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AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Contains threads on Joint Service equipment of the past, present and future.
Timmymagic
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 21 Apr 2019, 13:17

Caribbean wrote:Surely a navalised EC135/145 or AW109 (all of which we already use), equipped for SAR would be an ideal (and cheap) fit for this task.


Also makes an awful lot of sense as a Gazelle replacement on land. Simply put high ranking officers will always demand to be carried around...sometimes for good reason. At present we're going to be using one of our key battlefield ISTAR assets (if the reports are true) to do it, for want of anything else.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby RichardIC » 21 Apr 2019, 13:30

Dahedd wrote:I've no knowledge of this but ref the earlier discussions on the Lynx AH9 & the need for a light utility. We're the AH9 & the navy's lynx not rushed out of service too quickly to make way for the wildcat or were they all knackered . Would it not have made more sense to retain some for the above roles.

Using a wildcat or merlin as a plane guard is surely a waste of platform & likewise the AAC wildcats should be far heavier armed & keeping the tricycle equiped AH9 would free up wildcard for their recon role.


Spot on. The last AH9As was only upgraded in 2011. They could actually lift stuff and carry people. Simple, rugged and powerful.

Wildcat is great as a naval attack heli, but gives nothing to the AAC.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Scimitar54 » 21 Apr 2019, 16:20

Nor does it do anything much for ASW in it's current under equipped state with insufficient numbers as well. :mrgreen:

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 21 Apr 2019, 21:08

Looking at the list of Helicopter required by the CSG I think there are a few options we might look at. Having nine Merlin HM2s for ASW is obvious, but I have read elsewhere that there will only be a maximum of four Merlin/Crowsnest deployed at any one time given the small number actually being modified. As for the Merlin HC4s, why don't we look at a similar scheme to what the USNs auxiliary supply fleet does and use contracted helicopters to provide Vertrep, each vessels having one or two on a permanent basis when at sea. This surely has to be cheaper than allocating some of the HC4s from an already small pool of assets. However the opposite might be effective if one or two HC4s were on board the Carrier at all times for utility duties and plane guard. These would benefit form the existing support structure already on the Carrier. Add to the two to three Wildcats from the Escorts and there you have it in theory.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 21 Apr 2019, 21:11

RichardIC wrote:pot on. The last AH9As was only upgraded in 2011. They could actually lift stuff and carry people. Simple, rugged and powerful.Wildcat is great as a naval attack heli, but goves nothing to the AAC.


Which is why I was proposing a stripped out Utility variants of the Wildcat to carry our the same role as the Lynx AH9 and give 16AA back its integral utility platforms. Their EO systems would be there to aid night and bad weather operations which is now an essential capability, but if this could be done by simply using NVGs and adapting the cockpit instrumentation then that works for me as well.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 26 Apr 2019, 08:41

Double post

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 26 Apr 2019, 08:43

What ever happened to the Sea King Commandos that had the major upgrade for Afghanistan? Didnt they get new engines, gear box & rotors? I assume we scrapped them or sold them cheap. Would a few of them not have worked for carrier vert rep & plane guard duties?

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 26 Apr 2019, 09:41

Dahedd wrote:What ever happened to the Sea King Commandos that had the major upgrade for Afghanistan? Didnt they get new engines, gear box & rotors? I assume we scrapped them or sold them cheap. Would a few of them not have worked for carrier vert rep & plane guard duties?


New Carter rotors, but I don't think much else. And even if they did have new engines and gearboxes operating down low in a sandy and dusty environment will have knackered them very soon. Which may be one of the reasons the AH.9A wasn't prolonged in service, it may have had new engines for Afghan, but after Afghan service they may have all been shagged.

Vertrep I wouldn't worry too much about. Any twin engined helo will be able to do some vertrep, but the RN going with Heavy RAS will minimise the need for major vertrep work. The real savings for a small helo would be all those mundane tasks, HDS, planeguard etc.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby SKB » 14 Jul 2019, 03:49


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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Ron5 » 31 Jul 2019, 18:18

From Flightglobal:

Leonardo has begun flight testing new weapon wings for the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, which will carry anti-ship missiles for the UK Royal Navy.

Performed using a RN Wildcat HMA2 (ZZ513), the trials began on 2 July from the manufacturer's facility in Yeovil, in the southwest of England.

Flights have so far been in a clean configuration, at low and high speeds, and at high altitudes; this phase of testing is "nearly complete", says Leonardo.

Future evaluations will take place with dummy weapons installed, eventually moving to further integration activities – including firing campaigns – for both the MBDA Sea Venom and Thales Defence Martlet munitions.

Each wing can accommodate either 10 Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles. The design also provides additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, taking some effort from the main rotor.

Work is being conducted by the airframer under a £90 million ($110 million) contract signed in 2014 that will see all 28 of the RN's Wildcats gain the weapons wings.

Both missiles are being developed under the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapons programme and are due to achieve initial operating capability on the Wildcat in 2020. France is also acquiring the Sea Venom, which it calls ANL.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby bobp » 31 Jul 2019, 20:10

Ron5 wrote:Each wing can accommodate either 10 Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles. The design also provides additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, taking some effort from the main rotor.


