gainfully employed doing tests, trials and writing up mountains of paperwork for the prime purpose of keeping themselves gainfully employed.