Wow that's some firepower, would be handy right now in the gulf as a deterrent.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby RetroSicotte » 01 Aug 2019, 14:33

Had a watch from the museum observatory of Wildcats operating, taking off, landing etc at Yeovilton Museum a few weeks ago. Quite interesting to see up close. Surprisingly quiet machines compared to the Apache and it slapping the air in submissions.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Qwerty » 01 Aug 2019, 15:34

Always thought apaches were quiet.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 01 Aug 2019, 22:16

RetroSicotte wrote: Surprisingly quiet machines


Weirdly one went directly over my house today, I thought it was bloody loud...mind you it didn't appear to have the high pitched shriek that Lynx used to.

Ron5 wrote:Each wing can accommodate either 10 Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles. The design also provides additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, taking some effort from the main rotor.


I can't work out if these wings are just for ASuW. I've not seen anything about them carrying Stingray for example (even if they can I suspect they wouldn't on the outer wing station). Does anyone know? Are they designed to be a quick change to the old style stores carriers if required?

In other news looks like one potential market for Wildcat has disappeared...always a long shot with NH90 being involved.

https://www.janes.com/article/90231/ger ... e-sea-lynx

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 02 Aug 2019, 00:04

"Work is being conducted by the airframer under a £90 million ($110 million) contract signed in 2014 that will see all 28 of the RN's Wildcats gain the weapons wings."

28? Is that all the Wildcats they have? That's doesn't seem anything like enough. Surely that's a hefty reduction on the number of Lynx they had.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby RetroSicotte » 02 Aug 2019, 02:23

Timmymagic wrote:Weirdly one went directly over my house today, I thought it was bloody loud...mind you it didn't appear to have the high pitched shriek that Lynx used to.

Could be the case that the observation area had much thicker glass than it seemed.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Aug 2019, 01:31

Dahedd wrote:28? Is that all the Wildcats they have? That's doesn't seem anything like enough. Surely that's a hefty reduction on the number of Lynx they had.


You think the FAA has had a severe reduction in numbers take a look at how many the AAC has been reduced by with the Wildcat replacing all the lynx AH-7, AH-9 and Gazelle AH-1. Around 130 Lynx and 142 Gazelle replaced by 34 Wildcats and 50 Apache.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 03 Aug 2019, 11:46

That's crazy. I know Watchkeeper is supposed to replace the Gazelle & Lynx in some aspects but that size of reduction is rediculous. The AH9 Lynx was retired far too soon.

I'd move all the Wildcats to the Navy & get a new light chopper for the Army.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Little J » 03 Aug 2019, 15:52

Said that before... I suggested aw189

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Caribbean » 03 Aug 2019, 16:00

Little J wrote:aw189

Wouldn't the 149 be better?
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 04 Aug 2019, 03:52

As a starting point I would give the Army Wildcats the same "Wings" as the Navy version and issue LMM as an initial load out. Update the EO set up to improve observation and targeting and include a laser for the LMM. Find a nice Gun Pod for at least a .50 cal. and you've gat yourself a doable light attack/recce platform.

In addition to the above a Regiments worth (around 24 airframes) of light utility helicopters wouldn't be bad, but I would prefer platform slightly larger than the Lynx AH-9, able to lift at least a Infantry section or two weapon teams and attach the Regiment to 16 Air Assault permanently.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby tomuk » 04 Aug 2019, 18:56

All the Wildcats, as they are already navilised, should go to the Navy. They can be used as attrition spares / with dipping sonar (like korea) on T45s / armed with 50 cal, etc for amphibious support / SAR on the carriers. This should free up Merlins for full on ASW, AEW and troop transport.

The army should get a new chopper like the H160M or AW139 / H145M or A169.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 04 Aug 2019, 20:51

Think perhaps the H145 is perhaps a touch too small. The others seem the correct size, am I right in thinking the AW 189 is used by the UK Coastguard & the 149 by the Irish forces?

Let's just avoid the NH90 at all costs.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby SW1 » 04 Aug 2019, 21:22

Before we going about looking for more helicopters it’s probably worth working out what you want them to do and how they fit into a longer term strategy. Quantities of helicopters have been reduced as the army has reduced likewise the navy, it’s probably also worth looking of how many of the original fleet were ever actually deployable. If you do want increased number then adding to current fleets is the most logical way to do it.

the primary means of moving regular troops by helicopter is chinook. So what’s the role for wildcat in the army that requires more or indeed the navy. It’s very expensive for what it is. Personally the navy configuration has lot of merit to be a fleet wide configuration but you’ll be eating into a large part of the Apache role, if it has radar e/o and weapons pylons it certainly not much of a transport helicopter though moving 4 man teams maybe making a come back if your looking at increasing small team operations but if that actually ends up meaning an 8 man unit then wildcat is not it. If your looking for something the size of aw149 then your into puma replacement and it’s role as SF support and urban deployments.

Ultimately we should be looking at the replacement of all helicopter types between chinook and Apache with a single type I’d even consider adding apache into that longer term.


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